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Advice for the UMass Class of 2024

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Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Massachusetts, class of 2024! You are about to experience four amazing years at UMass Amherst. Entering freshman year of college is an exciting time- it's the beginning of an incredible academic and professional journey. If you're feeling a little nervous to enter college, that's okay! Many incoming freshmen share the same concerns when entering college. I shared these concerns with current students who want to reassure you that choosing UMass was a great decision. 

Hear what they had to say:

College is stressful, and I don't know if I made the right decision. How do I know I'm smart enough to do this?

"First off, you have earned your place at UMass Amherst because of your outstanding academic achievements so far. There may be times when the academic workload will seem challenging, but with the wealth of academic support and resources offered by the university, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome. You can absolutely do this!  Secondly, I remember making my decision about college and being unsure as well. That uncertainty vanished once I started becoming a part of different subcommunities across campus. I met some of my greatest friends through my first-year Residential Academic Program; attended club meetings where I met classmates with similar academic and professional goals as myself; and became a tour guide. Now I feel like I’m in a family with some of the most inspiring and supportive people I know. There are hundreds of these subcommunities across campus, all of which are supported by phenomenal UMass faculty members. These people will make you feel immensely supported when you question if you can do this... and will be the same people that confirm that you made the right decision about college!"

- Peter Wajda (Marketing and Sport Management, Class of 2022).

    I'm concerned I don't have the background from high school to really excel in my major...

    “That is a very common belief many students have coming into college. You have already passed the first step, however, getting accepted! That being said, college is a lot different than high school, and some classes may be challenging, but there are many resources that Umass Amherst offers if you feel like you are struggling. Some of the resources you can take advantage of are office hours, study groups, SI sessions (supplemental instruction taught by a student who did well in the class), tutors ( available in the Learning Resource Center on the 10th floor of the library), and many more! Given that college typically only has a few classes per day compared to the strict day-to-day schedule of high school, there is a lot more time in the day to study and work on homework. Remember, you're not supposed to know everything about your major when coming to college, that's what all the prerequisite classes are for. Study hard and get help when it is needed and you will excel!”

    - Jennifer Kovarik (Nursing, Class of 2023)

      Are people at UMass Amherst accepting? Will I fit in?

      “Coming into UMass Amherst as a transfer student I was a little nervous about not fitting in. Not many students transfer after the first semester freshman year, so I wasn’t sure how it would be to meet people and make friends. I lived in MacNamara Hall, which was an all-transfer dorm. Everyone on my floor was a transfer student, so they were in the same boat as I was. Everyone in my classes was very welcoming, and from the first week I did not feel like a transfer student. Sophomore year I decided to apply for a job as a tour guide and it was the best decision I have made in college, besides transferring to UMass Amherst. The tour guides are a very diverse group of people of different ages, interests, and majors. Since UMass Amerst is such a large school, there is truly something for everyone. Whether it is one of the bigger clubs like the Outing Club, or Ski and Board, or a smaller club, anyone can find a group of people with similar interests as them.”

      - Philip Baird (Mathematics)

        How can I make friends at UMass Amherst?

        “UMass Amherst is a university filled with opportunities. Whether it is through academics, extracurricular activities, or jobs, there are so many ways for students to branch out to meet new people and make friends. The first way is through new students orientation, where you can meet new incoming students who are in the same boat as you. Just a simple ‘hi’ to a fellow student can create a bond that can last throughout your duration at UMass Amherst. Another great way to make friends is through extracurricular activities. We have over 300+ registered student organizations (RSOs) that students can participate in their free time. RSOs are a reminder of the eclectic members of this campus and how they brighten up our university through service, diversity, performance, and so much more! Lastly, another way you can make friends here is through academics. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bonded with other students in my classes and tutoring sessions just by a quick remark like ‘I don’t know what’s going on’. Seriously. Making friends here is as simple as voicing your confusion on a topic. As much as we want to have everything together all the time, we are all bound to be confused by something; and someone agreeing with you can ultimately lead to friendship. Show your humanity, show your kindness, and show yourself to this campus, because regardless of the number of students there are here, you can and will be seen at UMass Amherst."

        - Deborah Boateng (Public Health Sciences, Class of 2021)

          Where should I live at UMass Amherst? Should I live in a Residential Academic Program (RAP)?

          "There are five different residential areas where freshman students can live when they come onto campus. There is Northeast, Southwest, Orchard Hill, Central, and Honors College Residential Area. Each area has its own different community and residential vibe. Freshman students are placed in freshman-only buildings, which is really nice because you are in a building with all other people going through this same transition period with you! You pick your residential area by filling out a form ranking them from your top choice to your last choice, and then the university will try to sort you into one of your top three choices. As far as living in a RAP, I highly recommend doing so! RAPS can be academically-based (so pertaining to your major), or they can be interest-based! This is a great way to make a big school feel small, because you are building a community of people you take a class with, and also live with. These classmates become study partners, and then eventually friends! There are so many RAPS to choose from that there is bound to be one that interests you, or fits your needs! I highly recommend them!"

          - Maria Jaca Baca (Marketing, Class of 2021)

            By attending UMass Amherst, will I be able to find the jobs or internships I want?

            “As a junior at UMass, I can say that I definitely feel prepared to find the jobs or internships that I want. I have had nothing but amazing experiences with the career and professional development staff in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (which my major falls under), because they have truly gone above and beyond in supporting me. I think it is extremely beneficial that we have special career advisors within each college to tailor your professional development to your field of interest. There are also so many seminars offered on professionalism that can help push you to start working on your resume, interview skills, and professional development. 

            The alumni network is incredible and expansive as well! Through a program called UMass Women into Leadership (UWiL), I was connected with an alumni mentor who helped me with my professional skills, attended networking events, and really saw firsthand that alumni really want to help see you succeed. I was also fortunate to intern in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill last summer through the SBS in DC program, where the college paid for my housing, I lived with other UMass Amherst students, and I was able to connect with a network of alumni exactly in my fields of interest. I could not have pictured myself being a congressional intern without the support of my advisors, my peers, and alumni in the area. If you are proactive when it comes to working on your professionalism, then you will be able to secure the jobs and internships you want while in college!”

            - Farah Sabir (Political Science and Arabic minor, Class of 2021)

              Are there any benefits to joining clubs or playing sports at UMass Amherst?

              “There are tons of benefits to joining a club or sports team! For starters, it is a great way to meet some people with similar interests as you, so it's a great way to start building connections and friendships in a new place. Also, since there are so many clubs and sports at UMass, you may even try one you had never considered before so that you can find a totally new interest! It's also important to remember that just because you will be living at school doesn't mean that you are just a student. You're a person with a social life and hobbies, and you need free time to unwind and step away from academics from time to time. It can spice up your week, and really enhance your college experience!”

              - Lucas Ghilardi (Natural Resources Conservation, Class of 2021) 

                What general education classes are good ones to pick?

                “One of the great things about UMass Amherst’s general education courses is that there is such a variety to choose from. For every requirement, there are a multitude of options so you can decide on a class that interests you. Every class I have taken so far at UMass Amherst has been wonderful, but some of my absolute favorites have been Greek Mythology, which fulfilled my literature requirement, and Plagues: The Ecology of Disease, which fulfilled my biological science requirement. Gone are the days when you would have to take classic literature or simple introductory biology, with no other options. My biggest recommendation is choosing classes that interest you, and you will be motivated to learn!”

                - Marie McCormick (Operations & Information Management and Public Health Sciences, Class of 2023)

                  Why will I love UMass Amherst?

                  “You will love UMass Amherst because this amazing place will allow you to venture out of your comfort zone and become the best version of yourself. You are going to learn and immerse yourself in a welcoming culture of school spirit, family and community. You are going to have the opportunity to utilize thousands of resources and opportunities this university has to offer. UMass Amherst will become your home away from home that will allow you to embark on a magnificent journey of growth and education.”

                  - LaLa Robinson (Microbiology, Class of 2021)


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