How Do I? - Student Support Resources

Welcome! 

Do you have a question about how to do something at Westfield but you aren’t sure where to go for the answer?  This page is for you.  The advisors and directors in student support services have identified resources for solving many of the common problems that come up for students. Since you may not know where to start, we focus on the topic rather than the office providing the service.  Click on the topics below to see the problems and the solutions.   Please make sure to go to the Safe Fall Opening page to check on the status of the campus. 

And do check back later—different questions come up later in the term and we will have more answers. 

How do I know what is going on?  

Students have various resources for learning what is going on.  The official mode of communication for the University is through your Westfield State University email account. PLATO will hold many of your courses.  Turn on the notifications so that you get announcements and other information sent to your phone.  SAIL is the Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership program. Visit their website to see what is going on around campus.   


How do I find my A#? 

The A# is your University ID#.  Your A# or UWID# can be found in your degree audit also called degree evaluation, through MyWestfield.  It will be in the upper left hand corner of the degree audit.  


How do I “access the Portal” or “log in to MyWestfield?” 

MyWestfield is the “Portal.”  It is available through the front page of the WSU website. At the very top of the website (on most pages, actually) there is a section for Logins.  Click on MyWestfield and then enter your username and password when prompted.  The password is the same for your WSU email.  


How do I use “Plato”? 

On the PLATO website, there are many resources available for students to understand how to use the site and navigate the online parts of their classes, including two very important ones: “Students getting started” and “Steps to Log into PLATO.” If you are having difficulty with PLATO, you can submit your questions to their help desk with a ticket.  


What is “WSU360”? 

WSU360 is an online system designed to let you know how you are doing in class and connect you to support resources on campus. Please go to the WSU360 Student Guide to learn how to use it.  


What is a “degree audit”? 

Also known as the degree evaluation, this is a complete list of the degree requirements for your major and core requirements. It acts as a checklist, checking off the courses you have completed and the grades you have earned as well as what you have left to complete. It tells you you’re A#, who your advisor is and your GPA along with the number of credits you have, including whatever classes are in progress. This can be accessed through myWestfield


How do I reset my account password? 

For your WSU account, at the login page for MyWestfield, there is a prompt for you to follow to reset your password.  This is also available within MyWestfield. You will be sent a message within minutes about how to reset your password. For PLATO, there is also a “forgot your password?” link that you should follow and then fill in the correct information.  This will be responded to momentarily.  


How do I find out what College I am part of and who my College Dean is? 

Generally, your college dean is assigned to you based on you major.   View the Academic Affairs FAQ to learn about the Colleges.  New Exploratory students will be assigned a College when they meet with advising.  

Many more terms important to know in college can be found at the What does that mean? Understanding Key Terms in College webpage.  

How do I use Plato? How do I get help with Plato? 

The Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) has a website full of helpful tools to learn how to use PLATO resources including the General FAQs and the Student FAQs and a virtual help desk. Please submit a ticket for questions not answered by the FAQs.   Start by going to the Student Resources tab on the PLATO website.  

Feel free to contact CIT between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday to Friday if you need further assistance.  You can call at 413-572-8130, or email CIT.  


How do I know what day and time my class starts? How do I find my online class? 

If your class is in PLATO, you will receive an email from CIT notifying you on how to get started with the course.  If your class is on a different platform (i.e., Google Classroom), your professor will send the information to your email.  Please make sure that you are checking your Westfield State University email frequently.  

Students will be loaded into the Plato system the Friday before classes begin, including Winter and Summer sessions. Students will have access only to a 'Student Overview' Plato tutorial course. Students will then have access to their courses by 8 AM on the first day of classes. Please be aware that you will not see your course before this time. 

What happens if I miss the first class? 

Contact the instructor as soon as possible and be sure to attend the next class meeting.  The expectation is that all students in remote synchronous classes or in-person classes will attend class at the assigned times. Students who do not attend the first sessions of a class may be administratively removed from the class.  If you want to drop the class prior to the end of the drop-add period, you can do so through the Registration tab in MyWestfield.  Do not just stop attending the course.

 If you are in a fully online course, make sure to sign in and participate in the class so that the professor knows you are active.  


How do I view my schedule in the portal on MyWestfield?  

Log into MyWestfield and click on the Academics tab up top. In the Academics tab, on the righthand side, you will see a box for Academic Records.  In that box, click on Student Schedule.  That will tell you your course schedule for the semester.   


What other technology might I need to attend my classes?   

All students will need access to a device with access to the internet, a camera, microphone and audio to attend or complete their classes online. Some students might want headphones with a microphone attached for better sound quality. Your professors will tell you what software or apps you will need to access the class.   


How do I download Microsoft Office or other software for free? 

Westfield State University has many software licenses available for students to use including Microsoft Office and SPSS. Visit the Technology Support website and click on the big blue Software button on the right.  There you will find software available for students to download free.  


How do a talk to my instructor about not having my video on during class even if it is required?  

There are many personal reasons a student might need to have the camera off during class. Check your course syllabus to see if the professor has included a policy for the class. The expectation for most professors is likely that the camera be on during class for various purposes but especially so understanding and participation can be known by the professor.  Write to your professor explaining reasons why you might need to have the camera off or when you might need it off. If there is a medical or mental health reason you need it off, please contact Disability Services to discuss those reasons.  


How do I access my online classes if I don’t have my own computer or access to a camera, audio or a microphone in my computer? 

If you do not have the financial resources necessary to access your online classes, please reach out, as soon as possible, to an advisor, professor, college dean or advising. They may be able to help find resources for you. If you are using your phone to access classes and not a larger device, you should also reach out.   


How do I find a space to take a remote synchronous class?  

If you are on campus, there will be several study spaces available to you in the residence halls. Each space will be marked with its capacity limit –the number of people allowed in that space. During restricted access, the Library will be available by appointment only and during limited hours.  When campus reopens, there will be a list of study spaces available for you to use. 


How do I get help for computer related problems? 

Contact the Support Desk or call 413-572-HELP (4357). They should be able to either help you with your problem or direct you to the right office.  If it is a PLATO related issue, then submit a ticket through their help desk.  


How do I address concerns that I am having with a class? 

Your first point of contact is your professor. Professors will list office hours and how to access them on the syllabus for the class. Visit the Academics page and click on “Student Success” to learn about the various academic support programs and then reach out to the one that seems most appropriate for your concern.  The staff in that program would be happy to put you in the right direction.  

Advising is a time for students to talk with an academic advisor about questions regarding course schedules, course selection, and academic progress. Students should also talk with their academic advisor to explore and make plans for internships and research opportunities.  

Every student has a team of support – the academic advisor, department chair, college dean, and staff and peer advisors in the Academic Advising Center.   

How do I change my schedule by dropping or adding a course? 

Students add or drop classes through the Registration tab in MyWestfield.  First time First-Year students must work through the Registrar’s Office to add and drop classes.  Contact the Registrar’s Office by email or call 413-572-8261. You can also email Academic Advising for registration assistance. If you are sending an email include your complete A#. 

All students should consult with their academic advisor about how adding or dropping classes might affect their academic standing, progress towards completion of their major and towards graduation and financial aid requirements. 


When can I change my schedule by dropping or adding a course?  

Students may add or drop a class for Fall 2020 beginning August 27 and ending September 8, 2020 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.  


How do I find my advisor? 

Students can find out who their advisor is by going to their degree audit in MyWestfield.  It will be listed towards the top of the page towards the left.  You can click on the advisor’s name to start an email. If you are an Exploratory, First Year Criminal Justice major, on Academic Warning, or do not have an advisor listed on the degree audit, please make an appointment to visit the Office of Advising and Transfer Transitions. If you are in a major, you can contact the Academic Department of your major and ask. 

CGCE students who are unsure of their academic advisor should visit the CGCE Advising website and click on “Who Is My Advisor?


How do I receive advising if I am enrolled through the College of Graduate and Continuing Education (CGCE)? 

CGCE students are given a faculty advisor based upon their academic program. Advisor information is provided to students in their welcome letter, as well as on their Degree Evaluation (degree audit) in MyWestfield. It will be listed towards the top of the page towards the left.  You can click on the advisor’s name to start an email. A full list of advisors can be found online at the CGCE Advising webpage


How do I access my degree audit or degree evaluation? 

Students can access their degree audit through MyWestfield.  Click on the Academics tab and you should find it on that page.  If you have difficulty accessing the degree audit (you click on it and nothing happens or it just refuses access), make sure that you have allowed pop-ups.  Most just need to click on the lock icon in the url box at the top of the browser page.  Others might need to go into settings within their browser and allow the page.   


How and when should I contact my advisor?  

Students should contact their advisor whenever they want to register for courses, change courses or drop or withdraw from a course, declare a concentration or ask for advice on academics.  It is important and often required to receive advisor approval in order to check whether it is appropriate to drop or add a course and find out if there are implications to financial aid, or major and graduation requirements.   


How do I contact the Office of Advising during add/drop?  

Advising will be using a Zoom waiting room for walk-ins on September 2, 3, and 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Breakout rooms will be used to assist students, so stay in the waiting room until you are admitted in.  If you have not been sent the Zoom link, please email advising to request it.    CGCE students should contact the CGCE Main Office for assistance during add/drop. 


How do I register for classes or drop or add a class if I am part of CGCE?  

CGCE students register for courses through the MyWestfield portal. Students can log into MyWestfield with the first initial, last name and last 4 digits of their CWID (A#). Your initial password will be your CWID or current email password. After logging in, select the Registration tab and Select Registration Checklist item #3 (Add/Drop Classes). 

If you experience difficulty logging in, email the IT HELP Desk or call at 572-4357.  

Students unable to login or register online can email a member of the CGCE Registration Team with their registration form, including the course reference number (CRN) for the section they wish to register for. This number is printed next to the course number in the listings. Students with the last name beginning with A-M should email Celeste Washington. Students with the last name beginning with N-Z should email Cornel Hurston


How do I know what classes I have left to take for the common core, graduation, and in my major(s)? 

Your degree audit (sometimes called degree evaluation) lists all the requirements you need to complete your degree including courses or internships that you have already completed and that have fulfilled requirements. It also lists courses in which you are registered that will fulfill requirements on completion of the course. Those are labeled as in progress “IP.” You will find it in MyWestfield and your advisor will help you learn how to use it.  You can learn how to access and use your degree audit through this video


How do I know what the required core classes are?  

list of the Common Core of Studies is available in the University Catalog. All students must fulfill the requirement of the Common Core.   


How do I know what the classes will be about?   

All course descriptions are available in the University Catalog under course descriptions. Scroll down until you get to the “Course filter,” under prefixes, select the department, then click on filter.  You will then see all of the courses for the academic department. Click on the course name to see the description and the prerequisites for that course.      


How do I get forms signed online?  

Most forms will indicate how you are supposed to “sign” them at the top or the bottom.  Many forms are fillable .pdfs (fill in form or fillable pdf). Others have moved to online forms that you fill out and submit.  If you have a question about how to sign a document, contact the office and get confirmation.  

If you can print the form but not scan it, try using a scanning app.  If you are using a mac and the Mac pages word processing software, you must EXPORT and save your document before sending it to others.   

Send the document from your Westfield State University email address as that helps to confirm your identity.  

How do I buy or rent my books? 

You can find your books at the Westfield State University Bookstore webpage. Click on the Textbooks tab and select whether you want to buy or rent textbooks.  Make sure to have the department, course and section available to enter.   


How do I return or sell back my books? 

At the Westfield State University Bookstore webpage, click on the Textbooks tab and select Sell Back Textbooks. You will find information on how to sell bac books or return rentals.  


How do I know what books I need to buy? They are not listed on the bookstore website.   

Often professors will provide the texts to you through the PLATO course. If you do not see them listed in the bookstore or in PLATO, then email your professor to ask what texts you will need.    


How do I get electronic texts so I can have my books read to me on my computer or device?  

Any student can go to the Westfield State University Bookstore to see if an electronic text is available (.pdf or .epub).  Other resources include Amazon, Chegg, Vitalsource and Redshelf.  If an .epub version is available through Vitalsource, it will have a built-in reader.  Check the websites to see if they offer both rental and purchase of the book.  

If you have an account with Audible or Learning Ally, you can search for the books on those platforms, too.  

If you have a disability where you need to have electronic texts on your computer, please contact Disability Services to learn more.  


How do I get software to have my books read to me on my computer or device? 

Most word processing software (Microsoft word, google doc, Adobe Reader), has a function to read text. You will find it in the View tab of a document, search for “read” or “text to speech” in their help section or go to their accessibility functions and search.  

If you have a disability where you need to have electronic texts on your computer, please contact please contact Disability Services to learn more.  


How do I find out what the First Year Read is?  

Go to the First Year Read webpage to learn more.  

Most of your questions can be answered by using the search function on the main WSU website page.  Type in “Parking”, “housing”, “ID card” or other term.  Write to the email address listed on their website with your questions. Many questions that have come up as a result of COVID-19 can be found at the Safe Fall Opening page.  


How do I visit campus to take care of business? 

While the campus is under restricted access, students will be contacting offices via email, phone and online video streaming. Please contact the office directly to find out how to work best with that office.   


How do I find a place to live if I can no longer live at my current address or don’t have a place to live?  

You may contact the Dean of Students, your college dean or FACES advisors to begin inquiries as to how to address housing insecurities.  


How do I use the local transportation – PVTA?  

Students can find information about the PVTA at their website including learning about their app. PVTA runs the shuttle on campus and into Westfield.  


How do I find a place to study on campus and which computer labs are open? 

During the time when access to campus is restricted, the Library will be open for limited hours for students allowed on campus and by appointment only.  Students living on campus will have access to open spaces in their residential halls where they live.  Questions about where students who have been approved to come to campus may study can be directed to college deans, the library and residential life.  

When the campus reopens, Ely Library, and other spaces designated across campus will be available for any student to study.  This page will be updated when that listing is available.  


How do I get an exemption to any of the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19? 

Westfield State University wants all students to be supported in their inquiries when it concerns a student’s academic success. If you don’t think that your reasons are strong enough, please first reach out to an administrator who you know and run it by them.  It might be something we have already considered and have an answer to. Please feel free to reach out to the College deans, the Dean of Students, the director or advisor of a program you are involved in, a coach, or advising.  If they don’t know the answer they will work to find an answer.   


How do I find where the gender-inclusive and single-use or accessible restrooms are? [Page not done] 

A limited listing of gender-inclusive and single use restrooms is available through Safe Zone.   Please contact one of the chairs listed at the website for this information.  

Accessible bathrooms are available in all buildings and many, if not all, have accessible single use bathrooms. A listing of these is not available at this time.  


How do I change my name from my given/birth first name if my gender identity does not align with it? For what purposes can my name be changed? 

Change of name will require an administrator to support your request for a name change.   

For legally supported name changes where there is a court order involved, changes may be made through the Registrar’s Office.   

For changes made based on gender identity, we recommend that a student go to an advisor in an academic support program or Safe Zone, the Registrar’s office, or a College dean to begin the process.  

The International Programs Office provides students the resources for a well-rounded education at Westfield State University including academic and social experiences. IPO coordinates and administers programs that serve international students, faculty, and visitors to the Westfield community. The staff is aware of the demands associated with studying in another country and the special needs of international students.  


How can I meet with an advisor and submit documents? 

You can meet with an advisor and submit documents by sending an email to the Office for International Students.  


What do I need to know as an international student or a student currently living outside of the country? 

There are many and various factors that will determine what steps to take as an international student or student living outside of the country. Similarly, your status will determine whether and how you can take courses at WSU.  Please visit the International Student FAQ to learn about  


How can I learn about study abroad programs? 

At Westfield State University, students have the opportunity to travel to many places in the world and earn academic credit.  Many study abroad opportunities are the same as you pay for Westfield State University or cheaper. The Study Abroad program offers students in all majors the opportunity to study abroad for a semester, year, or a short -term course during the summer, winter or spring break in over 36 countries. The staff will assist you in deciding where to go, which travel option is the best fit for you, and assist you with all the procedures that accompany studying away. More information about programs can be found at our Education Abroad Programs page. 

How do I book an appointment when I am no longer taking in-person classes and I cannot visit the campus? 

The Counseling Center staff is available and eager to support new and returning students. While the physical Counseling Center is closed for in-person counseling sessions, starting the week of September 1st, the Counseling Center staff is offering secure video sessions to interested students, whether you've been a client with them before or not. 

Please visit the Counseling Center website to find out how to book an appointment.  


How do I get help dealing with anxiety associated with course work? 

There are several ways you can address anxiety associated with course work.   

  1. The most important place to start is to speak with your professor directly to explain your concerns and see what strategies exist to address your concerns.    
  2. Make an appointment with the Counseling Center to explore what the anxiety is.  
  3. Talk with someone at the Interfaith Center about the anxiety. 
  4. Tell your RA or RD to find out about resources available.  
  5. Work with Disability Services to see whether there are any accommodations can be made.  

How do I talk to someone about how I have been feeling since the pandemic started? 

The Counseling Center and the Interfaith Center are great places to start. You can also start by talking with a trusted advisor.