Life on Campus

Orientation FAQs

We know that as new students you have lots of questions about attending orientation, signing up for classes and become a UMass Boston student. We have taken the time to address some of the most frequently asked questions on this page. We request that before you give us a call or email us, take a few minutes browse through our list of FAQs. If you still have questions or need further clarification, then please feel free to call us!

Do I have to go to Beacon Beginnings Orientation?

  • Yes. Attendance at the Beacon Beginnings Orientation programs is MANDATORY for all first-year freshman and transfer students. The program is designed to ease the transition to the UMass Boston community. At Beacon Beginnings, students will learn about vital campus resources as well as  the opportunities available that supplement and enhance educational experience.  At Beacon Beginnings, you will make connections to many of the services and people, including fellow students, who can make your experience at UMass a wonderful one.  Attendance at Beacon Beginnings is also a key step in ensuring the successful registration for classes, students who do not attend will not be able to register for classes.

Do I have to sign up for orientation ahead of time, or can I just show up?

  • Beacon Beginnings does NOT accept "walk-ins" on the day of orientation. All students must reserve a space online ahead of time to ensure that we have all your materials ready for you when your arrive and adequate space. You may sign up online and choose a date by clicking the Sign Up button on the left when the reservation system opens. 

How do I sign up for Beacon Beginnings? Can you just sign me up?

  • Students can register for Beacon Beginnings through our online reservation system. You will need your UMS ID number, which is provided on your official acceptance letter from the university. It is also important that your full name matches the name you provided on your original application to the university. If you are having any problems with your registration, then please contact our office.

What if I need special accommodations for my Beacon Beginnings Orientation?

  • Any students requiring special accommodations (including dietary, mobility, sight, hearing, language, religious or other) should indicate as such on their online reservation system. Please be as detailed as possible in your request. A representative from our office will contact you prior to your scheduled orientation to confirm your accommdations. 
  • If you have a documented disability and need special academic accommodations for Assessment Testing, please contact the Ross Center for Disability Services at (617) 287-7430 or ross.center@umb.edu.


I only see dates for the next month, but I’m going to be away! Will there be any other Orientations?

  • Absolutely. Freshman orientations take place in June and July, but we do have some limited options available in August. Contact our office and we can place into maek up session or discuss other options for you.
  • Transfer sessions occur throughout June, July and August.
  • We encourage all students to attend the earliest date possible. This ensures that you will have maximum class selections, as many classes fill up the closer it gets to the start of the semester. This will also give you time to see if there are any issues that need to be worked out before the semester begins. If you would like to know all the available dates for Beacon Beginnings, please contact our office and we will be happy to give them to you.

What if none of the available dates work for me?

  • We do our best to offer several programs in order to accommodate our busy student population. Please understand that this program requires a full day time commitment for both freshman and transfer students. FOr transfer students, we may have a limited number of seats in an evening sessions, but you must contact our office for more information. Many students may have to arrange their schedules accordingly. If the listed session dates/times still do not work with your schedule, please contact our office and we will do our best to assist you.
  • For students who may need to request time off from work to attend Beacon Beginnings, we are happy to provide verification to employers. Just ask our staff when you check in for the day. Please be sure to remind employers that beginning your journey at UMass Boston is an important investment in your future, and Beacon Beginnings is a key first step!


Can I just meet with an advisor on my own time?

  • All new first-year freshman and transfer students MUST attend a Beacon Beginnings session in order to register for classes.  At the program, students will meet with advisors from their colleges who will offer guidance about course registration and students will leave the program with a schedule for the upcoming semester.
  • Students will NOT be able to see any academic advisor on campus or register for classes on their own until they have attended the Beacon Beginnings program in its entirety. Once students have attended Beacon Beginnings, they are able to schedule an individual appointment with their academic advisor to discuss their courses and academic plans in more detail.


Can my mom/dad/sibling/friend/significant other/child stay with me during Beacon Beginnings?

  • If you are attending a Transfer Student Orientation, the program is designed for the transfer student to attend without family members or guests. 
  • If you are a first-year, freshman student, there is a separate program for family members and guardians which runs concurrently with the first day of Freshman Orientation. The program involves a lot of information sharing, so it is not interesting to most young family members. Students can make a reservation for up to two family members when they choose their orientation date through the online registration system.

Are all freshmen required to take the New Student Assessment tests?

  • Yes. New Student Assessment is mandatory for incoming first-year freshmen students. Assessment testing consists of a writing assessment and a math placement test. 
  • Math placement will now be completed online by all new students using ALEKS PPL, the online math placement tool. You can complete the ALEKS assessment by logging in to your WISER account. Instructions for accessing ALEKS math placement, click here
  • You can also complete the Writing Assessment online by logging in to your WISER account. For instructions on accessing the Writing Assessment and more information on the assessment, click here.
  • You can find more information about setting up your WISER account for the first time here. If you need further assistance with your WISER account, contact the IT Service Desk by phone 617-287-5220, email, or visit the IT Service Desk in the Healey Library, 3rd floor.


I am a transfer student, do I need to complete any placement exams before Orientation?

  • If you are a transfer student bringing in credit for ENG101, you are not required to take the writing assessment.  We encourage you to sign up if you would like our faculty to evaluate your readiness to complete the Writing Proficiency requirement (WPR) of your college as well as placement in a Critical Reading and Writing course. Click here for more information on the Writing assessment.
  • Most transfer students will need to complete the Math placement BEFORE attending orientation. Math placement will now be completed ONLINE by all new students using ALEKS, the online math placement tool. For more information on setting up your WISER account, click here.

I’ve reserved a spot at Beacon Beginnings. What should I do now?

  • Set up your UMB WISER account. Your logon information should be emailed to you shortly after you have paid your New Student Deposit.
  • Complete all necessary assessments (either  ALEKS, the online math placement or online Writing Assessment). You should complete these assessments AT LEAST two weeks prior to your scheduled orientation.
  • Submit transcripts from your previous institution to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
  • Turn in all mandatory Health Immunization forms to Health Services.
  • Look into options for housing, roommates, parking and transportation to campus
  • Become a fan of our Facebook page to meet our Orientation staff and connect with students who will be at your Orientation or in class with you in the fall!

What should I bring with me to Beacon Beginnings Orientation?

  • Please bring a valid form of photo identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.) in order to get your UMass Boston ID.
  • Bring any important paperwork (such as transcripts, health immunization forms) that you may need to take care of at orientation.
  • Appropriate dress. In the summer, the buildings on campus may be very cool so we recommend that you bring layers.
  • Other than that, just bring lots of energy! We are excited to have you come and have a lot planned, so we hope you can bring some excitement along as well.

I already made a reservation online, but I need to switch my date. What should I do?

  • All you will need to do is go to the “Sign Up” page and click the link you did when you first registered for Orientation. Sign in with the same login information and you will be able to go through the steps until you reach the page with the available Orientation sessions. Once you’ve made the change, confirm it and click “Save & exit,” and your reservation has been changed!

I can only come for part of the orientation day. What if I need to leave early/come late?

  • Attendance at Beacon Beginnings is mandatory for ALL first-year and transfer students. While we certainly understand that attending an orientation session is a time-commitment, the information provided during the Beacon Beginnings Orientation eases the transition to UMass Boston and is absolutely essential.  Please make plans to attend the program in it's entirety and come prepared and with an open mind – we feel confident that you will enjoy your time with us!
  • We understand that many of our students work full time or have other family commitments. If you absolutely cannot attend the entire day, or an emergency comes up then please contact our office immediately and we will work with you to reschedule your session for a day that works better with your schedule. Note: Students who miss portions of the day may be required to attend another session to ensure that they have received all the important information for new students and class registration.

I am the parent/legal guardian of a student and I want information about my child’s Orientation. Can you provide it for me?

  • Due to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) there is limited information that we can provide to anyone other than the student. We can provide general information about what the students will be doing at orientation, but federal law prohibits university employees from disclosing any personal student information.