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By Brent Lloyd, GEAR UP MSU Graduate Assistant

Transitioning to college is a challenge for any student, but the change can be especially acute for students arriving from rural communities and entering a university with over 16,000 students on campus alone. GEAR UP is dedicated to helping our students successfully transition to life in Bozeman, providing resources for academic and social success, and disseminating information about homesickness and community engagement in the interest of helping our students with the change from their hometowns to Montana State. We always encourage our students to stop by our office as well for academic support, mentoring, or just for a quiet place to relax and unwind from a long day. Getting used to college is a challenge, but GEAR UP is dedicated to helping our students transition successfully to MSU.

  • "Go to your classes and join a club." -Lucas Oelkers (ASMSU President)
  • "Don't stress about classes, take time to rest. Create a system and go with it." -Lab Group (Sophomores)
  • "Plan out your week so you know what you're doing." -O (Freshman)

MSU's Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success (AYCSS) partners with GEAR UP MSU to offer free SmartyCats tutoring for GEAR UP first-year students! Other services offered by the AYCSS include Success Advising. Success Advising can support students with....

  • Proactive time management strategies
  • Study techniques
  • Motivation guidance
  • And more!

For more information and to sign up for FREE tutoring or success advising, visit

Smarty Cats Fall Semester

Ryanne Briere

Ryanne is a freshman from Harlem, Montana, who is beginning her studies in education. She was inspired to attend college so that she can be a part of the future of helping people. While in high school, Ryanne was a part of the travel club and was a cheerleader for four years. Ryanne believes that the GEAR UP program throughout high school helped give her an idea of what college was like and prepared her to succeed at MSU. Outside of classes, Ryanne has three sisters and two dogs who are her best friends. Ryanne also loves anything that has to do with photography and being outside.

Ryanne Briere: Harlem MT

Ryanne Briere: Harlem, MT

Indigenous Peoples' Day Tipi

Indigenous Peoples' Day

Monday, October 10th

The MSU American Indian Council presents Indigenous Peoples’ Day events. Beginning at 12:00 noon on Monday, October 10th, there will be a Round Dance on the Sunrise Plaza in front of American Indian Hall featuring songs by the Bobcat Singers. Following the Round Dance a meal will be provided in the AIH Great Hall. For more information contact Leo Davis at (406) 994-3898 or [email protected]


FAFSA Workshop

Wednesday, October 12th Between 5:00-7:00 pm

MSU's Office of Financial Aid Services will host a workshop for GEAR UP and TRIO students on Wednesday, October 12th between 5:00 and 7:00 pm in JABS 211. Students should come with their parents' 2021 federal tax returns and their FSA ID and password. Dinner will be provided. Please RSVP on CatsConnect at

Bowling balls

Community Rec Night

Wednesday October 19th From 5:00-7:00 pm

Once a month TRIO Student Support Services hosts a community recreation night in the SUB Rec Center and welcomes GEAR UP students and their friends and family to attend. Community Rec Night helps foster community and engagement between students as they adjust to life at MSU, Dinner is provided and students are allowed to bowl and play pool for free, with board games also provided. TRIO and GEAR UP students are encouraged to attend and bring their friends. RSVP in CatsConnect.

Smart Start Priority Registration

Registration Breakfast

Thursday, October 27th from 7:30-9:00 am

MSU's Office of the Registrar will provide breakfast and meet with GEAR UP students to help them register for Spring 2023 classes on Thursday, October 27th, from 7:30-9:00 am in REID 305. Registrar's Office staff will provide Q&A about the 4-step registration process (shown at left), DegreeWorks, CatCourse Scheduling, progress toward degree, credit load, and more. Please RSVP in CatsConnect at

Zane Nordwick

2022 Libby High School Graduate

MSU Freshman in Physics

In the summer of 2022, GEAR UP student Zane Nordwick from Libby, MT, earned a spot in the competitive Academy of Math and Programming with Jane Street Trading Company in New York City. Zane embarked on a five-week program in the city with 44 other students from around the nation, earning a scholarship and a Chromebook while staying at NYU for the duration of the academy. Programming included listening to several speakers including Matt Parker and John Urschel, and getting to work with trading programs with fellow students.

Zane Nordwick

Growing up with a love of math that continues to this day, this program was an excellent experience for Zane that he remembers fondly and has inspired him to explore new possibilities as he enters college and consider what avenues he may like to explore for his future.Zane Nordwick

While with the academy Zane was also able to enjoy the unique offerings of NYC, a new experience for him and the first time Zane had been farther east than Eastern Montana. Highlights of his time (shown in these photos) included a Mets baseball game, a pizza tour of New York which he describes as the best pizza of his life, visiting the Oculus, seeing Wicked on Broadway, and visiting the Museum of Natural History.

Zane Nordwick and Friends

Admissions MT College Tour

Throughout September, MSU and Gallatin College representatives traveled the state as as part of the annual Fall Montana Fall College & Career Fairs. Pictured are some MSU Admissions staff at the fair.

Ryanne Hope Project Wish Kid

GEAR UP student Ryanne Briere was honored on the field at the Sept. 3rd MSU Football game. Ryanne, pictured in center in front of Champ, is from Harlem, MT, and is a "Wish Kid" with the Montana Hope Project.

Lucky Martin and Family

September 30th-October 1st was MSU's annual Parent Family Weekend. GEAR UP was happy to fund Parent Family Weekend registration fees for GEAR UP students. Pictured is GEAR UP first-year student Lucky Martin, from Libby, with his family.

It's Time to Register for Spring 2023!

MSU's Office of the Registrar provides some tips on priority registration:

  1. Plan- Make a DegreeWorks Plan. Students should review their DegreeWorks worksheet and create their next semester plan before meeting with their advisor.
  2. Meet with your Academic Advisor. Review your DegreeWorks Plan with your advisor and receive your registration PIN.
  3. Register- As soon as your assigned registration date arrives, register for the classes outlined in your DegreeWorks Plan.
  4. Verify your enrollment for Spring 2023. It is necessary to confirm your bill for the schedule you created. FAiling to confirm your bill can result in late fees, holds on your account, even the loss of all of your classes! 2023 Priority Registration