Student FAQs
Parents, Family and Friends FAQs

 Student FAQs:

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

For up-to-date information on the university’s response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 please monitor umass.edu/coronavirus The 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. To best meet the needs of our incoming students while still maintaining recommended social distancing practices, orientation programming will be conducted online. This year's program combines a new online resource guide, online connections with orientation leaders, remote academic advising & course registration during the summer and expanded transition programming as students arrive at the start of the semester. Bookmark umass.edu/fall for news and updates about the Fall 2021 semester. 

  I was admitted for Fall 2020 and withdrew because of the pandemic. Am I a new student?

Students admitted for Fall 2020 who withdrew and applied to re-enroll for Fall 2021 are considered returning rather than new students for university processes including housing selection and course registration. If you were admitted to UMass Amherst in Fall 2020 but never attended and are now re-enrolling for Fall 2021, this information applies to you:

  • You do not need to repeat the informational online orientation you participated in last summer. Instead, you and your classmates will fully participate in the Fall Welcome programming offered at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester. 
  • More information for re-enrolling students is available through the University Registrar

  When are the orientation & transition programs?

Orientation & transition programs span several months from when you submit your enrollment deposit through the first 40 Days of the semester. Students admitted to UMass Amherst for Fall 2021 will have programs to complete in from June - September. 

  When is new student advising?

Students admitted for Fall 2021 will participate Your UMass Advising Appointment in June or July. When you register for orientation you will select an Adivsing Prep Deadline and commit to completing your advising preparation tasks and placement exams by that date. Based on the Advising Prep Deadline, you'll be invited to make an advising appointment during a designated week. 

  When can I select my Meet Your UMass Community meeting and Advising Prep Deadline?

 Fall 2021 Admits: Registration is scheduled to open during the first week of May.

  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.  Registration for students starting in the spring semester opens in November. Registration for students starting in the fall semester usually begins in May.
  • 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. If you are able to log in to SPIRE, but not the reservation system, please follow these instructions to reset your password. If you are not able to log in to SPIRE, please use the Password & NetID Help link below the password box on the SPIRE login page.  .
  • 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 & advising, 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 & advising  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?

Your orientation & transition programs are required for all new students. Together they are the necessary first steps 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?

International students have several components to complete. 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 orientation and advising?

New students are assigned an academc advisor based on the major or exploratory track to which they were admitted. Because academic advising and course registration are significant components of your orientation, changing your major has a serious impact on how we organize advising appointments and 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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 Parents, Family and Friends FAQs: 

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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