New Student Checklist
There are a number of steps you'll need to take on your own to prepare for your orientation session and the semester ahead. Most steps can be completed before you come to orientation, so let's get started!
A printable version on the check list is available here.
Get Familiar with SPIRE
SPIRE is the student information and registration system and it will be a major part of your life at UMass! During orientation, you will use SPIRE to register for classes.
Spend some time learning to use it before you come to orientation. Browse the course catalog and check out the search for classes feature to explore the course offerings at UMass Amherst, so you can jump right into the registration process during orientation.
You can learn more about SPIRE on the OIT website.
There are also several video tutorial to help you get started with SPIRE:
Searching for Classes
Enrolling in Classes
Shortly after your enrollment fee is processed, OIT will send you information about your university email account, UMail. UMail is the official mode of communication between the university and its students. It's a good idea to get in the habit of checking your UMail on a daily basis.
Math Placement Exam
All incoming students must take the Math Placement Exam online before attending orientation. This exam will make sure that you choose the right math courses. Go to Placement Tests for more information about the Math Placement Exam.
Foreign Language Placement Exam
Students who have studied French, Latin, or Spanish for three or more years and will continue with the same language at UMass Amherst, must take the Foreign Language Placement Exam online prior to orientation. More details on foreign language placement are available here.
Test Scores and Transcripts
First-year students, please make sure that the Office of Undergraduate Admissions has received an offical copy of your final high school transcript with graduation notation.
Any student who is taking college course work in Fall 2012 or Winter 2012-13 must send an official transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. You should also bring a copy of your fall schedule and/or grade report with you to your orientation session. This help your adviser recommend the appropriate courses for spring semester.
If you have AP or SAT II scores that will yield credit at the university, request an official copy of your scores be sent to New Students Orientation.
On and Off Campus Housing
UMass Amherst guarantees a residence hall assignment for students with fewer than 27 credits only. Students who have earned 27 or more credits may still apply for an assignment and, if space is still available, will be assigned.
Given the high demand for on-campus housing in recent semesters, we cannot guarantee that all sophomore, junior, and senior transfer students will receive a residence hall assignment.
To apply for an on-campus assignment for Spring 2013, you must file a Housing Preference Application on your SPIRE account. The application for new students will be available from November 12, 2012-January 4, 2013. Visit the Residential Life website for more information including instructions on filing your preference application.
Off Campus Housing Referrals are also available to help students who wish to pursue housing off-campus. Check out their website for more details.
Paying Your Bill
UMass Amherst uses a paperless billing system—bills will not be mailed home. Instead, bills for the semester will post to the “Finances” section of your SPIRE account.
• If you enrolled on time you’ll see the charges post to your account in December. Bills are due in January.
• If you enrolled late, you’ll see the charges post to your account in January. Late bills are due by the date indicated on your bill. For more information about billing, please visit the Bursar's Office.
Massachusetts law requires that all college students have certain immunizations before coming to school. The New Student Immunization Program (NSIP) at University Health Services oversees these requirements.
Go to the NSIP web page, for information on required immunizations and to download a copy of the Massachusetts Required Immunization History form. This form must be completed and returned to the NSIP before your first semester on campus. If information is not received by the end of the Add/Drop period, a registration hold will be placed on your record.
It’s best to complete all required immunizations before beginning school. If you need immunizations or blood tests after you arrive, they can be obtained at UHS. Your insurance plan will be billed for these costs; you will need to supply insurance information at the time of your visit.
If your plan requires you to obtain these services from your primary care provider (PCP), you will need to transfer your PCP designation to a UHS provider or obtain a referral from your home PCP to authorize services at UHS.
For more information, go to the immunizations website or call the NSIP, 413-577-5275.
Massachusetts law requires full-time college students to have primary health insurance. If you don’t already have insurance, or if the plan you have won’t meet your needs while at school, you can take advantage of the university-sponsored Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP).
Students taking five or more credits are automatically enrolled in the SHBP; charges will appear on the semester tuition bill. Depending on your insurance coverage and student status, you may be eligible to waive the plan.
For information, visit the UHS website or call UHS Patient Services, 413-577-5192.
My Student Body
All new students are required to complete and pass MyStudentBody – an online alcohol education program by Monday, February 11, 2013.
MyStudentBody offers a lot of interesting and useful information just for students. Once you’ve finished the course, bookmark the site and visit anytime! The course and instructions for taking it will be available in early January.
If you don’t complete this requirement, you won’t be able to register for fall 2013 classes. If you have any questions or concerns about passing the course by the deadline, e-mail the MSB Coordinator, MSB@uhs.umass.edu, to set up a time to take and pass the course on campus in the spring.
UMass Amherst Alerts
Sign up to receive emergency text messages and learn more about emergency preparedness through UMass Amherst Alerts.
Log into and explore Campus Pulse our online community that let’s students find out about campus events and clubs (known at UMass as Registered Student Organizations or RSOs).
Are you looking for a job in the area? The Student Employment Office lists work study and non-work study jobs available both on and off campus. Auxilary Services also posts a number of student jobs on their website.
Sign up for a RefWorks account today and make your research easier. RefWorks keeps track of your references and creates bibliographies in the correct style that your professors will require. Go the Library's homepage, click on RefWorks then click on Sign Up for an Individual Account. Choose a username and password that is easy to remember as you'll be using RefWorks often.
To find out how to use RefWorks, visit the library or go to the library website to speak with a reference librarian. Librarians are eager to help you. "Every single freshman should learn how to do this early on!"