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12 NSO Tips for UMass 2023

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Students listen to a presentation in a modern auditorium at the University of Massachusetts New Students Orientation

Tips from Jessie, who attended the New Students Orientation on June 3-4 .

I just wanted to share some tips and share my experience with you guys for NSO! I just attended the June 3-4th NSO and it made me feel a lot better about the whole college transition in the fall.

  1. Most people bring either a duffle bag or small suitcase. You’re only there for one night so don’t overpack! I packed way more clothes than I needed. For earlier NSO’s I recommend one pair of pants and a pair of shorts, short sleeve t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. Bedding-wise I also overpacked, and a sleeping bag probably would’ve done the trick if you’re looking for convenience. A lot of guys brought only a sleeping bag, but more girls brought sheets, comforter, and a pillow. I didn’t find the comforter necessary, as the room was a bit warm, but definitely bring a pillow and sheets.
  2. We stayed in Northeast Area, and if all NSO’s are set up the same this is where you’ll stay as well. The rooms up there are really nice. Rooming for the night is indeed random. If you can, touch base with your roommate BEFORE you leave for the day try to get their # or some form of social media. That way you can touch base about your plans for the night.
  3. Going off the point above, you have two options the first night: continue into the night with some open mic and other night activities OR go back to the dorms. This happens around 9 p.m., and dorms are not locked till 11, so it might be good to text your roommate for the night and figure out your plans so you’re not awkwardly meeting them for the first time at 11 p.m..
  4. During both days you’ll be in a mix of small groups (around 10ish people), to larger groups of around 100ish, to the entire NSO group. You’ll spend a lot of time with those from your school, as well as meet others at NSO with your specific major. I met another girl from my hospitality major, and by the end of NSO we became really good friends!
  5. If your parents are going, (a good handful of parents do, but also a bunch don’t so don’t worry either way) you will hardly see them during NSO. After you check in and get room assignments they will go check in somewhere different and have their own schedules to follow. I didn't see my mom until checkout the following day. She said she had a lot of fun and learned a lot of good information, so its worth going!
  6. Eat breakfast that morning. It’s listed that there's a continental breakfast, but I’m assuming this is only if you’re one of the earliest to check in. I consider myself middle of the pack in terms of when I got there, and after dropping off my stuff in the dorm we were taken directly to the welcoming ceremony. Luckily, I ate beforehand, but some people around me did not and didn’t have the chance to get food until lunchtime.
  7. Know your SPIRE log in!!!! You’ll need it when advising and picking classes!! I forgot my SPIRE password (my computer auto saves mine), and the only way to reset it is by knowing the last four digits of your social security number, which I also did not know. I was able to get it from the Registrar, but it was a huge hassle and kind of embarrassing, so don't do what I did!
  8. At NSO you pick your classes! They’ll have a sheet to give you with all of your required classes for the four years, and recommend your classes for the fall! It’s really well organized and should go very smoothly, so don’t panic! Make sure to mention if you already know you want to double major or minor, for this can affect your fall classes.
  9. You WILL make friends! Unless you are actively trying to avoid this. While a handful of people from my high school are going to UMass, I was the only one from there at this NSO. You’ll find that everyone's in the same boat as you, and most people will also be looking for friends and trying to reach out. I met some really nice people and have already made friends, not only with my major but from other majors as well. Now I’ll be able to go into the fall with some already established connections.
  10. Even after spending one night in the dorms I felt like I got a small taste of what dorming in the fall will be like. Some but not all decide to shower, since it’s only a two-day orientation. If you decide to shower, bring flip-flops to walk around in.
  11. During the entire stay, we ate in the Franklin Dining Commons every day, and by the end of the second day I felt adjusted to Franklin. There is both softserve and hard ice cream, which was a big hit. Use the bathrooms when you’re at the dining, halls for these are your most easily accessible bathrooms.
  12. Don’t stress and have fun! Not all of NSO is filled with fun, for there is waiting around, and the nitty gritty info you have to get through, but there is a lot going on and you’ll gain a lot of helpful information.

For me, getting to spend a night in the dorm and making connections made me feel better about rooming and finding friends in the fall. Remember everyone else is in the same situation as you and probably feeling just as excited, worried, anxious, etc. as you are!


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