Monday, December 28, 2009

Got a Question?

We're here, at Undergraduate Advising, throughout the winter break (minus 12/25 and 1/1).  If you have any questions, you can:
  • call us, at 413-545-2191;
  • email us, at ; 
  • make an appointment to come in and meet with an advisor; and/or
  • consult the Undergraduate Advising website ( or the archives of the Blog.
Oh - and enjoy your time!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Networking Over Winter Break

 Whether you're thinking about a summer job, an internship, or a job after graduation, it's clear that networking can make a difference in landing the position you want.

While you're home for Winter Break and seeing people you don't ordinarily see, pay attention to what people are doing and whether they could help you secure a spot, or if they can put you in contact with someone else who could. Work Your Contacts! If you are thinking about arranging an Informational Interview with someone who works in a field you may be interested in, check out this page for help on how to go about it and how to prepare, as well as ideas for questions and do's and don'ts.

Follow this link for some tips on career networking for college students, where they say that "approximately 70-75 % of most jobs are found through networking."

Calculate your GPA and Grades on SPIRE

Congratulations on finishing your classes for the fall! Now, wouldn't you like to see how you did this semester? You will find an automatic GPA calculator here. At this site, you can also go to the 'additional calculator' for help with calculating how you can raise your GPA.

Your grades will be released and available to you on January 4th. All you need to do is simply log on to your SPIRE account and click on the 'Grades' screen in your drop-down menu on the Student Center page. You should also review your Academic Requirements Report (ARR) while you're there to verify your geneds, credits, etc. **YOU MAY START TO SEE YOUR GRADES PRIOR TO JANUARY 4TH BUT THEY WILL NOT BE OFFICIAL UNTIL THEN. THERE WILL BE A NOTE POSTED ON SPIRE TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOUR GRADES ARE READY**

Friday, December 11, 2009

RAP Survey

Are you in a RAP?  Did you respond to the RAP survey that was emailed to you?

If so, THANK YOU !   If you haven't yet, please do.  It'll only take a few minutes, and you could win some free movie passes.

Check your email for the link, if you're in a RAP.  And good luck on your finals.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What's Happening: December 5th through 11th

As the semester winds down, there will be a hiatus of events, information sessions and the like.  You’ll see fewer Blog postings, but keep checking to make sure you don’t miss important information!

Here’s what’s happening in the coming week: 

Monday 12/7, 6:30 pm, Marcus 131.  R1 Exemption ExamLast chance of the semester to take the R1 Exemption test to place out of the first level of mathematical reasoning.  Not sure if you need to take it?  Check out the Blog posting from 12/3.  

Tuesday 12/8 and Wednesday, 12/9, 4:45pm, Goodell 614.  Information Sessions for Domestic Exchange Programs.  Come find out how you can experience something totally new with Domestic Exchange. Domestic Exchange offers students the opportunity to spend a semester or year at another school in the US or Puerto Rico. Applications for Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 exchanges are due in March.   

Friday, 12/11:  Last Day of Classes

Saturday, 12/12 to Sunday 12/13:  Reading Days

Ongoing: Winter & Spring Semesters: Registration for UMass Amherst Continuing and Professional Education classes.  Winter online classes begin December 21st, and on-campus classes begin January 4th.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Final Exam Schedule and Tips for Success!

Your final exam schedule is available on SPIRE under the Student Center tab. Click on it to see when and where your Final Exams will be held. You should also check to see it you have:
  • two exams scheduled at the same time, OR 
  • three exams scheduled on the same day.   
If that is the case, you MUST go to the registrar's office in Whitmore 213 TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THE FINAL EXAM so they can reschedule them for you. Click here for details on how to reschedule an exam.

If you get anxious during tests--or even if you're cool under pressure--you can find a Five Day Study Plan here to help you get organized and alleviate the stress! We've also outlined Ten Traps of Studying that you can avoid. Remember, plan ahead and find time to relax as well as study. And good luck!

SPIRE Shopping Cart

Having trouble navigating the new shopping cart system in SPIRE?

Do you find yourself in a fog of confusion? 

Do not fret, navigating the new cart system is easy if you remember a few helpful tips! :
1.) Your cart shows classes that you have selected, but not yet enrolled in for the term.
2.) Link to your shopping cart through the link below your current enrollment on your SPIRE home page, or through the left menu under Enrollment > ADD Classes
3.) Once in your cart view, you can add classes by clicking the green search  button under the heading Add to Cart:, Remember (Adding courses to your cart does not mean you are enrolled in them, it is merely a holding place until you actually enroll). 
4.) Once you have the courses you want in your cart, you can begin to add them to your schedule. First, select the courses you want to enroll in by clicking the little box next to each course you want to add (make sure your courses don't overlap time wise or you will get an error msg). Second, once you have the course boxes selected, click the little green enroll button below the list of courses in your cart queue. Finally this will bring you to a screen that asks you to Finish Enrolling, click this green box and wait to see if you get a green check mark (which means you have successfully enrolled in the cart) or a red X (which means there was some sort of error enrolling and a short msg detailing why). 
5.) If you keep getting an error msg when trying to enroll in a course that you believe you are eligible to enroll in, try contacting the department where the class is being offered, otherwise contact your academic advisor in your appropriate dept. or you can try seeking help from the Academic Advising Link.

You will be an expert shopper in no time! 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

R1 Exemption Test, Monday 12/7--LAST CHANCE FOR FALL SEMESTER!

The FINAL Basic Math (R1) Exemption Test of the semester is being offered
Monday, December 7th
6:30 p.m.
Marcus 131
Passing the test exempts you from the Basic Math Gen Ed requirement.

Now that you know when and where the exam is, how do you if you should be taking it?

The most important consideration is your academic track--majors, minors, and certificates you have declared or are considering. Do any of your current or intended tracks require math-based courses? If so, the R1 Exemption Test may not be the best option for you. The test is only used to satisfy your Gen Ed requirement--it does NOT prepare you for further math-based courses.

If you do not intend to pursue an academic path that requires math-based courses, the R1 Exemption Test is a great way to get your Basic Math Gen Ed out of the way! You can learn more about what to expect on the test from the Math Department's website and you can take the test multiple times if need be, without penalty, to pass.

As always, if you have any questions (like if you're not sure what majors/minors/certificates you might consider pursing or whether what you have already declared requires math-based courses) contact an advisor today!

Attention First-Year Students!

You have a great, once in your college career opportunity to work closely with a tenure/tenure track faculty member and boost your credit count next semester!  Faculty First Year Seminars (FFYS) offer you direct access to distinguished UMass faculty members and a chance to work with these faculty on a subject they are passionate about.  An FFYS is a great chance to make a large campus feel much smaller and to help you establish a close relationship with a faculty member on campus.  If you have space in your schedule, check out the FFYS offerrings for spring 2010.

Find something you like?  You can add the course right from Spire!  Space is limited as some seats are being reserved for freshmen arriving during January orientation, so if you see something you like, don't hesitate!  Also, if you have already taken a FFYS this fall, please do not enroll in another this spring.