How the pandemic gave us hands-on learning opportunities

Pre-pandemic, Chemistry professor Matthew Gage’s day-to-day life focused on teaching chemistry and running student labs focused on course material. His research was primarily dedicated to bacteria, proteins and fungi, not viruses. That all changed in 2020.

Professor Gage’s expertise in laboratory sciences made him the perfect person to head up an on-site COVID-19 testing and surveillance laboratory. Since last fall, he has been working alongside a handful of students to ensure the campus infection rate is monitored and controlled. Their work is one of the main reasons why UMass Lowell’s positivity rate continues to be low.

The best part? The students in the lab are getting a truly enhanced and critical hands-on-learning experience. By turning the unexpected into an opportunity, they embody what it means to be a River Hawk. And you can, too. We’re here to give you the tools and support you need to tackle the unexpected. We’ll guide you every step of the way as you make strides to a brighter future beyond this pandemic.

Check this out: 275 clubs and counting: Here’s where you can find them

What does the switch to rolling admissions mean for you?

It’s been a challenging year, and you shouldn’t be penalized for needing more time to think about your next steps. That’s why, for students applying for fall 2021, we’ve shifted to rolling admissions for all of our majors (except nursing). With everything going on in the world, we want you to know it’s ok if you need a little more time.

To help you better understand what this means for you, I sat down with Ed Seero, my colleague from Admissions, to lay out all the things the Office of Admissions wanted you to know.

Q: Why did UMass Lowell make this shift to rolling admissions?

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A month of virtual events just for you: Destination UML

There’s so much we want to share with you to help you discover UMass Lowell—too much for one blog post. That’s why from March 22 – April 23, the academic colleges and campus life departments are coming together to give you a glimpse at life at UMass Lowell.

What is Destination UML?

Destination UML is a monthlong discovery event that’s the perfect way to explore what life will be like for you as a UMass Lowell student. We’re filling the calendar with virtual events, sessions, clubs, labs and more. You’ll be able to join in and choose what you discover.

Take a sneak peek at Destination UML

Here’s a quick look at some of the things we’re offering. The calendar is packed—and more offerings are continually being added.

You’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in club sessions
  • Attend seminars with current students
  • Explore career opportunities and what you can do with your degree
  • Meet current students in your academic college and major
  • Sit in on lab demonstrations and clinical simulations
  • Explore your major and academic college
  • Join a campus recreation fitness class
  • Attend series that will help you transition to college and set you up for success

Take some time to explore your options for yourself. We can’t wait to see you there!

Check this out: Are you ready for college?

Are you ready for college?

Ever since the world at large began social distancing and locking down, we’ve been working hard to understand how the pandemic impacted your high school experience. And we realized something.

We’re hearing that many high school students, like you, feel less prepared for college because of their remote and hybrid learning situations. And it’s no wonder—it’s been a tumultuous year. This is no one’s fault—not yours, not your teachers’ and not your counselors’. Missing out on in-person interactions in classrooms, hallways and during breaks is challenging. We know you and your teachers are working hard.

We hear your concerns, and we want you to know that our faculty and staff are working hard to find ways to support you and help bridge the gaps in your education.

It’s not just on you to catch yourself up. It’s on us, too. We’re acknowledging that there may be gaps in your education because of the pandemic. We are committed to making sure that you and your fellow students feel supported and able to understand your UMass Lowell coursework fully once you enroll.  The state of the world is beyond your control—we know this and it’s not your fault if you are a little behind academically.  We will help you get caught up.

We’ll say it again for the people in the back: It’s not your responsibility to cram hundreds of hours’ worth of studying and worry about this unnecessarily. It’s on the UMass Lowell admins, faculty and staff to create environments and supports that help you bridge these gaps.

How we’ll support you

Pandemic or not, our faculty and academic support staff are here for you from day one through graduation day. Here are some ways we’ll help you once you’re enrolled at the university:

  • The Launch! Summer Program lets students ease into college courses and build confidence in the classroom
  • The Centers for Learning, Advising and Student Success offers academic advising and tutoring for students worried about falling behind
  • All students are assigned a faculty and professional advisor—you’ll find support in your academics and your future aspirations

As always, we’re here to guide you on the next stage of your education. Have questions? We’re a quick email away.

Check this out: Let’s talk about test scores

How we’re dealing with stress in 2020 (with helpful tips)

dealing with stress in 2020 helpful tips

We know that application season is a stressful time of year for students, and that’s before we take the pandemic into account. If you’re struggling to find a bright side in all of this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the ways we’ve seen the River Hawk community come together to deal with stress. And, we want to share some resources to help you destress.

How we’re helping high school applicants this year:

Quick and easy ways to add self-care into your life:

Some ways our River Hawks are dealing with stress:

If you are feeling overwhelmed, know that we’re a quick email away. We’re always available if you have any questions or need assistance.

Happy First-Generation Celebration Day!

happy first-generation celebration day!

Every year, colleges and universities across the country celebrate the accomplishments of first-generation college students. If you’re the first person in your family to attend college, this day is to celebrate you.

This year, we’re celebrating in style!

Making college education accessible is top-of-mind here at UMass Lowell. We were proud to receive recognition as a First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution by the Center for First-Generation Student Success this past summer. And even though this honor reminds us of how far we’ve come, we know that there is still more to do and more voices to hear.

That’s why we’re constantly striving to develop supports and services to help students succeed.

Here are some more ways we’re supporting our first-generation students at UMass Lowell:

  • The River Hawk Scholars Academy promotes academic success and fosters active campus engagement for full-time, first-year students who identify as first-generation college students
  • UMass Lowell has a rich tradition of welcoming and supporting first-generation college students. A number of faculty and staff on campus were first-generation students themselves and advocate for their success
  • The Launch! Summer Program provides incoming first-year students with a choose your own adventure approach to transitioning to university life

That’s just a sampling of many ways we’re helping our students achieve their goals in college. You should know that we’re here to help you before you’re even admitted to UMass Lowell. Join us at our regular community discussions with high school students, Empower Hour: Supporting Access, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity. We cannot stress how much we want to help students succeed in college.

Check this out: What happens to your application after you click “submit”?

The 2020 election is just days away. Are you ready?

the 2020 presidential election is just days away. are you ready?

The 2020 Presidential Election is just days away, and many UMass Lowell students are casting their ballots for the first time. We want to ensure that they (and you, if you’re eligible to vote) go into the polling booths as informed voters. UMass Lowell is a leader in political polling, and we have a lot of experts on campus here to help voters navigate the voting process.

Here are some ways UMass Lowell students are preparing for the election:

  • They’re registering to attend a virtual discussion with our top political science professors, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney and UMass President Marty Meehan
  • They’re double checking resources we’ve shared on everything they need to help get through election day
  • They’re thinking about the issues and studying the polls about the upcoming election compiled by UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion

 UMass Lowell students are inquisitive and active participants in their community and country, and we’re proud to support them. We’re excited to support so many as they vote during this truly historic election.

Check this out: New UML presidential poll lets you choose: Death by meteor or status quo

What’s online learning really like?

what's online learning really like?

Like many colleges and universities, UMass Lowell converted most instruction this fall to online formats. We know that switching to online learning is a cause of concern for many, but we’ve also been leaders in online education for over 25 years – so we’ve had time to get pretty good at it.

As proof, I talked with Professor Keith Mitchell about how supports his online students.

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Let’s talk about test scores

Way back in 2015, UMass Lowell became the first public university in New England to offer a No Test Option for applicants. Lowering the barriers to education for students who have the ability to succeed in college is something we pride ourselves in. That’s why, this year, we’re also giving you the chance to self-report your SAT and ACT scores.

let's talk test scores at umass lowell

No Test Option

We know that test center closings and cancellations are a cause of concern. The good news is that we’ve offered a No Test Option to applicants for years. At this point, it’s a long established and totally acceptable way to apply to UMass Lowell. If you’re thinking of applying with the No Test Option, know that you can apply to all majors and you’re eligible for scholarships.

Learn more about the No Test Option.

Self-Reported Test Scores

Since you have a limited number of schools you can send test scores to free of charge, we want to remove the financial burden of sending your scores to us, too. You will only need to submit official test scores if you are admitted to UMass Lowell and choose to enroll.

Learn more about self-reporting your SAT and ACT scores.

Have questions?

We’re a quick email away and are happy to answer any questions you have!

Check this out: What happens to your application after you click “submit”?