Student Voices

My UMass Experience: Isenberg Fellows RAP

After committing to the University of Massachusetts, I began looking at ways I could become involved on campus and the different programs offered by UMass Amherst. One particular program that struck my interest was the Residential Academic Program, or RAP, for Isenberg Fellows. The primary goals of the RAP programs are to support students as they transition to college life. Everyone in a RAP lives in the same dorm and takes a class together. There are three main categories of first-year RAPS: Gen Ed RAPS (open to all first year students), College/School RAPS (open to specific groups of students), and RAPS by invitation only. The Isenberg Fellows RAP is categorized as a College/School RAP and falls under Majors RAPS. Lots of the RAPS operate on a first-come, first-served basis, but I actually went through an application process for the the Isenberg Fellows RAP. 

I decided to apply for the Isenberg Fellows RAP because I believed it would help me in my transition to college and allow me to form a more immediate connection with other students and faculty in the Isenberg School of Management. Another huge benefit to being in the Isenberg Fellows RAP was knowing where I was living way earlier than most. For the Isenberg RAP, you are notified of your acceptance mid-May, and are then assigned to your designated housing. When I applied to the RAP I knew I would be living in one of the lowrises in Southwest. For the 2019-2020 RAP year, the Isenberg RAP was split between Thoreau Hall and Cance Hall. I lived in Thoreau Hall and loved it! All members of the Isenberg RAP in my dorm lived on the third floor, so I saw them quite regularly coming in and out of the building which allowed me to form connections and gave me some familiar faces around campus. 

As part of the requirement for the Fellows RAP, all members were required to take a two credit, year-long RAP class. Which of the two classes offered you were required to take was dictated by which building you lived in. Our RAP in Thoreau Hall took a class called “Business in the Global Society”. Since the class was only one credit per a semester, (two total for the year), we only met once a week and the class was low commitment, but really interesting. My professor, Gail Cruise, was one of my favorite professors I’ve had at UMass Amherst so far —  and having her class year-round allowed me to form a close connection with her. Given that the class size was around 20, which is much smaller than a lot of my lecture style classes, this also helped me form close connections to those in the class.  

Our RAP was added into ACCT 221, an Isenberg core requirement, during second semester. While most ACCT 221 classes are lecture-style with larger class sizes, my ACCT 221 class was 30 students max, and with students I’d already taken classes with and knew. This was a benefit I didn’t know I’d be receiving, and was one I think was really useful — since I already knew all of my peers we would collaborate study together in the dorm!

I would highly recommend those admitted to Isenberg to consider applying for the Isenberg RAP! It allowed me to form deeper connections with my peers and professor that I don’t think I would’ve gained otherwise. I formed a closer, more immediate connection to the Isenberg School of Management, and felt like I was given some extra attention and priority in the two RAP-only classes I was able to take.