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Dear Bobcat parent and family members,

And we're off! What a start to the academic year it has been -- capped off last week with thousands of students attending, and participating in, Catapalooza. Our sororities also saw great participation in their fall recruitment, with a record number of new students joining this semester. I'm very proud of our student leaders on the Panhellenic Council and their advisor, Senior Assistant Dean Erin Macdonald Peck.

Your student has big campus events to look forward to in the next few weeks. On Saturday, Sept. 2, we'll have our first home football game when the Bobcats take on Utah Tech. This is the annual Gold Rush game, where fans are encouraged to wear a gold T-shirt. Now in its 16th year, this MSU tradition inspires fans who show their Bobcat spirit by filling the stadium with a sea of gold.

On Friday, Sept. 8, the annual MSU Debut Concert will feature The Brook and The Bluff with opener Hornbread, winner of the 2023 MSU Battle of the Bands. This free event will occur on the Romney Oval.

We hope your student will enjoy the excitement of being in Bobcat stadium for fall football and on campus for a concert with their friends and peers.

In addition to fun events and activities, there are some upcoming deadlines if your student intends to add or drop a course. The deadline to self-add a course online has already passed (Aug. 29), but here are some other deadlines for students to keep in mind:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 6th is the last day to add a course with the permission of the instructor.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 6, is also the last day to self-drop a course online.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, is the last day to drop a course without a "W" grade (with permission from their advisor).
  • Wednesday, Nov. 15, is the last day to drop a course with a "W" grade (with permission from their advisor). 

Students can find step-by-step instructions for adding and dropping courses here. We recommend that students always consult with their academic advisor about adding or dropping classes. Especially if this action takes them below a full-time load of 15 credits. Dropping below full-time could negatively impact a student's ability to graduate in four years and may have implications for financial aid. The Office of the Registrar website has more details about adding/dropping classes and the associated refund schedule.

Speaking of academic advisors, the next time you visit with your student, ask them if they know who their advisor is. If they don't, they can find their advisor's name in the top left corner of their DegreeWorks worksheet. It's important for students to know how to contact their advisor because, by mid-term, they must meet to discuss their degree track before Priority Registration for the following semester. General advising questions can be directed to the Academic Advising Center at 406-994-3532.

Switching topics to the long Labor Day weekend, this is a time when many students will venture into the community for social gatherings and into the backcountry for outdoor adventures. The safety, health and well-being of our students both on- and off-campus is my highest priority. If you talk or text with your student, please remind them to take the following precautions:

  • Download Safe Cats, safety app that includes emergency procedures and a means of contacting University Police. It also features Friend Walk, which lets users send their location in real-time to a friend who can ensure they arrive at their destination safely. When a friend isn't available, users can also employ the app's Safety Escort feature to call UPD and request a ride on campus. Safe Cats is available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
  • Stay in groups of two to three known and trusted friends, especially in the evenings or while exploring the backcountry. 

If students head into the mountains, there may be little or no cell service. We recommend students designate a "safety contact" who knows their exact trip itinerary and when they're expected home. I always remind students to carry bear spray and learn how to use it. Though not occurring until after Labor Day, I understand there are 40 spots available in the Outdoor Recreation program's free bear safety clinics on Sept. 7 and Sept. 12. The clinics cover the basics of bear behavior and how to stay safe in bear country.

Thanks to all of you who have been responding with questions, suggestions and notes of appreciation. We continually strive to improve and provide students with the very best college experience. Your feedback is invaluable in this effort. Now that we are settling into the semester, you'll note that the frequency of my emails will drop off a little, but please know that you can contact my office anytime with questions or concerns.

In Blue and Gold,

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Matthew R. Caires
Dean of Students

P.S. I realize we've been back to school just a week, but I hope you'll plan to join us for Bobcat Parent and Family Weekend, Oct. 13-14. You can find out about the weekend's featured events and register online here.

Bobcat Parent and Family Program, Montana State University
174 Strand Union Building | P.O. Box 174220 | Bozeman, MT 59717 | [email protected] | 406-994-7359
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