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The transition to university life is exciting and challenging. At UMass Amherst, we will inspire you to succeed.
FYI is a comprehensive program for all first-year students that broadens your intellectual horizons, helps you build relationships with other students, faculty and staff, and provides academic and personal support.
Make your first year at UMass Amherst the foundation for a life-changing college experience. Through FYI you will participate in events and activities in four areas essential to your success as a student.
Academic Competence: Increase your connections, capabilities and confidence as you make the transition to the challenges of college-level academic work.
Civility, Respect, & Diversity: Explore the diverse perspectives in our community and the responsibilities of being a part of it.
Connections: Develop a sense of community while making friends and learning about campus resources and activities.
Health & Wellness: Participate in academic and co-curricular activities that promote lifelong healthy habits.
Summer and Fall New Students Orientation
During Summer New Students Orientation (NSO) you'll get to know the campus, meet other students, consult with your academic advisor, register for classes, and make your housing request.
We then welcome you back to campus for Fall New Students Orientation (Fall NSO). Freshmen move to campus on the Friday before Labor Day (and before everyone else) to attend the two-day Fall NSO program. You'll participate in New Students Convocation and the Fall NSO Festival, which features everything from tips on academic success and campus involvement to interactive displays on health, safety and technology. We’ve also got special events planned like our Atheletics 101 pep rally and carnivals in your residential area.
Visit the NSO web site to choose your Summer NSO session and find out more about Fall NSO.
Residential First Year Experience (RFYE)
Living in close communities of first-year students is one of the best aspects of college. UMass Amherst is one of the few universities with dedicated first-year halls, and our programs help foster a smooth transition to campus life. First-year students live together in theme-based communities organized around interests such as health and science, media and the arts, and global activism. You'll live with students who share your interests, and have access to academic and co-curricular programs, cultural events, field trips, tutoring, advising, study groups, and student-faculty gatherings.
Residential Academic Programs (RAPs)
Residential Academic Programs —optional academic learning communities—allow you to live and study with students who share your academic interests. RAPs feature classes in the residence halls, events, programs, and they help students build strong relationships with peers and faculty. Each RAP includes a General Education class (usually a small section located in your residence hall) and many include a one-credit seminar. There are RAPs designed around particular topics, RAPs offered for certain majors, and RAPs for students in Commonwealth Honors College.
First-Year Seminars are small classes taught on a variety of subjects, where students and instructors discuss academic topics and university life. Seminars are an excellent way to connect with faculty and instructors who provide mentoring and advice. For many students, they are the highlight of the first year.
UMass Amherst offers a wide range of First-Year Seminars. Many RAPs include seminars, certain colleges and major departments offer these classes, and many are available for certain groups of students (recruited athletes, veterans, ALANA, and undeclared students). Students may also choose to take a Faculty First-Year Seminar. These are courses with fewer than 20 students led by senior faculty members from across campus. Recent topics have included "Inequality in the US: Causes & Consequences," "Media, Fashion, Culture, and Style," and "Parasites and People: The Good, the Bad, the Yucky."
Year-long Support - Academic Advising
It's not just about choosing classes: Beginning with NSO, and throughout the year, you can meet with an advisor to map out your academic life. Your advisor will help you learn about major, college, and general education requirements, find ways to enrich your academic experience, connect with support, resources, and opportunities on campus, explore careers and majors (if you're undecided), establish goals, review your progress, choose classes, and get ready for sophomore year.