Monday, March 31, 2014

Five College Interchange Pre-Registration Starts on March 31

Are you interested in taking a class at Amherst, Hampshire, Smith or Mt. Holyoke?  Get ready for Five College Interchange pre-registration!

Pre-registration requests begin on March 31 and end on April 18.  These dates may be different from your UMass enrollment appointment!  Anyone can request to pre-register starting on March 31 even if they can't start enrolling in UMass classes until later.

The registration procedure for Five College Interchange classes is different from your UMass enrollment process.  Once you find the course(s) you want, read the detailed instructions on our website very carefullyThe 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 hand in two copies of the UMass paperwork to the UMass Five College Interchange office located in 613 Goodell.    

Important information:
  • Pre-registration is a request, it 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 can only request to pre-register by handing in two copies of the UMass paperwork to the UMass Five College Interchange office located in 613 Goodell.
  • You also have an opportunity to register for Five College Interchange classes during the UMass add/drop period in the Fall. 

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

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Preview: March 31 - April 4

The Five College Interchange Pre-Registration Request period for Fall 2014 classes starts on Monday, March 31 and ends on April 18Visit the Five College Interchange site to learn more, and watch for a blog post on Monday with detailed information.  You will also be able to register for Five College courses during Add/Drop in the Fall.

Are you planning on declaring a major in the College of Engineering and take majors only classes in the Fall?  Are you taking the correct coursework?  Attend the Engineering Information Session to confirm and ask questions!  Wednesday, April 2 at 5:00pm in 604 Goodell.

Thinking about majoring in Communication?  On Wednesday, April 2 there will be a Communication Registration Meeting from 12:15pm-1:15pm in Machmer E-35.  Majors and prospective majors are cordially invited to attend this important meeting!

Are you planning on declaring Resource EconomicsAttend an information session in Stockbridge 303!
  • Wednesday, April 2 at 11:15am
  • Thursday, April 3 at 4:00 pm
  • Friday, April 11 at 12:20 pm    
In order to register for Fall 2014 courses as a Resource Economics major, students must attend an info session and complete an on-line Statement of Interest by Friday, April 18 at noon.

On Thursday, April 3 there will be a Public Health Sciences Information Session from 6:00pm-7:00pm in Arnold House 136.  If you are interested in the major come to an information session to meet staff and peer advisors, get your questions answered and learn about classes, club events, internships, study abroad and more!  Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Upward Bound Summer Institute Job Opportunities 2014: UMass Amherst Upward Bound Program is preparing for its annual Summer Institute here on campus July 6th – August 15th, 2014.  The goal of Upward Bound is to support students who are potential first generation college students and those from low income backgrounds to prepare for, attain and succeed in higher education.  We will be looking for committed individuals to help support the academic, emotional and social growth of high schools students from Springfield, MA as they engage with program activities such as academic class work, experience what college life could look like, development key life skills and the development of critical thinking skills and other academic and educational competencies focused on creating the foundations for lifelong learning and success.  To learn more and view job descriptions, click hereThe deadline for applications is Friday, April 4.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Joe's Tip of the Week: Four Ways to Tackle Your Workload

It's that time of year: the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the weather is getting warm! Spring is in the air! Back in high school, this once meant teachers letting you out early, and maybe even lightening up on the homework so you could enjoy the weather... but college is a different animal.

Here in the big leagues, this is when things get serious. After spring break, the second round of midterms begins, due dates of big projects are suddenly much closer, and the homework picks up right where it left off. You may be feeling as salty this young lady...

...but that's OK! As a junior-year Physics major with a Math minor and two jobs, I know what it's like to be up to your eyeballs in schoolwork.
"But Joe," they ask, "how do you manage such an intense workload?"

Here are my Four Strategies for Finishing Strong:

1) Get real. Before you can dig in, you have to realize one thing:
Maybe it's not easy,
but it's not impossible.
It's a tough mental balance– if you're too laid back, you may procrastinate, but if you let yourself feel overwhelmed, you may give up before you even get started.

2) Start easy. Nothing is more discouraging that getting stuck on the first one of your assignments. To keep up my motivation, I try to always start off with an easier assignment. Once I've knocked one out, I honestly feel like a champ! With attitude like that, homework becomes a challenge instead of an obstacle.

3) Don't lose momentum. After you tackle that first easy assignment, don't reward yourself by watching a TV movie or taking a nap– you'll kill all your motivation. Try to keep working after each success, or at most take short breaks (less than 30 minutes).

4) Get help! Don't be afraid to accept a helping hand– there are lots more offered than you think! You can sign up for free tutoring at the W.E.B Dubois Library for many classes, from Gen-Eds to your major's requirements. That's not to mention your professors' office hours, which is basically free help with your homework plus brownie points with your instructor. If your instructor likes you, they might even give you an extension if you ask for one (before the due date)!

Hopefully these tips will keep you on top of your workload as spring approaches. If you read all the way to here, in AHNULD's voice: congratulations! If not...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

FINAL U@UMass Panel: This Thursday

The last U @ UMass panel is Thursday 3/27! Check out the flier for details.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Weekly Preview: March 24 - 28

Welcome back from Spring Break!  These last weeks of the semester are filled with deadlines, meetings and information sessions, so update your planner and pay attention to when things are due.

Enrollment Appointments and the Fall 2014 course schedule are now available on SPIRE.  Check your holds and clear up issues now so you'll be ready to register.  We'll have lots more information on registration preparation and academic advising options soon.

Isenberg School of Management Group Information and Orientation Sessions will be held on Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26 at 5:30pm.  
Before applying to HTM and the Sport Management majors, students must attend an information session.  Students who plan on applying to the BBA program are strongly encouraged to attend.  Applications are due on May 1.

Freshmen and Sophomores are invited to a pre-med/pre-dent informational session on Wednesday, March 26, from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. in 222 Morrill II.  Topics include: 
  • Requirements for medical and dental schools
  • Volunteer and health related experiences
  • Community Service


The final U @ UMass panel will be held on Thursday, March 27 from 4:00pm - 5:00pm in the Bernie Dallas Room, 5th Floor GoodellYou are more than your major!  Hear upperclass students describe how they are getting the most out of UMass through majors, minors, study elsewhere, internships and more! Don't miss out!

Don't miss the opportunity to network with Afro-Am, History, Labor Center, STPEC and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Alumnae/i for Translating Theory Into Practice: Our Alums in the Real World.  On Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 4:30-6:30pm in the Cape Cod Lounge, Student Union Building, UMass Amherst grads from the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, History, the Labor Center, STPEC (Social Thought and Political Economy) and Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies return to campus to meet students, advertise internships, and offer career information. This informal event includes great food and conversation.  Free and open to all! 

Planning on becoming a Sociology major?  Friday, March 28 is the last day to declare!  Visit 712 or 722 Thompson Hall.  Questions?  Talk with the Sociology Peer Advisors in Thompson 722.  Click here for their hours.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Being a Peer Advisor

Do you remember registering for classes during your New Students Orientation at UMass Amherst? 

It was probably a very exciting experience as you logged on to SPIRE to plan your schedule, and enroll in your first courses at our university. However, whether you were feeling thrilled or slightly anxious, there was probably a professional advisor, as well as a student-worker there to help you through this process. At Undergraduate Advising, these student-workers are your friendly, neighborhood Peer Advisors who are ready for anything from assisting you with the course selection process, to answering questions about academic requirements, to promoting major exploration, and more!

As peer advisors of Undergraduate Advising, we serve as a resource to incoming Undeclared and Humanities and Fine Arts students during their Summer NSO sessions to help them investigate their intellectual passions, test their academic skills, and keep their options open.

Working with the daily hustle and bustle, I learned how to quickly establish a rapport with my fellow students in order to answer any academic questions they had, and to provide them with assistance. It was important to create a positive and welcoming environment that supported students in recognizing potential major interests and pursuing their academic goals. Additionally, peer advisors organized and processed confidential student files, as well as mediated any conflicts that arose during advising sessions. Through my first summer as a peer advisor for Undergraduate Advising, I enjoyed working with a diverse group of students, collaborating with graduate assistants, professional advisors, and administrators within the office, and offering students guidance and perspective as they navigate the challenges of pursuing their academic interests.

If working as a peer advisor seems interesting to you, please visit the Undergraduate Advising website at: for information on how to apply for a summer position! The deadline to submit applications is March 24th so I encourage you to take the initiative and apply for an awesome job that offers you the experience to become a leader, and the opportunity to empower your peers to follow their own academic paths.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Enrollment Appointments are up!

Right on schedule, Enrollment Appointments are now available on SPIRE.

Your Enrollment Appointment is the date and time that SPIRE will allow you to begin enrolling in fall classes--it is not a scheduled appointment with an advisor.  Fall course are offerings are tentatively scheduled to be available on SPIRE Friday, March 14th, which give you plenty of time to add class to your Shopping Cart prior to your Enrollment Appointment! 

Weekly Preview: March 10 - 14


Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00am on Sunday, March 9!  Set your clocks ahead one hour.

Three prominent African-American artists — Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison, singer and social activist Bernice Reagon Johnson and poet and playwright Sonia Sanchez — will share the stage in a public conversation about “Black Women in the Arts in the 21st Century” on Monday, March 10 from 7:00-9:30 p.m. in the Mullins Center.  Hosted by the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst, the event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:15 p.m.  For more information, click here to visit W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies.  This event was rescheduled from February 13.

There will be an R1 Exemption Test at 7:00pm on Monday, March 10 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.

Spring Break starts after your last class on Saturday, March 15!  Classes resume on Monday, March 24. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Guide to Internships

       Finding an internship can be tough; however, the Career Services CareerConnect application is the perfect application to look for different internships all over the country and in every field. You can read more about the application, and get a handy guide on how to use it right here. The coming weeks are a perfect time to begin searching for internships for the summer, or to get an edge on looking at internships for next fall.

      Career Services also offers terrific resources to students, like walk-in resume help Monday - Friday from 1-4 pm. After a walk-in appointment, you also have the opportunity to schedule a one-on-one appointment with a career advisor who will be able to help you with your harder questions, and your job search. Career Services recommends getting involved earlier rather than later in your college career so you can best use their resources to your benefit.

        The CareerConnect application is terrific for finding a wide array of internships and career opportunities, but it's not the only way to look for an internship. Professors, coworkers, or peers may all know of different opportunities for internships, and can provide you with a great "in" to the company or firm. This is actually how I got my internship, which I had from last summer until the end of last semester, with the Town of Amherst's Conservation and Planning Board.

        My internship came about with a recommendation from my coworker and OASIS Instructor, Greg Boisseau, who as a Town Meeting member knew the Assistant Town Manager very well, and knew that he needed interns. With Greg's help, I got my foot in the door for an amazing internship where I had the opportunity to work on a new conservation project.

      In the world of internships, networking is key. As I have seen for myself, the people you know can help open up new worlds of opportunity that you didn't know were available. Additionally, it's always important to make these connections, because one day it's likely that you will apply to a job, grad school, or an internship that will require a letter of recommendation. Your superiors who know you very well and know how well you work will be able to write the best letters to help you succeed. These people will be an invaluable resource to you one day down the line, so it's best to make good connections early on in your college career.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

W Drop and Pass/Fail Deadline is TOMORROW!

Thursday, March 6 at 5:00pm is the mid-semester date! This is the deadline to drop a class with a "W" or elect to take a course Pass/Fail.

You must bring the completed paperwork to the Registrar in 213 Whitmore before 5:00pm.

For more information, refer back to our previous post here.

If you miss this deadline, you will have to petition your Academic Dean for a late drop and your request is not guaranteed.


Monday, March 3, 2014

W's and Pass/Fail: March 6 is the mid-semester date!

The Mid-Semester date is Thursday, March 6. This is the deadline to drop a class with a "W" or elect to take a course Pass/Fail. Before you decide to do either, here are some things you need to know:

Dropping with a W isn't a bad thing. It will not count against you should you decide to apply for/declare a major (as long as you have completed all the prerequisites, predictor courses, and any other requirements). Dropping a course at this point means a "W" will always remain on your transcript, but you will not receive a grade for that class, so the class will not affect your GPA. The W just indicates that you dropped a course after the Add/Drop deadline. You should consider withdrawing from a course with a "W" if you know that you are not doing well in it and there is little chance you can remedy that, especially if your intended major expects a strong cumulative GPA or specific grade in that class. Be careful though that you are not going below 12 credits (full-time) in doing so, as doing so could have an effect on your financial aid, insurance, etc.

There is actual paperwork required to withdraw from a course (you can't do it on SPIRE) and you will need your instructor's signature. So, don't wait until the day of the deadline to make your decision!

The mid-semester date is also your last chance to change a class to Pass/Fail grading. Rather than dropping a course from your schedule you can elect to remain in the class, but instead of getting a letter grade, your transcript will just indicate a P (if you pass) or an F (if you fail). A P will not affect your GPA, but an F will. If you're considering the P/F grading option, be careful! There are many things to consider before making this choice, including the fact that courses taken P/F may not count toward Gen Eds, major reqs, or predictor courses. Just like dropping with a W, electing to take a class P/F requires paperwork (but not an instructor's signature).

You should see your advisor soon if you're considering either taking a W or changing a course to P/F. You can pick up the necessary paperwork in Undergraduate Advising (if you're Undeclared) or the Registrar's Office in 213 Whitmore.