Top 5 – Tips for UMass freshmen

By Molly Keegan


With classes starting this week, it’s time to finally put orientation behind you and dive into the real world of UMass Amherst. Freshman year is a huge transition, but there are lots of ways to make the change easier. Here are some honest tips from a recent UMass freshman:

1) Don’t be afraid of add/drop.

There are a lot of reasons why adding/dropping a class can be annoying. Maybe you already bought the textbook, or you don’t want to catch up in another course. But dealing with a little difficulty at the beginning of the semester is much better than having to suffer through an entire semester of a class you hate.

2) Go to class.

As a freshman in college, you will generally have more free time than ever before. Going to class doesn’t take up that much of this time, and it saves you from cramming later on. If you go to class and take good notes, it’s easy to pass any class you take freshman year. It’s okay to skip every once in a while, but you won’t ever regret going to class. (Lots of big lecture classes take attendance too- and attendance points are easy grade boosters!)

3) Get involved. Seriously.

You have probably been told this a million times by now, but its the best thing that you can do during your freshman year. UMass has over 200 RSOs (registered student organizations) so you have the opportunity to explore interests that you couldn’t in high school. My high school didn’t have a newspaper, so I made sure to get involved with the Daily Collegian. You can learn a lot by trying new things and meet people that share your interests.

4) Get to know your professors.

I was told all the time to go to office hours my freshman year and for the most part, I ignored this advice. It was daunting to consider having a one-on-one conversation with this person who knew so much more than I did about what I was learning. But ultimately, going to office hours saved me from getting an entire letter grade deducted on a term paper. I submitted a paper late because of computer issues and if my professor hadn’t known me from office hours, she wouldn’t have been so willing to help me out. Instead, she was very understanding and I received an A on the paper. Establishing a relationship with your professors can be incredibly helpful and isn’t as scary as it seems!

5) Have fun!

It sounds like a broad piece of advice, but it’s important to take a break from studying and have a good time. Enjoy Amherst. Make new friends. Go to football, hockey, or basketball games. Play an intramural sport. Watch a movie with your new friends. Order wings. Just enjoy your freedom. Freshman year should be fun, just don’t go too crazy.

You might have already heard this advice countless times, but it can be hard to follow during the first few weeks of freshman year. But if you do, you’ll be glad you did, and freshman year will fly by. Good luck Class of 2016!

Molly Keegan cam be reached at [email protected]