Friday, December 12, 2014

Grades & Academic Discipline

Official grades will be available on SPIRE 12/24.

If you are facing academic discipline (suspension or dismissal), be sure to monitor your UMass Amherst email account. An email about your discipline status will be sent from the Registrar's Office by the end of the day on Friday, December 26th. Be sure to read this email, completely and carefully, and follow the instructions for appealing suspension or dismissal provided within. The appeals DEADLINE will approach very quickly--all appeals and supporting documentation must be received by January 7th at noon--with no exceptions!

If you feel certain you will be facing suspension or dismissal, you can get a head start writing your appeal. Click here for some tips from Undergraduate Advising about what to include in your appeal and visit the Registrar's Academic Discipline page to actually submit your documentation.

Have questions about any of this? Undergraduate Advising will have staff on hand to help, but please note the university will be closed Thursday 12/25, Tuesday 12/30, Wednesday 12/31, and Thursday 1/1, so plan accordingly!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

International Students and Travelers - STAY CONNECTED!

Will you be out of the country over the semester break?  Remember that you must still keep up with your UMass responsibilities, be they academic (e.g. checking SPIRE to get into a class, or responding to emails regarding your academic status), financial (e.g. working with Financial Aid and the Bursar's Office to ensure that your bill is paid), or anywhere else you may have business pending.

BEFORE LEAVING, make sure you have anticipated and resolved any connectivity issues.  Check out the OIT webpage on accessing your UMass email for International Students (this was emailed to international students in October), and contact the support desk if you have any questions or issues.

Enjoy your break! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stay Connected & Check your UMass Email!!

Classes are done and finals are starting. You've earned your break! But just because classes are over for the Fall doesn't mean you can ignore your UMass email. 
As always, official UMass business will be conveyed via your UMass 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 your finals, papers, and projects!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Victor's Tips on Studying for Finals!

Hello everyone!

     This week, we're going to talk about some study strategies and tips for getting ready for finals week. Finals are beginning next week, and I am hoping to be able to help you prepare. Finals can be a stressful time for everyone, so knowing how to handle that stress and manage your time appropriately can do tons for you when it comes to acing that final exam you've been dreading. Here are some things that I have learned during my time at UMass that help me prepare and succeed during finals week:

  • Don't wait until the last minute to begin studying!
      When it comes to being prepared for a test, cramming is the last thing you want to do. Generally, cramming information the night before or the day of an exam isn't effective. Cramming usually leads to students only focusing on what they find important, and as a result during the exam, most students forget what they've been trying to remember. A more effective method is to start studying a few days before your finals. If you study for 1-2 hours a day for the 3 days prior to the test, you will retain much more information than if you cram it all into the last 2 hours before the exam.

  • Find a nice study location!
     For me, one of the hardest things about studying is trying not to get distracted. Studying in my house, I am constantly distracted by roommates, television, the internet, ultimately my environment. Separating yourself from distractions will cause you to remember and understand more of what you are studying. There are a lot of great places to study on and off campus, here are just a few of my favorites: many of the floors of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library are quiet study areas, the upper level of the Student Union or in the Earthfoods Cafe, the Intergrative Learning Center or the Intergrated Science Building, inside Isenberg or the Studio Arts Building. Off campus study areas include The Black Sheep, Rao's, Amherst Coffee, Barnes and Noble, and other book stores in the Amherst area. Areas that are free of television or high volumes will be more conducive for studying than sitting in front of your television with your friends talking around you. 

  • Create Study Groups and Study Guides!
     Study groups are a good thing to have when getting ready for exams. I find that for classes such as Math, Science, and even some History/Social Science classes, where you are often repeating a formula or method, are good classes to link up with other students and try the problems together. Getting another set of eyes on a tough math problem can help you understand what you're reviewing better, and you can also help others out where they might need it. Many lounges in the dorms (and cubicles in the library) have white boards so you can write out problems and work on them with other students. Study guides are also helpful for cumulative (or noncumulative) exams. Reviewing your notes and writing them all out for a study guide will help you retain the information better than just reading it. We remember more by doing than we do by just seeing.

  • Visit Office Hours or Review Sessions!
     Some instructors have extra office hours before the final exam period, so taking advantage of any time the instructor is willing to offer is key. Go to your instructor or your teaching assistant's office hours and pick their brain a little about things you are having trouble with. Make sure when you go to office hours you go prepared with questions and discussion topics, as there are many students that are seeking help and everyone's time is valuable, so don't waste other people's time by going to office hours and expecting the instructor to just hold a mini class section for you: it just doesn't work like that. Many instructors or TA's also hold review sessions for final exams, so asking your instructor or TA if they are holding a review session can be very beneficial to your studying schedule and grade.

     So take some time over the weekend to hit the books, review some notes, and ask questions about the material you are studying. Finals period is a stressful time for many people so managing your time and energy is key. Don't over stress yourself, have faith, and make sure you review your material before your exam or final paper. It may be difficult now, but hang through it, because in just about a week you will be done for the semester, and whether it's your first or your last one, the feeling of success tastes just as sweet.

Good luck to you all!

Victor Ramos

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Become a Peer Mentor for the 2015-2016 academic year!

Peer Mentors are upper class students who live in Residential First-Year Experience halls and assist first-year students with their academic transition to the University. Peer Mentors host exciting academic events and do intentional academic mentoring to help students prepare for and tackle the academic transition from high school to college.

Want to learn more about this opportunity? 
Attend an Information Session TODAY at 3:00pm in the CHCRC Events Hall
Or visit our Hampshire DC table on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5:00-6:00pm
The application is available here and the deadline to apply is December 18, 2014.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Weekly Preview: December 1 - 5

Welcome to the last week of classes!   

Applications for the Isenberg School of Management are due by 5:00pm on Monday, December 1.
If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to apply until the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

There will be an R1 Exemption Test on Monday, December 1 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. 

Interested in a internship with a non-profit organization?  Join Career Services for Non-Profits - Careers for the Common Good Career Fair on Wednesday, December 3 from 1:00PM - 3:00PM in the Cape Cod Lounge in the Student Union.  Come meet with non-profit and other socially conscious organizations to discuss full time job opportunities, summer job opportunities, and internships. Companies will include local and nation-wide organizations.  This is a smaller event (about 20 organizations) and will have a more informal atmosphere for you to connect with employers. There will be a variety of employers seeking a variety of majors for their opportunities. All level students are invited.  Resumes are optional but employers will eventually require one if students decide to apply.  

This will be the final week to meet with Peer Advisors in the Academic Advising Link.  Do you have questions about your schedule?  Still looking for a GenEd?  Not sure if you're reading your ARR correctly?  Want to sit down with someone to check over your classes?  The Link will be open from 4:00pm - 8:00pm from Monday, December 1 to Thursday, December 4.  No appointment necessary and all students in all majors are welcome.  The Link is located in the Learning Commons in the W.E.B. DuBois Library.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly Preview: Monday, November 24 - Friday, November 28

Thanksgiving Break begins after your last class on Wednesday, November 26.
Classes resume a normal schedule on Monday, December 1.
The Academic Advising Link will close at 8:00pm on Tuesday, November 15 and reopen at 4:00pm on Monday, December 1.
Enjoy your time off!

In anticipation of the break, very few things are scheduled this week.  This is a good time to catch your breath, get organized and be ready for the final week of classes!

Before you head out, check your finals 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 so they can reschedule them for you.  Do not wait until finals week to fix problems!  Knowing your schedule now will help you prepare later. Why add more stress to your life?  Click here to learn more.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Alex's 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving Break:

Hey UMass, I bet you’re just as excited as I am to head home for the Thanksgiving Break! Whether you plan to spend your break stuffing your face with a delicious home-cooked meal, visiting friends and family, or scoring major Black Friday deals, it's never a bad idea to stay productive! Here are a few tips for making the most of your Thanksgiving Break:

1. Set up an Informational Interview

If you're considering declaring a major or minor but are unsure of how it will connect to different professional fields, scheduling an informational interview is a great option for you. An informational interview is an excellent way to network with professionals currently working within a field in order to gain a better understanding of their careers and occupation. These interviews allow you to talk to a real professional in a field of your interest about what they do, experiences they've had in the field, potential career paths, and any advice they might have for you. In my personal experience, scheduling an informational interview was one of the most helpful steps I took towards declaring my major because it allowed me to explore my interests and connect them with a possible professional setting. Take advantage of your time during this Thanksgiving break to contact supervisors, teachers, coaches, and other professionals in the fields you're interested in to learn more about your options!

2. Check out the Five College Course catalog
scooby doo animated GIF One of the many perks of attending a college in the Pioneer Valley is the Five College Interchange system. UMass students have the amazing opportunity to take courses at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke or Smith College. There are so many different courses available to you, so take advantage of this amazing opportunity to step out of your academic comfort zone. Whether you're trying to find a gen-ed, major/minor, or an elective course, visit the Five College Interchange website for detailed registration information here. You can always register for Five College courses during the first two weeks of the semester.

3. Peruse the website for any Majors/Minors that you’re interested in
Did you know that every major and minor at UMass Amherst has its own website? Spending some time reviewing these sites will help you be productive and stay focused on your academic plans.The major/minor websites are awesome resources that provide all kinds of information like how to schedule an appointment with an advisor, what courses the department is offering, whether or not there are information sessions for interested students, and much more. These websites can be found here.

4. Stalk SPIRE for any class you may want to Swap (PSA: always swap, don’t drop)
internet animated GIF
On the off chance that you are not 100% satisfied with your schedule for your Spring 2015 semester, please don’t fret. Students can continue to adjust their course schedules until the Add/Drop Deadline (Monday, February 2nd) with no changes to their record using the add, drop, or swap/edit features available with SPIRE. And if you ever need to brush up on SPIRE How To’s, feel free to use the videos on the SPIRE help site (or once you’re back on campus, stop by the Academic Advising Link in the Library from Sunday-Thursday from 4-8pm to have a Peer Advisor assist you). If you’re waiting for that one seat to open up, trying to balance classes and other commitments, or just making some last minute adjustments to your schedule, it is best to be proactive when it comes to course registration. It’s one big game of musical chairs until the Add/Drop deadline so every time you open your browser, check SPIRE because you never know what opportunities might become available.

5. Review your Academic Requirements Report (ARR)
An academic requirements report is the primary way for a UMass Amherst student to check on their academic progress. It allows you to view all of your completed courses and in-progress courses, as well as the courses required for your specific degree program (if you have already declared a major). If anyone remembers that inverted triangle diagram from New Students Orientation that describes the University, College or School, and Major/Minor requirements needed to graduate, that is all of the information included in your ARR. You can find your ARR by signing into SPIRE, clicking on the “Main Menu” tab, then scrolling down to “Academics,” and finally clicking on “Requirements” (Note: it is helpful to “expand all” at the top of the page so you can see every part of your report). Use this break to review your Academic Requirements report to make sure you're on track, and bring any questions you may have about your progress to your advisor once you return to campus.

I hope these tips inspire you to stay productive and make the most of your Thanksgiving Break!
thanksgiving animated GIF

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Upcoming Isenberg Info Sessions- November 20th!

Interested in the BBA (Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Operations & Information Management), Hospitality & Tourism Management or Sport Management majors?

Attend an Info Session!
BBA:  Thursday, November 20th  @ 5:30pm in the Bernie Dallas Room (5th floor Goodell)
HTM: Thursday, November 20th  @ 5:30pm   in Isenberg 106.

Sport: Thursday, November 20th  @ 5:30pm   in Isenberg 108.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you plan on attending:
  1. Get there early! To avoid fighting for a seat or worse, interrupting the session, be sure to get there approximately TEN MINUTES PRIOR to the start time. Treat it like a job interview and be professional--you don't have to wear your haute couture, but you do want to make a good impression.
  2. Know which session to attend! Upon arriving, they will direct you to different rooms based on your interests. Make sure you're in the right place! If you have multiple interests in SOM (both BBA and Sports Management, for example), you should attend an info session for BOTH programs.  Students interested in applying to Sport Management or HTM must attend an Information Session.
  3. Be informed! Read their website and be familiar with the program you are interested in, as well as procedures for applying.
  4. Have an Alternate Major in mind! Remember that you will be required to apply in order to gain admission--and that applications, by nature, can be rejected. Have an alternate major in mind just in case. For more information on suitable alternates, you can call (413) 545-2191 and make an appointment to see an advisor in our office

Applications for ISOM majors are due on December 1.  If you miss this deadline you will have to wait until the Spring semester to apply ( May 1st).

Resource Economics- Info Session Thursday November 20th!

In order to declare Resource Economics you must attend an Info Session. So, if this is a major on your mind you should attend an Info Session, this Thursday, 11/20 at 4pm in Stockbridge 303! 

In the meantime, explore the "So You Want to Be a Resource Economics Major?" section of the department's website. If you like what you read there and like what you hear at the Info Session, complete an Online Statement of Interest by Wednesday, 11/26 online in order to access spring classes as a Res Ec major.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Engineering Information Session: Wednesday Night!

The 1-credit OASIS seminar is designed for undeclared students, typically in their first or second semester at UMass Amherst.  In addition to learning about how to make the most of the opportunities and resources at UMass Amherst, students review the tools and tips to be most successful, they forge a relationship with an advisor (who is their instructor), and they explore majors and other academic options available to them at UMass.

  • UNIV 125 is for freshmen (in their first or second semester at UMass); 
  • UNIV 125T is for transfers (in their first or second semester at UMass), and 
  • UNIV 192G is a slight variation of the seminar for students in academic difficulty.

Here's what students have recently said about taking OASIS:
  • The requirements for this course allowed me to take a step back and think about what I want to do for the rest of my life and I appreciate that.  I now have a set of tools and knowledge that will help me in the future without a doubt.
  • If you are undeclared it is one of the best decisions you can make because you won't find personal attention regarding figuring out your life/major/education track anywhere else.
  • Reflections forced me to think and ask myself if I was really satisfied with how my grades were and how my life was. This was a little uncomfortable however, it helped me tremendously.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Academic Advising Link!

Remember, if you are having trouble registering for classes, finding the classes you need on SPIRE, or figuring out how to put together your schedule, you can always stop by and see our friendly Peer Advisors at the ADVISING LINK. It is located in the Learning Commons, on the main floor of the library, open Sun-Thurs 4-8pm!
(The Link will be closed for Thanksgiving from Wed. 11/26 through Sat. 11/29)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly Preview: November 17 - 21

Interested in declaring Nutrition as your major?  There will be an information session on Monday, November 17 at 5:00pm in 108 Chenoweth.  As soon as a student has declared Nutrition as a major they will be assigned a Nutrition Department advisor. 

Did you recently declare Public Health?  Attend Public Health Enrollment 101 for freshmen and transfers on Monday, November 17 at 5:00PM in the Du Bois Library, Room 720.  Public Health peer advisors will help students sign up for classes and navigate SPIRE

On Tuesday, November 18, join BDIC for the next visitor in their 2014 Lecture SeriesCome learn about opportunities in various careers with Ben Feely, Health Practitioner & Acupuncturist.  5:00pm in Goodell 604.  RSVP by emailing:  

Are you hoping to become an Engineering major?  There will be an information session for students interested in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemical Engineering on Wednesday, November 19 at 6:00pm in 604 Goodell.  Bring a copy of your unofficial transcript!

Isenberg School of Management Information Sessions for Sport Management, the BBA Program, and Hospitality & Tourism Management will be held on Thursday, November 20 promptly at 5:30pm.  Do not be late!

  • HTM will meet in Isenberg 106.
  • Sport Management will meet in Isenberg 108.
  • The BBA Program will meet in the Bernie Dallas Room on the 5th floor of Goodell.
Attending an Information Session is required before applying to the Sport Management or HTM majors and highly recommended before applying to the BBA program.  Reread our earlier post on how to prepare for these information sessions.  Plan on meeting with an advisor to discuss a backup plan!  Applications are due by December 1.

After attending the info session, join Hospitality and Tourism Management for a Meet & Greet for Aspiring HTM Students at 6:30pm in Flint 105.  Come hear the Head of the HTM Department tell you about the HTM major and all of the different career paths you can go down.  There will be HTM students and HTM club presidents.  If you have any questions about the event, please feel free to email: Umasshtm2014@gmail.comRSVP by Tuesday, November 18.

Do you want to be a Resource Economics major?  There will be an information session on Friday, November 20 at 4:00pm in 303 Stockbridge.  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.  Your Statement of Interest is due online by Wednesday, November 26 in order to register for Spring 2015 courses as a Resource Economics major.

Friday, November 21 is the last day to turn in paperwork for the Five College Interchange Pre-Registration period.  You will be able to register for Interchange courses in the Spring during Add/Drop.  Read our earlier post to learn more.

Looking for advising help?  Are you ready for your enrollment appointment?  Have you started to register but you're not sure you're in the right classes?  You have options!

The Academic Advising Link (in the Learning Commons, downstairs in the W.E.B. DuBois Library, Sunday through Thursday, 4:00pm-8:00 pm) continues to be a great place to get basic questions answered.  Bring your questions about different majors, Gen Ed courses & requirements, how to use SPIRE, etc.  Check out the LINK before you see an advisor!  

Walk-In Registration Assistance for Undeclared students: Be prepared to talk about a possible major, bring a completed Advising Checklist with 3-5 possible course choices picked out and check in at the front desk in 613 Goodell.
  • Monday, 11/17 10:00am-12:00pm
  • Tuesday, 11/18 2pm-4pm
  • Wednesday, 11/19 2pm-4pm
  • Monday, 11/24 2pm-4pm

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eric's Tip of the Week: Thanksgiving Break and the Emotional Tolls

Hey Everyone! Thanksgiving break is coming up in a few weeks, and for some of you, it might be your first time going home this semester! Thanksgiving break can be a very emotional time between seeing family, explaining how you manage to live in a 11x12 room, and explaining to your parents what you plan on doing in college. Here are some ways to prepare for the trip home and the trip back!

1) Explaining To Your Parents You Are Undeclared:
  We all have that fear about our parents and grandparents asking us,"What are you majoring in? What is that going to do for you when you graduate?" This can be particularly scary for undeclared students. I don't blame you: I was in your shoes when I was undeclared. But here is the thing, BEING UNDECLARED IS NOT A BAD THING! Many people at UMass are undeclared and around 80% of declared students change their major! You can tell them what classes you like, and let them know you are receiving help and exploring many different major possibilities along the way! At our site we have a sheet that relates interest to majors. Check that out and if your parents ask show them it! The more you prepare to answer those awkward questions the more impressive you will look! Also check the UMass website to explore your desired major and see not only what that major entails, but also if it sounds interesting to you.

2) Try To Enjoy The Thanksgiving Break, but Not Too Much:
  It is nice to hear that you have a 4-day break, but that doesn't mean that once it hits school is over. Classes are going to start the next Monday after as if you didn't have a break at all! Don't fall out of the rhythm! You can enjoy the break and still keep sharp with school. Try to stay motivated to keep up with your work. Keep in contact with your roommate and new friends here and ask how they are doing. Thanksgiving is a nice break in the semester but it doesn't mean it's over yet!

3) The Journey Back:
  Some people have a hard time leaving home to go back to school again. They don't want to leave their warm house and pets to go back to a small dorm room, but it has to happen. You still have to finish the semester and get through finals. You have come so far already this semester and have situated yourself in the UMass community. Your parents will be proud to see you overcoming your fear and pushing through the hard times to get where you have to be. If you found the strength to move in on day one, then you can come back after Thanksgiving break!
But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown. -Marcie