Student Checklist

Orientation is more than an event  it's a journey! We've curated this checklist to help you navigate the steps you'll take during your transition to the UMass Amherst community. It may look like a lot, but we are here to help you all along the way. Plus, you don't have to do this all at once. Some of these steps can be completed before your online orientation begins and others will open up in phases as we move through the summer. Phase 1 and Phase 2 can be started simultaneously. Ready to get started? Let's go! 

Please note:
• Students who plan to live on campus or use campus facilities must sign the UMass Amherst Agreement on SPIRE by the July 31, 2020 deadline.
• The deadline to upload your required UCard photo has been moved up to July 31, 2020 due to the change in the academic calendar.

Before Orientation & Advising: Designate an Emergency Contact in SPIRE | Choose Your Date | Tell Your Family About Orientation | Math Placement Exam | Writing Placement Exam | Foreign Language Placement Exam | Explore Residential Life | Hold a Spot in a Residential Academic Program | UMass Google Email

Phase 1 Advising & RegistrationComplete Your Advising Prep Module | Review Your College Materials | Make Your Advising Appointment

Phase 2 Student Life: 

Phase 3 Fall Welcome: Fall Welcome | #40DaysofUMass

Before the Semester Begins: Get Involved | Jobs | Books | Parking | UMass Amherst Alerts | UMass Store

Before Orientation & Advising 

  Designate an Emergency Contact in SPIRE

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.

  Choose Your Date

When you register, you will choose an Advising & Registration Block date and sign up for your Online Orientation at the same time.

  • Choose a date that doesn’t conflict with work or any other prior commitments.
  • Advising & Registration blocks run from June – July. An Advising & Registration Block is a range of days when you will be able to have a remote advising appointment with an academic advisor and register for classes in SPIRE. The week before your Advising & Registration Block, your advising center will email you to set up your specifc advising appoinment. Be sure to check your UMass email for this important message. If you select the August Advising & Registration Block, please note that there is not an official start date for your appointment window and an advisor will contact you as available to arrange an appointment with you. 
  • Your advising appointment is the only time-sensitive activity you will need to complete during your Advising & Registration Block.
  • Online Orientation activities be posted in your course on Moodle. Activities will time release in throughout the summer.

  Tell Your Family About Orientation Too

Encourage your parents and family members to learn about Parent & Family programs.

 Take Your Placement Exams 

You will be automatically enrolled for placement exams the next business day after your nonrefundable enrollment deposit has been processed by the University. 

  • 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."
  •  Math Placement Exam

All incoming first-year students must take the Math Placement Exam online before their first advising appointment. This exam will help you and your advisor identify the right math/science courses for you. Transfer students should consult the "Welcome to UMass Amherst!" 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.

  •   Writing Placement Exam

Before your first advising appointment, incoming first-year students 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 "Welcome to UMass Amherst!" 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.

  •   Foreign Language Placement 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 advising. Ready to take a placement exam? Click here to read the directions and get started.

  Explore Residential Life

Check out the many residential options UMass has to offer on campus. There are also options available to students who wish to pursue off-campus housing.

  Hold a Spot in a Residential Academic Program (RAP)

Students admitted for the fall semester should explore the exciting living and learning opportunities available to you through RAP. You can hold a spot in a RAP starting May 17. 

 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. Your advising center will be emailing your UMass Google Email account regarding your academic advising appointment. Be sure to check your UMass Google Email account on a daily basis as soon as you have access to it. 

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Phase 1: Advising & Registration 

Phase 1 begins in mid-May. You'll receive an email inviting you to log-in to the Moodle Course: Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources once you've been added to the course.

  Complete Your Advising Prep Module

Advising and course registration are an important part of your experience at UMass Amherst. Complete the Advising Prep Module to help you get ready for your first advising appointment! 

  Review Your College Materials 

Your School/College Advising Center is excited to connect with you. They'll be adding information about academic homebase to your Moodle course. Please make sure you review all of the materials before your advising appointment. 

 Make Your Advising Appointment

The week before your Advising & Registration Block starts you'll receive an email through your UMass Google Email account with instructions to log on to our online appointment system and select your advising appointment. 

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Phase 2: Student Life

Phase 2 begins in June. Activities will be posted throughout the summer. 


  My UMass Community 

Starting in early June. UMass is a special, caring community. Meet the people who'll be welcoming you and learn about the values and expectations that make our community a safe and exciting place to learn. 

    Better Together 

Starting in mid-June. What's distinct about your voice? Join orientation leaders in activities that consider how each of us can contribute our unique voices to the UMass Amherst community. Together, we will explore what it means to join a campus community that values dialogue among diverse groups in a community defined by mutual respect.

    Investing in Your Future

Starting in early July. Find out all about financial fundamentals, your financial team at UMass, how to decode your bill, and next steps for managing your UMass accounts. 


Opening in August, 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 70%. Don’t worry, you have chances to try again if you don’t pass the first time! 

   YIS: Your Intervention Strategies. Preventing Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence and Stalking.

Also opening in August, 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:


One of the best parts of our community is the people. We're planning a series of opportunities for you to connect with your Orientation Leaders, university staff, and campus leadership. We'll share more about how to make these connections throughout the summer. 

  • Microsoft Teams: connect with fellow new students and orientation leaders on Microsoft Teams. Details for accessing Teams and introducing yourself are posted in your online orientation Moodle course. 
  • Live Information Sessions: through June and July our campus partners will be hosting information sessions on Zoom and Facebook Live. Check our Google Calendar for the list of events. Registration is required in advance for the Sustainable UMass and Meet the Orientation Leaders webinars and students must log in to Zoom through their UMass accounts. Advanced registration is not required for the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising Sessions, Civic Engagement and Service-Learning information sessions, Berthiaume Center information sessions, or the Marching Band information sessions. 

Minuteman Materials


There's even more to learn about the UMass Amherst and we'll be sharing presentations, videos, and handouts in the Minuteman Materials section of your online orientation course!


UMass Amherst IT provides details about new student computing to dos. 

Important Transactions

    Submit Your Housing Preference Application

Students living on-campus need to complete a housing preference application starting on June 1. Please note, the housing preference application deadline for all new students (first-year and transfer) is now July 7 at 12 noon. 

   Upload Your UCard Photo 

All new students are required to upload a UCard photo to the UCard Office by July 31, 2020. It may take more than one attempt for your photo to be approved, so you should get started with this process now. When you upload your own photo through the UCard website, you get to choose the photo used on your ID card.

   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.  Bills post in mid-July for fall 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.

   Signing the UMass Amherst Community Agreement

If you plan to live on campus or use UMass campus facilities this fall, you must sign the UMass Community Agreement in SPIRE by the July 31 deadline. If a student declines terms of the agreement or does not take action by July 31, their decision could prevent them from living on campus, enrolling in or attending face-to-face classes, and accessing dining facilities and other on-campus events, programs, and services. Students who decline signing the agreement will receive follow-up emails from departments and can have their questions regarding the agreement answered by those areas.

   Submitting Immunization Records

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.

    Health Insurance

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). For information, visit the UHS website or call UHS Patient Services, 413-577-5192.

    Consent to Treat Minor Patients

If you are enrolling at UMass Amherst before your 18th birthday, have your parents/guardians complete the Consent to Treat Minor Patients form.

   Register to Vote 

Get registered to vote at

Phase 3: Fall Welcome 

 Phase 3 begins in August. More details will be added as we get closer to the fall.

  Fall Welcome

During Fall Welcome, the entire community will welcome you as the semester begins! This program is designed to help you feel comfortable and ready to succeed in every way you can at UMass Amherst.


Check out  #40DaysofUMass for events, tips, updates, and resources throughout the first 40 days of your UMass experience.

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Before the Semester Begins

  Get Involved

Find out about getting involved in leadership, service, and clubs known as Registered Student Organizations or RSOs. Explore Campus Recreation options.


Are you looking for a job in the area? The Student Employment Office lists work study and non-work study jobs available. Auxiliary Services also posts a number of student jobs on their website. If you plan to work at the university, there are forms you must complete before you can be hired and paid. All new employees, including student employees, must present original documents as valid forms of identification. Refer to the I-9 form for more information.


Books by eCampus is the official course materials provider of UMass Amherst. Order course materials via SPIRE. Ordering instructions are found here. Books by eCampus 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 Alerts

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.

   UMass Store

The UMass Store is your on campus location for one stop shopping. We stock a great selection of UMass clothing and gifts. We carry art & school supplies, H&B products and even snacks. The Tech Dept. of the UMass Store is an authorized Campus Reseller for Apple. This allows us to sell Apple computers at educational discounts. The latest computers and accessories are available as well as repairs, right here at UMass.

Please shop us online at and as a special welcome to UMass for first-year and transfer students, use the code CLASSOF2024. You will get a 15% discount on any clothing and gifts.

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