Friday, November 29, 2013

Weekly Preview: December 2 - 6

Welcome back from Thanksgiving Break!

There will be a Basic Math R1 Exemption Test on Monday, December 2 at 7:00pm in Marcus 131.  Passing the R1 exam (at least 12 out of 20 correct) will satisfy the R1 requirement for graduation but will not result in the awarding of any credits.  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 focus of this exam is to measure knowledge of basic math skills.

There will be a Writing Placement & Exemption Test on Wednesday, December 4 at 5:30pm in Bartlett 206.  The Placement Test asks students to respond in essay format to a short text (200-300 words).  Placement essays should demonstrate clear organization, relevant support and examples, and an adequate understanding of sentence structure.  The placement test may only be taken once.  For more information on the writing placement test, call 413-545-0610 or email the Writing Program at

Friday, December 6 is the last day of classes.  Did you check your finals schedule and clear up any conflicts?  Read our earlier post to find out what to do if you have two exams scheduled at the same time or three or more finals on the same day.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jennie's Tip of the Week: Staying Motivated at the End of the Semester!

We're in the final stretch of the Fall semester, but we've still got work to do!  Staying motivated at the end of the semester can be hard.  I know, we would much rather be home sipping hot chocolate and watching Netflix, but in order to get there we have to write our papers and take our final exams.  These last few weeks are extremely important in calculating how we do in our classes this semester, so follow these tips to stay motivated and on track.

1. Make a list of everything you have to do in the next two weeks.  This will make sure you are neat and organized.  As you begin to chip away at all of your work,  you will see that there is not too much left and it'll encourage you to power through.  Make sure you know all of your due dates and get your work in on time.  Nobody wants to get 10 points taken off because your assignment is a day late!

2. Make goals for yourself.  Personally I am very competitive, so making a goal for myself motivates me to complete the task at hand.  Of course, make sure the goal is reasonable so you can still put in your best effort.  Also, don't forget to reward yourself for your hard work.  For example, if I make a goal to finish my paper by the end of the week and achieve this goal, I will reward myself by grabbing a slice of Antonio's or watching a movie.  Your reward should be small and not too time-consuming, but the treat will keep you going during this stressful time!

3. Join a study group.  When you are part of a team, it often motivates you to get your work done in an efficient manner.  Grab a couple of friends from your class to study for the final exam together.  You can split up sections and make study guides for each one.  Then get together and discuss all of the material.  Make sure you cover old quizzes, exams, papers, in-class questions, etc.  This will make you feel more prepared and less overwhelmed.  Plus, it often helps students learn better when they have to teach the information to other people/discuss it.

4. DON'T PROCRASTINATE!!  It is imperative that you do NOT procrastinate at the end of the semester.  After all of the hard work you've put in this semester, you don't want to throw it all away in the last two weeks.  I know it is painful but log out of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Netflix, and anything else that will consume your attention.  Tell you friends to put in new passwords and log you out of all devices so that there is no way for you to access all of this social media.  If you choose to go on Facebook for 30 minutes as your reward for achieving your goal have your friend log you on and then have him or her log you back off.  You'll be surprised at how much faster you get your work done when you're not distracted by social media!

Follow these tips and keep going.  
Only two more weeks!  
Good luck everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

ISOM Deadline: Sunday, December 1

If you're planning on applying to the Isenberg School of Management, time is running out.

Applications are due by Sunday, December 1 at 5:00pm.

If you have questions about the process, make an appointment to meet with an advisor before Friday. Read the instructions and information on the Isenberg site before coming in.

If you miss this deadline, you will have to wait until the Spring to apply.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Last Walk-In Registration Assistance on MONDAY, 1-4pm


The final opportunity for Walk-In Registration Assistance (for undeclared students) will be MONDAY, NOVEMBER 25, from 1-4pm.  

Can't get your schedule to work out?  Puzzled about which courses you should take?  

Check in with the front desk in 613 Goodell (Undergraduate Advising); it's first-come, first-served.  

Of course, you can also contact Undergraduate Advising for an advising appointment to discuss your schedule, possible majors, or other academic matters.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jennie's Tip of the Week: How to talk to professors.

As the semester goes on, students often find more reasons that they need to speak with their professors. "How to talk to professors" is not a course offered at this University, nor in most high schools.  The way in which students interact with their professors often determines how the professor views that student, meaning it is very important to make a good first impression.  The best idea, whether emailing a professor or speaking with him/her in person is to keep a formal and respectful tone.  Here are a few tips for emailing a professor versus talking to a professor in person:

Email: Always address your professor as "Professor", or "Doctor" if applicable, when beginning your email.  In the first line make sure you introduce yourself and tell the professor which class of his/hers you are in.  Professors teach hundreds of students each semester and it is extremely difficult to keep track of everyone.  For the content, use your best judgement.  Avoid slang or abbreviations that most college students use in everyday life.  When ending your email sign it with "Sincerely" and then your name.  If the professor emails back in a more casual tone, that is your cue to relax a bit, but it's definitely best to start off formal.

In Person: Introduce yourself.  Address him/her as "Professor" like you would in an email.  Once again, be respectful and relatively formal in the way you talk to your professor.  Professors appreciate when students talk to them like adults, not students.  Remember that they are there to teach you and help you, but they are not your peers.

The most important thing to remember when talking to professors is that they generally want to help you and are happy to answer questions.  Go up to them after class, go to their office hours, and never stop yourself from asking a clarifying question.  If you are polite, sincere, and clear you should not have a problem!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Seminars Add SPICE To Your Schedule

Balance out your schedule with a 1-credit seminar for Spring!

If you're a first-year student, and you're looking for one more credit and a way to mix things up in your schedule, consider taking a seminar. These small classes can serve as a change of pace, and can connect you with faculty and other students around a topic of common interest.

UNIV 125 - OASIS (1 credit, Pass/Fail) is a seminar designed to assist first-year undeclared students learn about academic opportunities available at UMass Amherst, and also to methodically explore major options. Additional sections of OASIS are tailored specifically for Transfers in their first year at UMass (UNIV 125T).

Here's a comment from a former OASIS 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." 

FFYS 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 immediately in their college career. Check out the Spring 2014 offerings, which range from "Girls' and Women's Education in Developing Countries" to "Sport and Society" to "Plastic Bodies in a Plastic World" to "Internet Business Applications" . . . and much more!

Another 1-credit option you might want to consider is  Univ 190L - Demystifying Library Research - A practical approach to developing information literacy for college-level research and lifelong learning.  This class is open to freshmen, sophomores, and transfers, and after several face-to-face class meetings, the course will be held over Moodle.

Want a job as a Peer Mentor next year?

Are you looking for student leadership opportunities here at UMass? Are you interested in assisting first-year students with a successful academic career? The Peer Mentor position with Residence Education may be for you!

Peer Mentors are part-time, live-in staff members who are an integral part of the Residential First-Year Experience here at UMass. For more information check us out at:

Deadline for applications is December 6th!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Find Your Direction . . .

Have you heard?  Career Services has a new tool available to students on their website (click on the COMPASS link, on the right side of their homepage). Check it out!

If you are undeclared, overwhelmed, or second-guessing your major, consider taking a fun and accurate assessment tool, called COMPASS.  It only takes a few minutes to run through their inventory (you simply say whether a series of items is like you or not), and then you will get a personality profile with suggested careers that align with what makes YOU unique.  Within each of the careers, you'll find out all sorts of information about the career and also what majors would be logical for someone headed in that direction. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekly Preview: November 18 - 22

German, Latin and Spanish Language Exemption Exams will be given on Tuesday, November 19 at 4:00pm in 163 Campus Center for undergraduate students who have NOT taken the tests previously.  You will need to bring your UCard and a pencil and you are not required to pre-register for the exam.  The exam takes 1 hour.

Are you planning on applying to a major in the Isenberg School of Management?  Have you attended an information session in order to apply for Spring 2014?  The final information sessions will be held on Tuesday, November 19 at 5:30pm.  Attending an Information Session is required before applying to the Sport Management or HTM majors and highly recommended before applying to the BBA program.  Click here to review our earlier post on how to prepare for these sessions.
  • The BBA - Isenberg 108
  • Sport Management - Isenberg 106
  • Hospitality (HTM) - Isenberg 126   
Applications are due by December 1.
ISOM majors are extremely competitive and we strongly recommend that students have a backup plan.  Not sure what majors match your interests?  Make an appointment to speak with an advisor soon!

Are you thinking about majoring in Resource Economics?  Do you plan on taking majors only classes in the Spring?  Your Online Statement of Interest is due by Wednesday, November 27 at noon.  Students must attend an information session and complete the Online Statement of Interest BEFORE being invited to schedule an advising appointment to complete the change of major process. This process assists students in examining whether ResEc is a good fit for them and designing a plan for academic success.  The final information session of the semester will be on Friday, November 22 at 11:15 in Stockbridge 303

Is this you?  We are here to help!

Are you prepared for registration?  Have you already begun but still have questions?  Are you waiting for your enrollment appointment and wondering if you have the right things in your shopping cart?  We can help!  If you're an undeclared student, you can come to Walk-In Registration Assistance!
  • Friday, November 15 from 10:00am - 12:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 19 from 9:00am - 11:00am
  • Wednesday, November 20 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Thursday, November 21 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Monday, November 25 from 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Come prepared to talk about possible majors, and have 3-5 possible courses picked out.

Can't make these times?  Peer Advisors are ready to meet with you in the Academic Advising Link!  Stop by between 4:00pm - 8:00pm on Sundays - Thursdays in the Learning Commons in the DuBois Library.  Peer Advisors can help you with SPIRE, answer questions about major/minor requirements, help with GenEds, review your ARR, discuss Spring classes, help with backup plans if the classes you want are closed, and more.  No appointment needed!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Liz's Tip of the Week: How I Found my Major

          This May, I will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, and a minor in Art History. At the start of my freshmen year, I was studying none of these things. A lot changes in your college career, particularly the things that you study, and I wanted to share my story of how I finally found my major.

          Freshmen year, I came in declared as a Comparative Literature major, and shortly after picked up a double major in Theater. At first, I was incredibly excited about both of these majors, but after a few classes, I realized neither was a good fit for me. I loved Theater, but more as a hobby than something I wanted to study, and Comparative Literature was fascinating, but not what I was looking for in a major. I wanted to study something more relevant to the things I cared about; like sustainability, and equity issues, and I wanted more hands-on experience. After these realizations, I went into a small panic. Everything I thought I wanted to study was not right for me, what was I supposed to do next? I took it upon myself to do some exploring, digging through websites, booklets, and all of the on campus resources to learn more about what UMass had to offer.

        After some research, I discovered the Environmental Design major, a major I had never even heard of, let alone thought about declaring. I set up a time to talk to their undergraduate advisor to learn more about the major, and its four different concentrations. After our meeting I
was feeling inspired and excited to declare. Environmental Design has everything I could want in a major, a focus on sustainability, hands-on design work, and exposure to a new lot of careers I had never even heard of. Though it was completely different from what I had originally thought I wanted to study, Environmental Design ended up being the perfect fit for me. From that day forward, I've grown more and more excited about my major.
        I know I'm not alone in this feeling of uncertainty when it comes to declaring a major. The majority of students will either change what their studying, or add on something like a second major or a minor during their college career. In addition to changing my major, I also have found a minor that I love. After taking an Art History class as a Gen Ed requirement, I discovered how interested I was in the subject, so I decided to take more classes, quickly fulfilling the minor. 
       With UMass' 90 majors, plus the BDIC (Bachelors Degree in Individualized Concentration) option that lets you design your own major, there is a program of study for everyone. In addition to all of those majors, UMass offers more than 60 minors, and almost 40 certificates. 
      My biggest piece of advice to students is that it's ok to change your mind. The things that we wanted to study when we filled out our applications to UMass in senior year of high school might be very different from the things we want to study when we get on campus, and that's ok. Give yourself an opportunity to explore a little, but do so in a timely fashion. Be proactive when it comes to figuring out what you truly want to study, it will pay off later.

Talk to Liz and other Peer Advisors at the Academic Advising Link, Sun-Thurs, 4-8pm!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Need some help in choosing classes for Spring 2014?

If you're an undeclared student, you can come to

Friday, 11/15, 10-12
Tuesday, 11/19, 9-11
Wednesday, 11/20, 2-4
Thursday, 11/21, 2-4
Monday, 11/25, 1-4

  • Come prepared to talk about possible majors, and have 3-5 possible courses picked out.
  • Check in with the front desk at 613 Goodell.
  • It's first-come (and prepared), first-served, and you may not get more than 15 minutes with an advisor, depending on how busy it is.

Remember, also, you can get expert assistance at the Academic Advising Link, in the Learning Commons of the DuBois Library, Sunday through Thursday evenings, 4-8pm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Five College Interchange Pre-Registration For Spring 2014

Are you interested in taking a class at Amherst, Hampshire, Smith or Mt. Holyoke in the Spring? It's time for Five College Interchange pre-registration requests!

Pre-registration requests are being accepted in 613 Goodell From November 12 - November 22. These dates may be different than your UMass enrollment appointment! Anyone can request to pre-register starting on November 12 even if they can't start enrolling in UMass classes until later.

The registration procedure for Five College Interchange classes is different from your regular UMass enrollment process. Once you find the course(s) you want, read the detailed instructions on our website very carefully. The Five College Enrollment Request Form is available on SPIRE, but you cannot submit your registration through SPIRE. You must follow the UMass paperwork procedure and deadlines and turn in your forms to the UMass Five College Interchange office located in 613 Goodell.

Important information:
  • Pre-registration is a request; registration is not guaranteed.
  • You must be in good academic standing and have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  • You must be registering for at least one 3-credit UMass course.
  • You also have an opportunity to register for Five College Interchange classes during the UMass add/drop period in the Spring.
  • You can only pre-register by handing in two copies of your interchange request form to the UMass Five College Interchange office located in 613 Goodell.
  • Make sure you read the course description for each course which gives important information like "instructor consent" which would mean you would need the instructor's signature to pre-register for that course.

Questions? Visit our website, come see us in 613 Goodell, call us at 413 545 5352 or send an email to

Friday, November 8, 2013

Weekly Preview: November 11 - 15

Monday, November 11 is Veterans' Day.  Classes are not held and most university offices are closed.   

Wednesday, November 13 will follow a Monday schedule.  The rest of the week will follow a normal schedule.

The Academic Advising Link will be closed on Sunday and Monday.  It will reopen at 4:00pm on Tuesday. 

You are cordially invited to join CMASS for the opening of the exhibit Stand Against Racism.  This exhibit highlights some of the three hundred statements collected for the UMass Stand Against Racism pinterest campaign which began in Spring 2013.  It represents courageous voices that refuse to ignore the pervasiveness of racism and seek to challenge paradigms of consciousness. The opening is on Tuesday, November 12 at noon in the Student Union Art Gallery.

The Five College Interchange Pre-Registration Request period begins on Tuesday, November 12 and ends on Friday, November 22.  These dates may be different than your UMass enrollment appointment.  Anyone can request to pre-register starting on November 12 even if they can't start enrolling in UMass classes until later.  We'll have more information about the Five College Interchange Program soon, but you can look at the course offerings now.

There will be a Non-Profit Career Panel on Wednesday, November 13 at 5:30pm in Goodell 506.   Interested in working, volunteering, or interning with a non-profit organization? Not sure what your next step should be? Wondering what it is like to work in this sector? Come hear local and national non-profit organizations speak about their experiences as well as talk about their upcoming internship/job opportunities. The event will begin with the panelists answering pre-selected questions. Please email Todd Butynski with any questions that you would like the panelists to answer -

Are you thinking about becoming a Communication major?  There will be a Communication Registration Meeting on Wednesday, November 13 from 12:20pm - 1:15pm in Machmer E-35.  Majors and prospective majors are cordially invited to attend.

Interested in Engineering?  Come to the Engineering Information Session on Thursday, November 14 at 5:00pm in Goodell 604.  Make sure you're enrolling in the right classes for Spring and learn how to enhance your chances for being accepted to the College of Engineering.

Join Prof. Robert Moll from the School of Computer Science on Friday, November 15 at 3:35pm in the Computer Science Building, Room 151 for Co-ops: How & Why?  This event is open to any student interested in Computer Science.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gabby's Tip: Registering for Classes

It's hard to believe that this semester is more than half way over! With that said, the time for registering for your Spring classes is getting closer and closer. Here are a few important tips on what you should do before choosing your next semester classes:

1) Check your holds on SPIRE
This is the most important step in your registration period. Holds are put on your account if you haven't done something the University needs you to do. Sometimes this is meeting with an advisor for a particular major, filling out a financial aid form, or handing in your immunization records.   When you log into SPIRE you will see a box that says "Holds" on the right side of the page-pay close attention to this box! Get rid of any holds ASAP, or you may not be able to register for Spring classes.

2)Figure out your enrollment time and meet with an advisor
Right under the "Holds" box, there is a box that says "Enrollment Dates" where it tells you when your appointment to register for classes is. This is an appointment with SPIRE, not with an advisor.  Make sure you don't just look at the date, but also click "details" to find out your exact enrollment time. Classes fill up fast, so make sure you know and remember your specific enrollment time. Before your enrollment date, make sure to meet with an advisor. Some majors require that you do anyway, but even if you think you can make the perfect schedule, an advisor will make sure you are on track to fulfilling gen. ed. requirements, major requirements, foreign language, etc.  They know about all sorts of opportunities that you might not have found through a quick search for classes. The more advice and specific advising you can get, the better!

3) Pick classes!
This is the fun part! To have a stress free and fun schedule it's always good to take a variety of different classes. This means exploring classes for potential majors, gen eds, and elective classes. Remember that sometimes you can take classes that count for two requirements, so search carefully! Broden your horizons and take classes in departments you don't know about-you can surprise yourself! Keep your potential classes in your shopping cart and periodically check back to see if these classes are still available as the date to your enrollment appointment arrives. If you need tips on how to search for classes, check out this video!

4) Stay focused on the now
Don't get too distracted with your courses in the Spring that you forget about your Fall semester. Keep studying and stay warm! If you need help about what classes to choose, check out the Academic Advising Link in the library every Sunday-Thursday 4-8pm.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

FINAL EXAMS - Check the Schedule on SPIRE

Finals don't start until December 9th, but there's something you need to do right now:
Log on to SPIRE and look at your final exam schedule!
Do you have two exams scheduled at the same time, OR three exams scheduled on the same day
If yes, you MUST go to the Registrar's Office in Whitmore TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THE FINAL EXAM (which would be right after you return from Thanksgiving, when things are crazy, so just DO IT NOW!) so they can reschedule them for you. To do so, print your final exam schedule from SPIRE and take it to the Registrar's Office. You can also view their final exam schedule page.
Don't wait!  Knowing your schedule now will help you prepare later. Why add more stress to your life?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deadline to Declare Sociology EXTENDED!

The deadline to declare the Sociology major this semester has been extended through Friday, November 8th. 

Students may declare the major in Room 722 Thompson Hall by meeting with a peer advisor during the following Fall 2013 Office Hours:

Monday: 9:05-2:15, 2:30-4:30
Tuesday: 9:30-12:30, 1:00-4:00
Wednesday: 9:05-2:30
Thursday:  9:30-4:30
Friday: 9:05-2:15, 2:30-4:30 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Countdown to registration

Have you noticed Enrollment Appointments and spring 2014 course offerings are up? If you haven't seen your Enrollment Appointment yet you should log on to SPIRE now. You can find your it in a box on the right-hand side of your Student Center (the page you see first). Every student gets an Enrollment Appointment based on number of credits accumulated. An Enrollment Appointment is like a date with SPIRE--it's the day and time the system will allow you to actually add classes, NOT A PHYSICAL APPOINTMENT WITH AN ADVISOR. Don't show up to your advising office for your Enrollment Appointment--just get on SPIRE.

Even though your Enrollment Appointment might not be until mid- to late-November, you can still add courses to your Shopping Cart in the meantime. This will allow you to watch the available space as your Enrollment Appointment nears. You'll probably want to add a few back-up options as well, just to be safe. And remember, putting your a course in your Shopping Cart doesn't save you a seat. Like online shopping, it's just a holding bin until you actually enroll. You should also keep in mind that even though course offerings are available, they may not be perfect yet--keeping checking and double-checking courses and times until you actually enroll.

As you prepare, consider seeing an advisor sooner rather than later. November is a very busy time in advising offices and appointments will fill fast!

You can also check out the Advising Link in the Learning Commons. Peer Advisors are there Sunday-Thursday from 4-8 to help you with general advising questions. Keep an eye out for a peer post from Gabby later this week.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weekly Preview: November 4 - 8

Have you taken the English Writing Placement Test yet?  Any student who has not previously taken this test must do so before being able to enroll in English Writing 112.  The test will be held in Bartlett 206 on Wednesday, November 6 at 5:30pm and again on Thursday, November 7 at 6:00pm.  

On Wednesday, November 6, join CMASS for Football, Hip-Hop, Hazing and Manhood: A Conversation with Byron Hurt in the Campus Center Auditorium at 7:00pm.  Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, published writer, anti-sexist activist, and lecturer. Hurt began his professional film career with I AM A MAN: Black Masculinity in America. His most popular documentary to date, however, is Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (BBR).  For more information, contact Dr. Shelly Perdomo at or call 413-545-2517.

Are you thinking about majoring in Resource Economics?  Do you plan on taking majors only classes in the Spring?  Your Online Statement of Interest is due by Wednesday, November 27 at noon.  Students must attend an information session and complete the Online Statement of Interest BEFORE being invited to schedule an advising appointment to complete the change of major process. This process assists students in examining whether ResEc is a good fit for them and designing a plan for academic success.  Information sessions will be held on Wednesday, November 6 at 12:20pm and Thursday, November 7 at 4:00pm in Stockbridge 303.  You will have one last opportunity to attend an info session on Friday, November 22 at 11:15. 

SOCIOLOGY FALL 2013 DECLARATION PERIOD HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8!  Students may declare the major in Room 722 Thompson Hall by meeting with a peer advisor during the Fall 2013 Office Hours.  Go to the Undergraduate Sociology Tumblr to make an advising appointment and learn hours.  Click "Make an Advising Appointment" on the left side of the page.

Daylight savings ends this weekend!  Set your clocks back an hour at 2am on Sunday, November 3.