RAP Frequently Asked Questions

Students report that when they live and study together they do better academically, form lasting friendships, and have a more satisfying college experience!

At UMass Amherst, RAPs have the following benefits: 

  • Ease of Registration:  Start the registration process for your first semester in college with one or two built-in classes!
  • A Smooth Transition:  You can build a solid foundation on which to begin your academic and social exploration of the university by enrolling in common classes with students in your RAP and attending classes within your residential area.  
  • A Supportive Community:  You can learn how to form study groups and work cooperatively with peers who share similar interests and are in classes with you. Students report that they can also help each other in informal ways like waking each other up for class, sharing class notes and working on homework together.
  • Making Connections: Develop meaningful and lasting relationships with RAP course instructors.

Check out what students say about their experience!

  • "Gen Ed RAPs" include a General Education course which fulfills a University level requirement (necessary for all students).
  • All seminars associated with RAP fulfill a college/school requirement.
  • Some Majors RAPs include a course that fulfills a requirement for that major.
  • Most Honors RAPs include a course that fulfills an Honors College requirement.

RAP recognizes that UMass Amherst students come from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of interests.  We offer a variety of options so that students have opportunities to choose a program that best fits with their academic interests, lifestyle goals, and on-campus living preferences.

There are THREE BASIC questions you should ask yourself – IN ANY ORDER:

ONE: Determine which TYPE of RAP is best for you. RAPs are organized in “types” that determine the basic structure of the RAP (who can join and the courses included). Consider these questions:

  • Do you want to connect with a group of students around a common interest – academic and or personal? Gen Ed RAPs  are open to any/all first-year students.
  • Are you interested in having a class and living with students who are in the same school/college as your major/exploratory track? Connect RAPs are restricted to the students within the specific school/college - this includes declared majors as well as students in that particular Exploratory Track.
  • Is there a RAP offered for students in your major? Look at the list of Majors RAPs to see if your department offers one.
  • Would you like to be in a RAP with other students who are in the same Exploratory Track as you? (Exploratory RAPs are restricted to students in the designated exploratory track.)
  • If you are an Honors student, would you like to live with other honors students? Consider an Honors RAP.

TWO: Find courses that appeal to you. Explore the large selection of courses that are associated with the various RAPs. The core of the RAP is usually built around the Gen Ed course that is part of the RAP. You can review the full list of Gen Ed courses offered through RAP. (The Honors RAP courses are listed on the individual Honors RAP program pages.)

THREE: Determine if you have strong feelings about which area of campus you live for your first year. There are RAPs located in every first-year residence hall and many of the programs are offered in more than one location (for example; Diversity & Society RAP is offered in both Southwest residential area and in the Central residential area.) Explore the specific RAPs within the location you have identified. Refer to the RAPs by Location document.

RAPs are available in four of the residential areas on campus-Central, Northeast, Orchard Hill, and Southwest (some Honors RAPs are located in the Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community).  Refer to the RAPs by Location chart to see where each specific RAP is located. The different residential areas at UMass Amherst have unique characteristics, which you can read more about on the UMass Residence Life website

It depends:

  • Students joining the following RAPs are required to be roommates with others in their program:
    • All Honors RAPs
    • Isenberg School of Management Fellows RAPs
    • Emerging Scholars RAP
    • Engineering Majors RAPs
    • Performing & Visual Arts Majors RAP
    • PiE RAP
    • Veterinary & Animal Science Majors RAP
  • Students in all other RAPs are NOT required to room with others in the same RAP
    • Students may request to room with another student in the same RAP or a student in a different RAP in the same residence hall, or a student not joining a RAP.
    • If the student does not request a roommate they will likely be assigned a roommate from the same RAP. 

Please know that although you are not required to room with another student in your RAP, the rooms for RAP students are clustered together in the residence halls. If you request and are assigned a room with a student from a different RAP, or a student who has not joined a RAP, you may not live on the corridor with the other students in your RAP.

For additional questions about roommates please visit the Housing Assignment website.

YES.  While a RAP is intended to foster a sense of community among its participating students, it is not designed to isolate you from other students at the university.  In fact, there are many opportunities to connect with other students at UMass Amherst -including students who live in your residence hall but are not affiliated with your RAP, as well as students you meet in your classes on the main campus.  

You are encouraged to explore different ways to get involved academically and socially at UMass-talk with your Resident Assistant (RA) or a Peer Mentor to find out about the many opportunities that UMass offers!

NO.  Please refer to the details of the specific programs to determine where your RAP classes will meet. 

Courses affiliated with your RAP may be in the hall where you live, or they may be in another building within the same residential area.  Some classes may meet on the main campus.

The majority of your classes will not be affiliated with your RAP and those classes will be taught on the main campus.

During Summer NSO, you will meet with your Academic Advisor. At that time you will enroll in your RAP course, and they will assist you in choosing the additional courses which will complete your course load (minimum 12 credits).

NO. In fact, you can hold a spot in a RAP as early as May 21, 2017. Please carefully read the section on How to Join a RAP for procedures and deadlines.  BioTAP, Isenberg Fellows RAPs, Computer Science Majors RAP, Computing & Informatics Exploratory RAP and some Honors RAPs have an application process with a different timeline - be sure to refer to the program page for details.

NO. Participation in a RAP is completely voluntary, but all entering first-year students are encouraged to explore the RAP opportunities.  You can read about the specific programs on this website. Feel free to send us questions or post questions on the Class of 2021 Facebook Page.

Please remember that joining a RAP does not exclude you from being able to participate in other academic and non-academic opportunities at the University. You are encouraged to explore various ways to get involved academically and socially at UMass Amherst.

NO. You can only join ONE RAP.  Participation in a RAP is a "package deal" which includes specific courses and a designated residence hall.  If you are attracted to more than one program, carefully review all elements of the packages to determine which RAP is the best fit for you.

NO. You can only join a RAP in the fall semester of your freshman year.

NO. Only first-semester freshman can join a RAP.

Most of the Gen Ed RAPs are for 30 students (some are smaller). Connect and Exploratory RAPs have 19 students. Majors RAPs and Honors RAPs vary in size.

Approximately 40% of incoming students will join a RAP for Fall 2016.

RAP aims to be inclusive and accessible to students of all gender identities. While there aren’t designated gender inclusive residence halls for first-year students, several RAPs are located in residence halls with full gender inclusive bathrooms. Living at UMass will work directly with incoming students that want to be in a RAP and have access to gender inclusive bathrooms in their residence hall.

Please reach out to Living at UMass and ask to speak to someone about gender inclusive housing/roommate options and RAP.

Learn more about UMass’s gender inclusive housing options here.

You can also contact the RAP office directly for further inquiries about gender inclusive space and RAP.