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 you get closer to the start of your first semester.
- Students who started in fall 2020 can download this printable version of their checklist.
- We are now developing the checklist for students starting in spring 2021. Details will be updated as more information about the spring semester becomes available and information posted below is subject to change. Most spring start students begin their checklist in November.
Before Orientation & Advising: Designate an Emergency Contact in SPIRE | UMass Google Email | Register for Orientation | Tell Your Family About Orientation | Math Placement Exam | Writing Placement Exam | Foreign Language Placement Exam | Explore Residential Life
- Required Activities: My UMass Community | Better Together | Investing in Your Future | AlcoholEdu | YIS: Your Intervention Strategies | Connections
- Minuteman Materials: Resources | Technology
- Important Transactions: Upload Your UCard Photo | Paying Your Bill | Immunizations | Health Insurance | Consent to Treat Minor Patients | Register to Vote
Before Orientation & Advising
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. You must complete this step before you can register for orientation.
Starting in in November for spring students, UMass 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.
When you register, you will choose an Advising & Registration Block date and sign up for your Online Orientation at the same time.
- When the registration site opens in November, a link will posted so you can log in to register for orientation.
- Your Online Orientation course in Moodle will include a series of activities to complete before, during, and after your Advising & Registration Block.
- An Advising & Registration Block is a window of dates during which you'll be able to schedule an advising appointment and register for classes.
- Advising appointment availability varies based on your major or exploratory track.
- Advising appointments are typically scheduled for 1 hour, but vary by department. You do not need to be available all day for each day of the Advising & Registration Block.
- After you are registered, your advising center will email you to set up your specific advising appointment. Be sure to check your UMass email for this important message.
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."
- Placement Exams are hosted through OWL (Online Web Learning). When you log into OWL, you may see that an exam is listed as optional or required. Please note these are universal designations and not specifically configured based on your credentials. Please use the details below to determine whether or not a particular exam is required for you.
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.
Before your first advising appointment, many 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.
Students who have studied French, German, Latin, or Spanish for two or more years and will continue with the same language in college, 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.
Advising & Registration
You'll receive an email inviting you to log-in to the Moodle Course: Intro to UMass Community Values and Resources (NSO-IUMCVR-W21) once the materials are ready and you've been added to the course.
Advising and course registration are an important part of your experience as a UMass Amherst student. Complete the Advising Prep module to help you get ready for your first advising appointment!
Your School/College Advising Center is excited to connect with you. They'll be adding information about your academic home base to your Moodle course. Please make sure you review all of the materials before your advising appointment.
After you register for orientation, 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. For students starting at UMass in the spring, emails will be sent starting in late December.
Activities will be posted throughout your transition to the university and you'll receive an email each time a new, required activity becomes available.
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.
What's distinct about your voice? Join 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 university community that values dialogue among diverse groups in a community defined by mutual respect.
Find out all about financial fundamentals, your UMass financial team, how to decode your bill, and next steps for managing your UMass accounts.
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!
If you have any trouble logging into AlcoholEdu, please try resetting your UMass IT account password in SPIRE, then try logging in again.
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.
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 including an online welcome meeting. Check back in November for more details.
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.
All new students are required to upload a UCard photo to the UCard Office. 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.
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. 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.
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). For information, visit the UHS website or call UHS Patient Services, 413-577-5192.
If you are enrolling as a UMass Amherst student before your 18th birthday, have your parents/guardians complete the Consent to Treat Minor Patients form.
Get registered to vote at studentvote.org.
As the semester begins, we'll officially welcome you to the community to help you feel comfortable and ready to succeed as a UMass Amherst student. More details will be available in November.
Check out #40DaysofUMass for events, tips, updates, and resources throughout the first 40 days of your UMass experience.
Before the Semester Begins
Are you looking for a job? 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 for he 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.
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.
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.
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