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Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173960
Bozeman, MT 59717-3960


Tel: (406) 994-2824
TTY: (406) 994-6701
Fax: (406) 994-3943

180 Strand Union Building

Brenda York

> Office of Disability, Re-Entry and Veteran Services  > Re-Entry Student Services
Helpful Tips
The following is some accumulated "wisdom" from students like yourself who have made it:

  1. Visit the Office of Re-entry Student Services, room 180 Strand Union, early in the semester. If your study skills or exam-taking techniques need work, personnel in this office can point you in the right direction.

  2. You will find it is quite competitive here. Many instructors grade strictly on the "curve" and you will be up against many students who can devote full time to studying. Give yourself a break by taking a light load the first semester or until you have had time to adjust.

  3. If you have a child, work more than fifteen hours per week or you have any other substantial outside responsibilities, you might consider taking 12 credits per semester. This is the lowest credit load for full-time enrollment status.

  4. Know your final "drop/add" dates in case you decide to drop a class after the semester has begun.

  5. Try not to over-schedule yourself with regular outside activities. Most students find they have to cut back on social life and community obligations. At the very least, keep things flexible enough to allow for change when the pressure is on.

  6. If you are upset because things are not going well, don't muddle along, SEEK HELP! Talk with your instructor and your advisor regarding alternatives; i.e., study skills assistance, outside reading, test taking advice, extra credit, more time, etc. If the problem is complex or personal, arrange to see one of the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services, 2nd floor of Swingle Health Center (994-4531).

  7. Allow more study time than you did at previous schools; you will need it. The objective tests given in many courses require detailed specific knowledge as well as reasoning skills. Budget regular as well as optional study time and use morning hours for study whenever you can. A regular place to study also helps. A rule of thumb is two hours of study time for every hour in the classroom. Also, avoiding cramming; it's popular but self-defeating. Instead, review material periodically.

  8. Mix easy and hard courses each semester, if you can, and try to take a fun elective course each semester.

  9. Study with others occasionally to see if it helps. Get at least two classmates' phone numbers. If you miss a class, you will want to know what material was covered and what assignments were made. If you need to miss classes, call the Dean of Student's Office (994-2926) to find out how to notify instructors of your anticipated absence.

  10. If you are eligible for Family and Graduate Student Housing (you must be married, have children or be a graduate student), sign up as soon as possible as there is often a waiting list. You can get information by calling 994-2661.

  11. If you have children, try to line up a couple of people who could baby-sit on short notice in case of illness or emergency. Information on Day Care service is available at the Women's Center (994-3836) or Child Care Connections (587-7786 or 800-962-0418).

  12. If you need to verify your long-range career goals or need job search or career field information, call or visit Career Services (994-4353), SUB 177.

  13. Visit the Library early and ask personnel at the main desk for a guided tour of the Library. Proper use of the Library is invaluable for a successful experience at MSU. Old tests for review, required reading on reserve, duplication, computerized information searches are but a few of the unique library resources. Visit the library website:

  14. Find time to see each of your professors during their office hours, even if just to get acquainted and to get a little further insight into class expectations. Make an appointment to see them and stick to it! Regardless of how it may be viewed, getting to know your instructors and advisors is important.

  15. It is good to sit up front or in an aisle seat in the classroom. The following are some reasons for following this advice:
    1. easier to hear and understand the professor
    2. better for asking questions and for hearing those of other students
    3. you usually get your exams first and have more time

  16. The TRiO office offers qualified applicants personal counseling, and study skills sessions. They are located in the SUB 185, or you can call for direction and guidance at (994-4541).

  17. It may be helpful to seek out experienced older students. They can often give you many helpful hints about classes, professors, and administrative rules. Just talking to them about their experiences can often help reassure you.

View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 08/15/2013
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