FAQs

About New Students
About Parents, Family and Friends

 About New Students:

  When is Orientation?

Orientation always takes place before your first semester at UMass.

Not every college/school participates in every session. When you log in to the registration site, you will see the dates available to you.

Fall Admits: Your orientation will be the summer before your fall semester. We have 10 sessions spanning from June to mid-July for first-year students and 4 dates for transfers.

Spring Admits: Your orientation will be the winter before your spring semester. We have 5 sessions taking place in December and January for both first-year students and transfers.

  When can I Choose my Date for Orientation?

 Fall Admits: Registration begins at the end of February.

 Spring Admits: Registration begins in mid-November.

You'll be eligible to register for orientation within two business days of your enrollment fee being recorded as received in SPIRE. Sessions fill up on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit the Choose Your Date page for more details.

  I'm receiving an error message (i.e. invalid response) when I try to visit the login page for the orientation reservation system.

First, are your Net ID and password correct? They should be the same as the ones you use for SPIRE. You can use the password and Net ID help link on the SPIRE log in page if you are having trouble.

Next, has your enrollment fee been posted as received on your Admitted Student Center in SPIRE? Your enrollment fee must be paid in order for your to choose your NSO date and it may take up to two business days from the time your fee posts until you are eligible to log in to the NSO reservation system.

Call us at (413) 545-2621 if you still are having trouble logging in and we can give you a hand.

I registered for Orientation, but my SPIRE account still lists NSO as a To Do Item. How can I clear it?

NSO To Do items are updated once a week. If you registered for NSO more than two weeks ago and your To Do is still listed in SPIRE, please call our office, so that we can assist you.

  What should I do if I need to change my confirmed orientation session?

You can log back into our registration site and switch your date. Remember, sessions fill up on a first-come, first-served basis. and not every school/college participates in each orientation session. You will only be able to select from the session dates that are open to you.The sooner you select a date, the more options you will have.

  What if I sign up for orientation and can’t attend?

Call or email our office as soon as possible, even if the orientation session has already started. We need to help you register for a later orientation and discuss your next steps.

  Can my friend and I register for the same orientation session so we can carpool together?

If there is a session that is open to both you and your friend, then absolutely!

  Can I request a roommate for my two-day Summer NSO session?

Room assignments for overnight sessions in the summer are determined on arrival. One of the greatest parts of college is meeting new people!

 Do I have to attend Orientation?

Orientation is mandatory for all new students and it is the necessary first step to preparing you for your first semester at UMass Amherst. We offer multiple dates for orientation to suit your schedule.   

  Do I have to spend the night at my Orientation session?

Only Summer first-year orientation sessions are overnight. Students at these sessions spend one night on campus in the residence halls. When you complete your registration form, you have the opportunity to share any special accommodation requests with us. If you are a first-year student and have more questions about the overnight stay, please call or email us as soon as you can.

  What should I bring with me to Orientation?

Consult the What to Bring list to prepare for your session.

  I am an International Student. What do I need to do in addition to registering for orientation?

Orientation for international students is a two-part process. Be sure to read our information for international students and reference the Admitted International Student page for specific to dos for international students.

 I can't attend any of the scheduled orientation sessions. What should I do?

Orientation is mandatory, however, if you have an extenuating circumstance that prevents you from attending orientation, you need to log into our registration site and mark yourself as "Cannot Attend" on the Choose a Session tab. Once you have done that, we will email you more information on how to proceed.

  I'm thinking about changing my major. How will this impact my time at orientation?

Because academic advising and course registration is a significant component of your orientation schedule, changing your major has a serious impact on your orientation experience and how we prepare your materials. Changing your major may also impact which orientation session you can attend.

If you do want to change your major before orientation, you can send an email to the Admissions Office requesting your change of major.  If you are requesting a competitive or closed major, you may have to satisfy certain academic requirements before you can change to your desired major.

In order to allow adequate processing time, change of major requests must be submitted prior to May 1 for students attending Summer NSO or by December 1 for students attending Winter NSO.

If you miss the change of major deadline, you will need to attend an orientation session and advising appointment for the major in which you are currently registered. During orientation, you can discuss a change of major with your academic advisor. Change of major requests may not be processed during orientation if they necessitate a change between colleges or if the new major is competitive/requires an application.

  What placement tests are offered?

There are 3 kinds of online Placement Tests: the Math Placement Test, the Foreign Language Placement Test, and the Writing Test. Refer to the placement test page for details on who takes the tests, when the deadlines are, etc.

  How will my AP or previous college/university coursework transfer?

UMass does take certain test scores and previous university coursework as applicable credits. Visit our AP and SAT Tests page as well as Transfer Credit page for more information. If you have earned previous college credit either through coursework or testing, be sure to tell your advisor during orientation.

  When may I review my transfer credit evaluation?

When you arrive for your Transfer Registration session, we will provide you with a paper copy of your Transfer Credit Evaluation (TCE). You can also view what credits have transferred on SPIRE under Main Menu>Academics>Transfer Credit. Classes or tests that were recently taken may not appear on SPIRE right away, so make sure you bring your transcript with you just in case.

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 About Parents, Family and Friends: 

 Can I bring my family or friends to orientation with me? Will they be with me during orientation?

While only incoming UMass students can attend orientation or Transfer Registration sessions, family and friends can register for our Parents & Family Orientation that runs concurrently with each session. The parents and family programs are separate from the student orientations and each of you will be learning valuable information about the university.

  Can my parents help me register for classes?

College is the first step towards independence and adulthood. At orientation, we will have trained professional advisors to assist you with the class selection process. Your family will be busy attending their own program sessions.

  Where can my family stay during orientation?

Parents and families should arrange for their own overnight accommodations. One option is Hotel UMass. You can contact the hotel directly at 1-877-822-2110 to make reservations or book online. Space is limited so please book early. Additional lodging information is available through the Office of Parent Services.

  What should I do if my parent/family or I need special accommodations for dietary needs, medical or food allergies, or a disability during Orientation?

When you sign up online you will have the opportunity to detail any special services you might need during your time with us right on the student registration site  and on the parents/family registration site. If something comes up after you’ve registered, please email us.

  My parent/family cannot attend the same orientation session as me, but would still like to attend Parents & Family Orientation. Is that possible?

Absolutely! Your family can attend any Parents, Family and Friends orientation that works for them. If you are entering UMass in the fall, they can attend any of our summer sessions. If you are starting in the spring, they can sign up for any of our winter sessions.

  My parent/family are not sure they can attend orientation with me, can they decide to attend after I’m confirmed for an orientation session?

They can register at any time after you have signed up. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged to allow time to prepare materials and meals.

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