About New Students
About Parents, Family and Friends

 About New Students:

  How will orientation be impacted by the coronavirus/COVID-19?

To best meet the needs of our incoming students while still maintaining recommended social distancing practices, we are replacing the in person orientation sessions with an orientation model that combines remote academic advising & course registration, an expanded online orientation course, and transition programmingThe safety of our students, staff, and campus community are our highest priority and we appreciate your patience as our plans evolve to meet this need in new and creative ways. For up-to-date information on the university’s response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 please monitor umass.edu/coronavirus

  When is orientation?

Orientation always takes place before your first semester as a UMass Amherst student.

Spring 2021 Admits: You'll participate in an online orientation course. After you register for orientation, and the materials are ready, you'll receive an email about accessing your online orientation course. 

Fall 2021 Admits: Information about your orientation will be available in the spring. 

  What is an Advising & Registration block?

An Advising & Registration block is the timeframe during which your academic advising appointment will take place. This is also the period when you'll have access to register for courses in SPIRE. Starting in late December, your advising center will email you at your UMass email address inviting you to schedule your specific advising appointment. You won't need to be online during your entire Advising & Registration block; however, you should save those dates, until you make your advising appointment.

  When can I register for Orientation & my Advising & Registration block?

 Spring 2021 Admits: Registration for Orientation is now open. Please register by December 18, 2020. 

 Fall 2021 Admits: Registration begins later in the spring, usually in April.

Once the registration site opens, you'll be eligible to register for orientation within two business days of your non-refundable enrollment deposit being recorded as received in SPIRE. Visit the Register for Orientation page for more details.

  I'm receiving an error message (i.e. invalid response) when I try to visit the login page for the orientation reservation system.

There may be a few reasons for this. 

First, the registration site might not be open yet.  Registration for students starting in the spring semester opens in November. Registration for students starting in the fall semester usually begins in April.

Second, you'll need make sure your Net ID and password are correct. They should be the same as the ones you use for SPIRE. You can use the password and Net ID help link on the SPIRE log in page if you are having trouble.

Third, your enrollment deposit needs to posted as received on your Admitted Student Center in SPIRE. It may take up to two business days from the time your deposit posts until you are eligible to log in to the NSO registration system.

Email newstudent@umass.edu  if you still are having trouble logging in and we can give you a hand.

I registered for orientation, but my SPIRE account still lists NSO as a To Do Item. How can I clear it?

NSO To Do items are updated once a week. If you registered for orientation more than two weeks ago and your To Do is still listed in SPIRE, please email us, so that we can assist you.

 Do I have to complete orientation?

Orientation is required for all new students and it is the necessary first step in preparing you for your first semester with UMass Amherst. 

  I am an International Student. What do I need to do in addition to registering for orientation?

Orientation for international students is a two-part process. Be sure to read our information for international students and reference the Admitted International Student page for specific to dos for international students.

  I'm thinking about changing my major. How will this impact my time at orientation?

Because academic advising and course registration are significant components of your orientation, changing your major has a serious impact on your orientation experience and how we prepare your materials. 

If you do want to change your major before advising, you can send an email to the Admissions Office requesting your change of major.  If you are requesting a competitive or closed major, you may have to satisfy certain academic requirements before you can change to your desired major. In order to allow adequate processing time, change of major requests must be submitted prior to April 1 for students entering in the fall and by December 1 for students entering in the spring.

If you miss the change of major deadline, you will need to make an advising appointment for the major or exploratory track in which you are currently registered. During advising, you can discuss a change of major with your academic advisor. Change of major requests may not be processed during advising if they necessitate a change between colleges or if the new major is competitive/requires an application.

  What placement exams are offered?

There are 3 kinds of online placement exams: the Math Placement Exam, the Foreign Language Placement Exam, and the Writing Placement Exam. Refer to the placement exam page for details on who takes the tests, when the deadlines are, etc.

  How will my AP or previous college/university coursework transfer?

Visit the Transfer Credit page for more information. If you have earned previous college credit either through coursework or testing, be sure to tell your advisor.

  When may I review my transfer credit evaluation?

You can view credits that have transferred on SPIRE under Main Menu>Academics>Transfer Credit. Classes or tests that were recently taken may not appear on SPIRE right away.

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 About Parents, Family and Friends: 

Since my orientation will be done online, will there be orientation sessions for family members?

Yes! Family support is an important factor in student success. To help navigate university resources, families will be invited to view orientation related materials online.  They will also have an opportinuty to meet with university departments remotely for a question/answer session.

  How will my family participate in orientation?

All orientation materials will be available online. Families will receive instructions via email on how to access materials and what their next steps are.

  Is there a cost for online orientation for family members?

No! Online orientation is free of charge to all parents, families, friends, and caregivers.

  When will orientation materials be avaible for family members?

Orientation materials will be available in January.

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