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Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association



Monday, February 3, 2014




Parent/Family Association Update

Sometimes I wonder who has the biggest adjustment when our son/daughter leaves for college, the student or the parent.  The answer probably depends on the day and the task at hand.  For the first time perhaps, as parents we have very limited knowledge of, or control over, our son’s/daughter’s day-to-day activities.  If your experience is anything like mine, texting is the primary source of communication and some national data indicates that parents are likely to get one text response for every four that we send.   As such, we might be well served to supplement the information we are getting regarding the college experience.

The Parent Family Association would like to fill some of that void and provide you with information about opportunities, resources, and experiences your student may be having while at Montana State University.  As an initial step in determining what information might be useful, we conducted an informal and non-scientific survey of nearly a hundred students near the end of last semester.  Essentially, we asked them what they wished their parents knew about their college experience.   We had some heart-warming responses, such as “I hope that they know how hard I work to make them proud” says a junior from MT or, “I love getting mail and calls from them!” from a CO freshman. But, overwhelmingly, the response was “I wish they knew how hard I am working and trying to balance all of the demands on my time”.  Of these, some students seemed to convey that they were trying very hard to meet expectations, but weren’t sure they could.  Many others indicated that they were finding motivation and commitment in the challenge.  They were more determined than ever to meet the educational and career goals they had set for themselves.

Life in the day of a student…
8 hr of sleep (we wish)
4 hr of health and wellness (including personal time, meals, exercise) (we hope)
3 hr of courses (assuming a 15 cr load) (we expect)
6-9 hr studying (2-3hr/credit)
21-24 hr total

Do they work or commute?
Are they in a lab or performing community service?

The view of our son’s/daughter’s college experience might be a bit patchy, but let’s all commit to providing a few extra words of encouragement this semester.  Communicating our confidence in their ability might be all that they need to take the next step, to study that extra hour.  Of course, if you find that your son/daughter needs something more than encouragement in order to be successful, please let us know.  MSU has many resources available.

Now it’s your turn. What information/events/activities can PFA provide to enrich your understanding and MSU experience? Please complete the following survey:

Have a great Spring ’14 semester!

Sheila Nielsen (87, Microbiology) Chair, Advisory Board, Parent Family AssociationCoordinator, Health Professions Advising Assistant Research Professor, Immunology and Infectious Diseases Montana State University



Residence Halls: Preparing for a new semester
Students are diving into their new semester, with classes in full swing, and you know what that means: It’s time to start thinking about next school year!  We give students returning to the halls next year preference over incoming students if they sign up during our Housing Priority Selection.  Students currently living with us that are interested in returning to the residence halls will want to apply before February 13th.  After that date, they will no longer get priority on their preferences, and may not be placed in the same room they lived in this year.  We receive more housing applications every year, so delaying on signing up could result in not getting your preference, or possibly even being placed in a temporary room for the start of the semester.  Signing up is easy, and risk free!  If you cancel before March 28th, you will not be charged the $200 cancellation fee.  Returning students are not required to pay the $200 prepayment that new students have to submit, but any cancellations on or after March 28th will result in the $200 cancellation fee in place of the prepayment.  We hope that your students have a great spring semester here at MSU, and if they have any housing questions, our staff is always happy to help.

Student Perspective: Fraternity and Sorority Retreat
Fraternity and Sorority meeting
The Fraternity and Sorority Community kicked off the semester with a leadership retreat, which members from each chapter attended. Guest presenter Angela Patnode, a transformational life coach, facilitated the first part of the retreat on developing leadership potential and effectively communicating and approaching conflict in Fraternities and Sororities. Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council facilitated the second portion of the retreat, and set goals for the upcoming year to reach separately and as a community. Attendees left this retreated feeling motivated and prepared; we are looking forward to a fantastic semester for the Fraternities and Sororities! To keep up with us this semester, check out our blog at

BigSky BreaksAway

Students can travel the great state of Montana and volunteer during their spring break!  The Office of Activities and Engagement's (OAE) BreaksAway program is sending six groups of students to various Montana communities to help meet community needs over spring break 2014.  Student volunteer groups will be traveling to Boulder, Ekalaka, Hamilton, Kalispell, Lame Deer and Sidney.

Registration for BreaksAway begins Jan. 30th at 7:30am in SUB 284.

Interested students can find more information and trip prices at:

Scholarships Available
Marj Keeton ($1,500): available to MSU sophomores or juniors, should demonstrate financial need, and have at least a 2.5 GPA.
Program for Continuing Education (up to $3,000): student must be within 2 years of graduating from a Certificate, Associates, or Bachelor’s degree, have had two years as a non-student sometime in her adult life, demonstrate financial need, and have at least a 2.5 GPA
Education Loan Fund (3% interest rate loans for maximum $12,000): Must be in need of financial assistance and within two years of graduating from her degree program

Contact: Janet Heiss Arms, 406-994-5536,

Bobcat Gift Packages
Let your student know you are thinking about them with a Bobcat Gift Package!
Gift Package

With prices ranging from $24.95 - $39.95, it has never been easier to remind your student that you are thinking of them.

For more information, or to order a gift package contact (406) 994-2811 or visit

February Webinar: Student Success at Montana State University and Beyond
Join us for our webinar: Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 MST. Hosted by The Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success, comprised of: The Office of Student Success; Career, Internship & Student Employment Services and The Office of Financial Education is here to help your student succeed at Montana State University.  Join us as we learn about the various programs to support academic success, financial wellbeing and the future success of your student beyond graduation.

To register for this webinar click here.

Prayer Group
1st Call to Prayer
Stand in the gap for Montana students, faculty and administration at Montana State University by joining Montana parents in monthly prayer and fellowship.
Participate in 1st Call and:

 -Encourage, support and gain strength from other parents as we spend time talking with God about the needs of the students, faculty and administration

-Unite, through the Internet, with individuals who are not able to join the group physically but will join online to pray at the same time

-Gain peace of mind in knowing your student is blessed with prayer.

" The greatest thing we can do, the one thing we must do,
the one thing we have the privilege of doing, is to pray.

For More Information Contact:  Rochelle Popovits 408 806-6828





Important Dates

February 17, 2014

Presidents Day Holiday 


March 10-14, 2014

Spring Break


Term Calendar


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Montana State University
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Bozeman, MT 59717

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