Friday, December 30, 2011

Grades & Academic Discipline

Grades will soon post on SPIRE.
If you are facing academic discipline (suspension or dismissal), be sure to monitor your UMass Amherst email account. An email will be sent from the Registrar's Office by the end of the day on Friday, December 30. 

Be sure to completely read the email, carefully follow the instructions, and regularly monitor your UMass Amherst email account for new information or instructions on how to proceed. You may also want to consult the Undergraduate Advising website for information on academic status.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Staying in Contact Over the Break

Classes are done and finals are in full swing.  You've earned your break!  But just because classes are over for the Fall doesn't mean you can ignore your UMail.

As always, official UMass business will be conveyed via your UMail email address. Make sure you check that account on a regular basis, read any messages completely, and respond promptly, if required.  Don't miss a deadline or important academic information!  It is your responsibility to check your email often, even when classes are not in session

Also, take a moment and make sure your personal information on SPIRE is up-to-date. Does SPIRE have your cell phone number? Correct address? Review the information listed and make sure it is both correct and complete.

Good luck on the rest of your finals, papers, and projects!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stay stress-free during finals week!

Classes are over!  All that stands between you and winter break are... FINALS!  Feeling a little overwhelmed?  Here are some techniques to help calm your nerves:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Domestic Exchange Information Sessions

Thinking about spending a semester or a year at another school?  Attend an information session for the Domestic Exchange Program!

The Domestic Exchange Program transports you to new and exciting places that will transform your educational experience forever. You can spend a semester or a year at one of over 180 participating colleges and universities across the country. It is an educational opportunity you don't want to miss!

Prepare NOW for Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 Opportunities!
Information Sessions will be held in Goodell 613 on Wednesdays at 4:45pm and Thursdays and Fridays at 2:30pm. 
Sessions will be held until the end of Fall finals and will start again the first week of classes in the Spring.  You must attend an information session to receive your application and all the information necessary to apply. 

The deadline is March 1, 2012 for Fall 2012 and/or Spring 2013 exchanges. 

The Priority Deadline is Friday, February 10, 2012.  Meeting the priority deadline does increase the chances of a student placement.

Contact the Domestic Exchange Office in 613 Goodell, Monday-Friday: 8:30 am-5:00 pm, 413 545 5351 if you have more questions.

The National Student Exchange is a network of over 180 universities and colleges in 48 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Through National Student Exchange, UMass students can study at another college or university, allowing them to live in another geographic area, access courses and facilities not offered at their home campus, and broaden their undergraduate experience. 

To research all participating institutions please refer to the NSE website.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reminder: R1 Exemption Test, Monday 12/5 @ 6:30PM Marcus 131

The last R1 Exemption Test offered this semester will be Monday December 5th at 6:30PM in Marcus 131. You will need your ID card, a #2 pencil, and a calculator. Check out our previous post to see if you should consider taking the R1 Exemption test.

If you can't make it, there will be more offerings in the Spring. Good luck!

Tip of the Week from Zoë

Hey everyone! It's Zoë again, for the last time this semester. Today I'm going to talk about gearing up for finals.

Tips for Finals Week

1. Focus. Look, let's just say it. The internet is the most distracting thing in the world. Your productivity is going to be cut in half (or more) if you try to study while you're on chat or StumbleUpon or Reddit or anything else. Do what you need to do. Personally, I use some applications to help me with that. Check them out.

2. Start early. Studying the information over some time will make it easier to recall. Cramming can be helpful, but your brain could also completely fail you, especially if you don't...

3. ...Get enough sleep. Reading the information once and then sleeping on it will be more helpful to you than staying up all night to go over it multiple times. Neuroscientist Frances Jensen explains the brain "will take [what you've been reading] from your short-term memory and [...] consolidate it [while you sleep]. And actually you will know it better in the morning than right before you went to sleep."

4. Avoid energy crashes. Pick foods with protein and nutrients. I mean, hopefully you do this anyway, but especially these last couple weeks, try not to compound mental and emotional stresses with physical stress.

5. Speaking of stress, try to relax. Being motivated is great, but extreme anxiety and muscle tension will only work against you.

Take a Seminar!

Taking a seminar is a good way to round out your schedule - both in terms of your credit load, and also to balance out large lecture classes.  First-Year students have some great options available:

  • UNIV 125 - OASIS (1 credit, Pass/Fail) is a seminar designed to assist undeclared students learn about academic opportunities available at UMass Amherst, and also to methodically explore major options. Additional sections of OASIS are tailored for Veterans (UNIV 125V) and Transfers (UNIV 125T).  Comment from former student: "I now know what my options as a student are and I'm  much better prepared to do all that I want. I am more organized, and I have a plan to get the most out of my college education."
  • UNIV 190P -  Investigating Higher Education (3 credits) takes a critical eye to college and the higher educational system, while providing students an opportunity to delve into questions that relate to their personal experience and individual interests.  Comment from former student: "I learned a lot about Higher Ed, myself, and improved some writing/research skills.  I loved the small class setting and discussions."
  • UNIV 197xxx - Faculty First-Year Seminars (1 credit) span a wide variety of topics, and offer first-year students an opportunity to work closely with a tenure/tenure track faculty in their first year in college.  Spring offerings range from "Network Fever: Reach Out and Touch Someone" to ""The Science of Chocolate"" to "When People Get Together: The Good, The Bad, and the Funny" to "Genetically Modified Crops and Foods: Myths and Controversy" . . . and much more!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekly Preview: December 5-9

It's the last week of classes!  You'll notice that the number of academic activities & events offered has dwindled in these last weeks of the semester.  The assumption is that students are focusing on their studies and not spending a lot of time investigating other opportunities.  Watch, however, for end-of-the-semester showcases of student work, be it in dance, music, art, or writing!

The last R1 (Tier 1) Basic Math Skills Exemption Test of the semester will be on Monday, December 5 at 6:30pm in Marcus 131.  A student ID and a #2 pencil are required. A calculator is recommended. There is no limit on the number of times a student may take this test.

The 2011 UMass Innovation Challenge Executive Summary and Elevator Pitch Competition will be held on Wednesday, December 7, starting at 3:30 pm in the Campus Center, 10th Floor. Watch twelve student teams pitch their business ideas and compete for a portion of the $10,000 in prize money to be awarded that evening by the judging panel. The event is free and open to the public, no reservations are required. Refreshments will be served.

The last day of classes for the Fall 2011 Semester is Friday, December 9.

Saturday, December 10 through Sunday, December 11: Reading Period.

Monday, December 12 through Saturday, December 17: Final Exams.

Monday, December 19: Snow Day for December 17 exams; semester ends.

Fall 2011 grades should be available on SPIRE on Friday, December 30.

Spring 2012 classes start on Monday, January 23.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What to do if a class you wanted is closed...

Today was the first day of classes, but some of you might still be making final tweaks to your spring schedule if some of the classes you were hoping to take filled before your Enrollment Appointment.  Don't lose hope just yet--there are still a few actions you can take to try to get a seat.

First, keep the class in your Shopping Cart.  Sure, that little blue square next to the class you want is kind of annoying, but if that square turns to a green dot, that means the class has opened up!  You never know what might happen during Add/Drop--students change their schedules all the time.  Keep checking your shopping cart and be ready to add the class you want as soon as someone drops it.  (Don't forget to 'swap,' never 'drop.'  Watch our SPIRE refresher if you can't remember how to do this.)

If the class is still closed by the first meeting day and time, attend it anyway! If there is physical space for you in the classroom, many professors are happy to manually enroll you in their class.

Finally, if you put yourself on a waitlist (the orange triangle) for a class, note that SPIRE waitlists are no longer active--as of Friday 1/18 the system stopped automatically promoting students in to vacant seats.  So if you still have a waitlisted class, you should follow the previous tip and attend the class!

Remember, even though Add/Drop does not end until Monday, February 4th, it is advisable to make sure you are a full-time student (at least 12 credits) now, even if you plan to rearrange your classes a little over the next week or so.  You are responsible for any work missed in a class you add after the first meeting.  Advisors are still available if you need help finalizing your schedule.