There are a number of steps you'll need to take on your own to prepare for your New Students Orientation (NSO) session and the semester ahead. Most steps can be completed before you come to orientation, so let's get started!
Before NSO: Designate an Emergency Contact in SPIRE | Choose Your Date | Ask Your Family to Sign Up Too | Math Placement Exam | Writing Placement Exam | Foreign Language Placement Exam | Explore Residential Life | Hold a Spot in a Residential Academic Program | Get Familiar with SPIRE | UMass Google Email | UMass Amherst Alerts | Upload Your UCard Photo
Before the Semester Begins: Residential Life | Paying Your Bill | Immunizations | Health Insurance | Consent to Treat Minor Patients | AlcoholEdu | YIS: Your Intervention Strategies | Get Involved | Jobs | Books | Parking | Technology
Add an Emergency Contact to the My Personal Information section of your SPIRE account to identify the individual(s) who should be contacted on your behalf in case of an emergency.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis so make sure you sign up as soon as possible. Choose a date that doesn’t conflict with work, vacation or any other prior commitments.
Encourage your parents and family members to attend our Parent & Family programs and register online ahead of time.
Take Your Placement Exams
- After that, you will be able to log in using your UMass "NetID" and password.
- Enrollment is updated every night except for weekends; and students will be able to take the exam the following business day. You can check your SPIRE Admissions Center page to confirm that your nonrefundable enrollment deposit has been processed. If your deposit is processed successfully, the page will say "Received - Thank you".
All incoming first-year students must take the Math Placement Exam online before attending orientation. This exam will help you and your advisor identify the right math/science courses for you. Transfer students should consult the "UMass Amherst: Preliminary Transfer Credit Evaluation" email message from Admissions to determine whether or not they need to take the Math Placement Exam. Ready to take a placement exam? Click here to read the directions and get started.
Before attending an orientation session, incoming first-year students must take the online Writing Placement Exam. This exam will inform the conversation you and your advisor have about what courses you need to take to fulfill the First-Year Writing Requirement. Transfer students should consult the "UMass Amherst: Preliminary Transfer Credit Evaluation" email message from Admissions to determine whether or not they need to take the Writing Placement Exam. Ready to take the exam? Click here to read the directions and start your exam.
Students who have studied French, German, Latin, or Spanish for two or more years and will continue with the same language at UMass Amherst, must take the Foreign Language Placement Exam online prior to orientation. Ready to take a placement exam? Click here to read the directions and get started.
Students admitted for the fall semester should explore the exciting living and learning opportunities available to you through RAP.
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 IT website.
UMass Google Email
Starting in mid-May for students entering in September and in November for spring students, IT will send you information about your UMass Google Email account. Email 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 UMass Google Email account on a daily basis.
Sign up to receive emergency text messages and learn more about emergency preparedness through UMass Amherst Alerts. When you log into SPIRE a reminder will appear that contains a direct link to the enrollment screen for alert messages. This page will appear each time you log into SPIRE until you have either enrolled or opted out from receiving text alerts. You can also enter a secondary email and cell phone number into your account to receive alerts.
When you upload your own photo through the UCard website, you get to choose the photo used on your ID card; you can avoid waiting in line during orientation; and you'll be qualifed for a $50 drawing. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time before the deadline in
- Get involved in your residential community,
- learn about the MicroChill program, and
- download the My UMass app from the App Store or Google Play.
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. Bills post in mid-July for fall semester and early December for spring semester. An email will be sent to your UMass email address when your bill is available to view. Visit the Bursar's Office for more details including:
- completing the FERPA waiver,
- designating an authorized payer,
- enrolling in UPay, and
- signing up for Excess Express.
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. Submit your immunization information before your first semester on campus.The deadline is the end of the add/drop period. If you miss the deadline, a hold will be placed on your student record and you'll be unable to register for classes.
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 in SPIRE. Depending on your insurance coverage and student status, you may be eligible to waive the plan starting in mid-July for new fall semester students and mid-December for new spring semester students. Waivers submitted in the fall apply to the entire academic year. Waiver requests must be completed by the end of the Add/Drop period. Otherwise, you will remain enrolled in the SHBP and charges will be assessed on the semester’s tuition bills.
If you're staying on your current insurance plan, be sure to bring a copy of the front and back of your insurance card when you move to UMass.
For information, visit the UHS website or call UHS Patient Services, 413-577-5192.
If you are enrolling at UMass Amherst before your 18th birthday, have your parents/guardians complete the Consent to Treat Minor Patients form.
AlcoholEdu is an interactive evidence-based online program designed to reduce the negative consequences of alcohol among students. AlcoholEdu covers two of the most significant behavioral risks new college students face as they transition into a new community: alcohol use and illicit and prescription drug use. This program delivers a personalized experience to all types of students dependent on their current drinking choices. This is a required program and students who don’t complete this requirement, won’t be able to register for classes for the following semester. AlcoholEdu takes about 60 minutes. You can take the course in shorter segments and your progress will be saved. You must complete and pass the post-test with a score of at least 80%. Don’t worry, you have chances to try again if you don’t pass the first time!
- Students entering Spring 2020: In mid-December, you will receive an email directing you to access your Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources course on Moodle where you can complete AlcoholEdu.
- Students entering Fall 2020: AlcoholEdu opens in August. You will receive an email directing you to access your Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources course on Moodle where you can complete AlcoholEdu.
YIS: Your Intervention Strategies. Preventing Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence and Stalking.
This interactive graphic novel is an online module designed to meet federal mandates of the Campus Sexual Violence (SaVE) Act, which requires all new students receive primary prevention programming to prevent sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. It includes an overview of available campus resources, expectations and policies and can take up to an hour to complete. It is designed to be done in one sitting, please avoid closing the window and returning. All entering students must complete this course prior to the start of the semester. If you don’t complete this requirement, you won’t be able to register for classes for the following semester. If you have any questions or concerns please email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Students entering Spring 2020: In mid-December, you received an email directing you to access your Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources course on Moodle where you can complete YIS.
- Students entering Fall 2020: YIS opens in August. You will receive an email directing you to access your Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources course on Moodle where you can complete YIS.
Log into and explore Campus Pulse our online community that lets 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. Auxiliary Services also posts a number of student jobs on their website. If you plan to work on campus, there are forms you must complete before you can be hired and paid. All new employees, including student employees, must bring original documents as valid forms of identification. Photocopies and faxed documents are not acceptable. Refer to the I-9 form for more information.
eCampus @ UMass is the official course materials provider of UMass Amherst. Order course materials via SPIRE. Ordering instructions are found here. eCampus @ UMass offers a dynamic pricing model with multiple purchasing options, including new, used, rental, eBook, and Marketplace. Receive free shipping on all orders, excluding Marketplace purchases.
If you choose to bring your car to campus, make sure you purchase your parking pass as soon as possible. Parking Services offers many different options for students.
UMass Amherst IT provides new student computing to dos for before and after you arrive on campus.