UMass Boston

Academic & Career Engagement & Success Center

Start on Track


New Student Orientation is designed to make your first steps at UMass Boston as smooth as possible so you can start on track and stay on track. Whether you are an incoming first-year or transfer student, orientation will help you to transition into the UMass Boston campus life. You will be introduced to academic and social opportunities, learn about degree requirements and register for your first semester of courses. 

How to get the most out of studying.

Develop effective study strategies. See the video series, 'How to get the most out of studying" and the Toolbox for success tips. 

Utilize good time management and know important deadlines.

Know the University's important dates and deadlines

Use a planner to organize all your academic and personal obligations. 

Spread out your classes throughout the entire week and avoid condensing them to just two or three days a week as this can lead to stress and a time crunch. See our class schedule worksheet.  

Select classes at times when you feel most alert. 

Dedicate two to three hours of studying for every hour spent in class.

If you're attending classes full-time, limit your work hours to less than 20 hours a week. 

Struggle with procrastination?

If you find yourself easily distracted, use the Pomodoro Technique to focus on your activities and achieve your goals. 

Another resource is this time management calculator

Top 10 tips when contacting a professor.

  1. Check your course syllabi for the professor’s preferred contact information (email may or may not be his or her preference).
  2. If you call or send an email, identify yourself with your full name, the course and section number, your student ID number, and additional contact information.  For email, always use your UMass Boston email account (see “Sample Emails” Be sure to forward your school email to your personal account. 
  3. If you are emailing, include a clear subject line  (ex.: PSY 100: Question about Data Collection  for Project).
  4. Refer to your professor respectfully (ex.: “Dear Professor Brown” or “Hi Ms. Brown”).
  5. Make sure that your tone is polite, especially in an email, as it can easily be misinterpreted. Don’t use text messaging abbreviations or slang. 
  6. Make sure that your tone is polite, especially in an email, as it can easily be misinterpreted. Don’t use text messaging abbreviations or slang. 
  7. Proofread your email and make sure to finish it respectfully with an appropriate closing (e.g., “Sincerely” or “Thank you”). After the professor has responded to your email, be sure to thank him or her and, if necessary, ask questions that may help clarify what was said in the first email. If you were given advice or instructions, follow up once you have done what the professor asked. Faculty and professionals like to mentor students, and they appreciate getting status updates. 
  8. If you’ll be meeting in person or conversing by phone, prepare your questions in advance. and take good notes during the meeting.
  9. Do not assume you can submit assignments as email attachments unless your professor has indicated that it is an acceptable method of submission. 
  10. Be patient while you wait for a response. Faculty and staff are generally available during office hours, and professors may only be available during the semester. They may not be checking their email at night, on weekends, or during holidays.

Reach your full academic potential: Know yourself. Set high goals. Discover your strengths.

Work hard, set high goals and strive to reach your full academic potential. Check your course syllabi to see how your final grade is calculated based on class expectations such as attendance, participation, exams, quizzes, and homework. Also use the GPA Calculator to estimate your semester and cumulative GPA. Work with your advisor to discover your strengths and figure out how to apply them to your personal, educational, and career endeavors. Get started by taking the Clifton Strengths Assessment and using this Toolbox_class_schedule_worksheet.pdf

Successful students seek help.

Find the right major for you.

Make a well informed decision about your major and select one that you truly enjoy. If you're undecided, know that you are encouraged to do so by 60 credits.

You're not alone in this process - work with your professors, your academic advisor, and a career specialist for help. Learn more by reading the Exploring Majors webpage.

You're not alone - new friends are waiting for you.

Reach out and make friends.  Learn about our clubs and organizations.

Tips to help new students transition from high school to college.