One of the many attractions of going to UMass is that students have the opportunity to take part in the Five College Interchange. Anyone can take a class at Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, or Smith College, all very prestigious schools.
I have found that many UMass students don’t take advantage of this opportunity unless they are pursuing a major, minor, or certificate that requires a class within the interchange. It isn’t as convenient to take a class at a different school because you have to factor in extra time for travel and the class times might line up differently in your schedule, but it is an experience students should try to have. The bus system makes it easy to travel to and from the different campuses, or you can drive in less than 20 minutes. Think about it: that could be the same amount of time it would take to walk to one of your classes here.
Some general classes are offered at multiple schools, but others are only at one school, such as specific languages. If you have been looking for a class at UMass and it is not offered, there is a good chance you can find something that interests you at one of the other four colleges.
Aside from the intriguing subjects offered, you have the opportunity to meet many new people. There are different types of students at the other schools with diverse interests and backgrounds. They choose to attend a small school, so they might even have different learning styles or aspirations. Even with these differences, we all live in the same area. Each of these students live close to Amherst, if not in Amherst. It’s another opportunity to network or just make a friend.
With class registration coming up, it is important that you plan ahead if you do want to take a five-college class because this registration is a bit different and often earlier than UMass registration. There are explicit instructions on the UMass website on how to register, but if you want to talk to someone in person, it is easy to visit the office in room 614 of Goodell – just walk right up the stairs when you enter the building on the fifth floor!
Good luck with registration, Collegiettes!