UMass SealUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst - 2007/08 Guide to Undergraduate Programs
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The First-Year Experience

At any university, students generally consider their first year to be the most challenging. The new university student usually finds that college academic work is more extensive and advanced than that experienced in high school. In addition, students need to adjust to entirely new learning and social environments.
The university believes that first-year students will adapt more readily to those adjustments if they 1) receive information about the series of important decisions that they will face during the year, 2) have a variety of choices of living environments based on common academic and other interests to create a small-college environment within this large university and 3) enjoy a wide selection of activities encouraging them to pursue extracurricular interests and to make friends with students of diverse backgrounds and interests.

The academic year for first-year students therefore begins with a campus orientation period prior to their first semester at the university. During their stay, students live in a university residence hall, eat in a dining commons, and tour the campus’ academic and residential buildings. Students also take placement exams, and the results are used in determining appropriate course placement. Each student meets with an academic adviser, selects a schedule of appropriate courses, and registers for courses. Students also learn about a wide range of academic, residential, and extracurricular options available to them at the university.

First-year students also have the opportunity to choose from a variety of residential academic programs that provide a place for new students to live and study together.