Missouri State University
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Zoë 101: [Car] Accidents Happen

I hope everyone had a good Spring Holiday a couple weekends ago! Mine was filled with my family, pets, relaxation and then…an accident. As I was coming back to Springfield from my home in Liberty, MO another car hit me. They ran a red light in the downtown area and t-boned me just 2 minutes away from my house! I was so close to being home, I couldn’t believe I got into an accident minutes from my Springfield home. Before I go on, I want to say that everyone involved is alive and well, just some minor bruising and soreness. The reason I bring this story up is because I realized that this could happen to anyone. This was the first time since I have been driving that I have been in an accident. I wanted to share some tips for those who may get into a similar situation. So in reflection on the process, I created a list of steps of what will happen and what you should do. 

Step 1: The Initial Hit

For me, the second I got hit I started crying. I was hit by a wave of emotion and I’m not embarrassed, it was a scary and unbelievable situation. The very next thing I did was call my mom. This was an okay response in this particular situation because we were downtown where there were lots of people willing to help. One onlooker offered to call the police for me when she found out I was on the phone with my parents. If this would have happened in a more remote area, the police should be the first call made.

Step 2: Calm Down

 I am an emotional person to begin with, so everyone may not be in the same state as I was, but I would be surprised if those involved didn’t experience some sort of emotional response. Take some deep breaths and clear you’re mind from anything other than the present.

Step 3: Assess Damages

The first damage you should assess is potential damage to yourself. Before moving or getting out of the vehicle, you should do a check of yourself. Does anything hurt? Are you bleeding? Did you hit your head? If everything seems to be in order with yourself, then carefully get out of your car and assess the damage around you. The other driver involved in my accident came over to my car to check on me after he knew he was ok. Then together we looked at both of the cars and helped keep each other calm until the police arrived.

Step 4: Listen to the Police

Unfortunately car accidents are a prominent part of a police officer’s job, so listen to them and do what they say. They will walk you through the steps required for a situation and let you know when you are free to go. In my particular situation, they checked on myself and the other driver first to see if we needed any medical attention. Then they moved on to collecting insurance information, calling a tow truck and collecting information from both of us. They even had small forms for us to fill out for each other that included our insurance information and such.

Step 5: Keep an Eye on Yourself

In the days following the accident you need to assess your health. Soreness is common for people who get in accidents, but know the difference between soreness and pain. If you’re unsure if the achiness you’re feeling is normal or not, go to the doctor to get checked out.

Overall, this experience for me was terrifying, inconvenient and a little painful. However, I was also lucky enough to have a good experience with all involved after the fact. The other driver was very pleasant and worked well with myself and the insurance companies, the officers were calm and supportive of the situation and the onlookers of the accident were very helpful and concerned for the well-being of everyone involved.

So Bears, here I am living off-campus, not near a BearLine with all my classes being in Brick City downtown and work being in the PSU on campus without a car…but I am alive and well and have a plethora of amazing people in my life willing to let me hitchhike around town with them. Remember, no matter how bad the situation, there’s always positives within.

Stay safe, Bears!

~Zoë

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Max’s Musings – What’s With All This Construction?

Hello Bear Family!

If you have been on campus this year, I am sure you have noticed all the construction happening. As you read this, we have construction teams hard at work across our university. With additions to current facilities, full-scale renovations, and even a brand new building, there are a lot of big things underway here at MO State. What is being constructed? When will it be done? What is the purpose of doing all these projects? The answers to these questions and more will be revealed today! 

  1. New Campus Health & Wellness Center

I will start with our biggest project: the brand new campus health & wellness center. The moment you turn into campus, you can see the framework of this building beginning to form. In Fall 2015, the student body approved a $29 per semester fee to fund the construction of this new health center. Construction began this past semester and when completed, the center will be three stories tall, 36,000 square feet, and contain many additional services including: a drive-thru pharmacy, a fast-track clinic, evening/weekend hours, a sports medicine clinic, free lab tests, the counseling center, a women’s health center, and numerous specialists. The previous health center building (Taylor Health Center) was one floor, operated at 97% capacity each year, and was designed to only accommodate a campus population half the size of what our population now. The new health center is planned to open in January 2018.

  1. Glass Hall & Ellis Hall Renovations

We have two full-scale renovations of academic buildings underway: Glass Hall and Ellis Hall. First, located just past the Library, you can see the tall pillars of the major upgrades that Glass Hall is getting. Started in Fall 2015, Glass Hall is undergoing both interior and exterior renovations. The biggest aspect is the addition of the Gourley Student Success Center on the east side of the building (which the pillars are holding up). As a result of this renovation, Glass Hall will have: a corporate-style interior look, a New York Stock Exchange-style finance and trading lab, entrepreneurship and sales labs, new career placement and advisement centers, a full-service cafe, a production studio, an advertising agency lab, corporate interview rooms, new technology upgrades, and more.

Next, Ellis Hall is getting a major modernization as well. Built in 1957, this is Ellis Hall’s first big renovation. Ellis Hall’s renovation will result in upgrades including major improvements to the acoustic conditions of performance/practice rooms, a new energy-efficient curtain wall, a new building-wide mechanical system, a new roof, and the renovation of the choral room so it can accommodate piano recitals.

Both Glass and Ellis Halls are planned to be completed by the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester.

  1. Looking Ahead

Wait, there’s more? Absolutely! Although these three huge projects are nearing completion, our Planning, Design, & Construction department has even more on their to-do list. Here is a list of exciting new projects coming soon:

  • Hill Hall renovation: Begins Summer 2017
  • Welcome Center outdoor seating area: Expected completion in Summer 2017
  • Hammons Fountain Outdoor Seating Plaza: Expected completion by end of Summer 2017
  • New parking lot south of Kentwood Hall: Expected completion by August 2017
  • Cheek Hall Computer Lab renovation: Expected completion in Summer 2017
  • Professional building Third Floor renovation: Begins Summer 2017
  • New Residence Hall: Expected completion by Fall 2019 (if approved)

This is only a very short list of the vast amount of projects our university has scheduled in the near future. If you are interested in learning more about all the construction projects happening on campus, visit the Planning, Design, & Construction website: http://design.missouristate.edu/. This is an awesome website that gives great detail about every project underway and upcoming and shows you a live camera feed of construction of Glass Hall and the new Health & Wellness Center. Additionally, if you want to see what campus is expected to look like by 2021 and all the potential projects along the way, check out the campus Visioning Guide here: http://architect.missouristate.edu/OurVision/Springfield/FY2017VisionGuide.htm

 Why is all of this construction a big deal? Most importantly, your student’s degree is becoming more valuable. By having state-of-the-art facilities, we gain excellent new resources that create a stronger learning environment to foster academic success (which gives our students an advantage in the job market) and enhance the student experience here at Missouri State. Second, this construction is a reflection of the significant growth that we have experienced in recent years. More and more people are becoming Bears every year and we are creating excellent new facilities designed to accommodate and greatly benefit our growing campus population. Lastly, this ongoing investment in our campus infrastructure shows that Missouri State is strongly committed to continually improving our university and helps put our students in the best possible position for success as a Bear and beyond. Just in my 4.5 years as a Bear, I have witnessed a complete transformation of the look and feel of our campus with the addition and renovation of many campus facilities. With all of the upcoming projects, you and your student will witness a similar transformation. I hope you will share my excitement for these awesome projects being completed soon!

Thanks for reading and Go Bears!

~Max

 

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Ask Zoë…What is Blackboard?

Google defines “blackboard” as:

A large board with a smooth, typically dark, surface attached to a wall or supported on an easel and used for writing on with chalk, especially by teachers in schools.

Many of Missouri State University’s instructors do use Blackboard, but it’s not the classic literal “black” “board” we naturally think of. Instead, this Blackboard is a web portal available to students that brings the classroom to a virtual level. This is not the same as an online class, however. Blackboard is used as a supplement educational tool that can provide students with resources outside of the classroom.

Here is an example of a typical Blackboard page. My instructor utilizes his blackboard for this class consistently. It’s nice to know that if I have to miss class, because of being sick or something, visiting Blackboard can catch me up. Every instructor uses Blackboard a little differently. It is important to explore the Blackboard site at the beginning of the semester to get acclimated where everything is located for that particular class. Most instructors also have a Blackboard section in their syllabus to give further explanations of its use.

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see to the right -> Blackboard is also a place students can check their grades and get updates on when their instructors post on their specific sites. 

There is also a free app available for smartphones that will allow students to check their Blackboards on their mobile device.

What a time to be alive!!!

Hope this answered y’all’s questions regarding Blackboard! If you have any follow up questions or others regarding something else about Missouri State, don’t hesitate to ask.

Best,

Zoë

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First-Generation Students’ Summer Plans: Strategies for Student Success

With the spring semester quickly concluding, now is the perfect time for first-generation students to make their summer plans.  Though fun events, such as family vacations, hanging out with friends, and not doing any homework may top the list, summer time is a wonderful opportunity for first-generation students to plan for the upcoming academic year.  After spending the last two semesters reacculturating (Bruffee, 1999) to the collegiate culture, first-generation students have formed transition communities (Bruffee, 1999), whether friends, roommates, or study groups, to help them successfully navigate through the campus culture.  As a result, first-generation students have a much greater knowledge of what college is really like.  So, why not plan for the following academic year? 

Exploring academic areas of interest, conducting informational interviews, and researching possible student organizations are all items that first-generation students can do over the summer.  Taking the time to familiarize themselves with their degree audit and the online undergraduate catalog are useful strategies for the upcoming academic year.  By this point, first-generation students have taken some general education courses and perhaps a course for their academic major, yet have they taken the time to fully review their intended academic degree program of interest?  For students who are undecided with their academic major, summer is a stress-free time to compare possible majors and to contact their academic advisor with questions without having to worry about studying for an exam or writing a paper.  Jotting questions about possible careers and majors can help set the stage for conducting informational interviews—that is, what information can be gleaned from a professional in the field in order to learn the most about a designated career?  Additionally, student involvement, as a direct result of transition communities (Bruffee, 1999), is a fun way to meet other students who have similar academic and career interests.  By using the summer to research campus involvement opportunities, including student organizations, in order to decide which ones to further explore, first-generation students can take steps towards a successful and satisfying college career.  Further, talking with other students in a departmental club and/or working alongside the organization’s advisor can solidify major and career plans.

In short, using the summer as a time to reflect upon the previous academic year and to plan for the next academic year can be a strategic step for a successful semester.  Whether in the form of talking to professionals in the desired career path, reading the undergraduate catalog, or creating an action plan for the upcoming semester, summer is an ideal time for first-generation students to share their college experience with family and friends as well as to make plans for another successful academic year.

Bruffee, K. A. (1999). Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

(submitted by Dr. Tracey Glaessgen, Assistant Director, First Year Programs)

 

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Spotlight on Caitlyn Eberle – Beekeeping & Family Connections

When I first started college, I went home almost every weekend. I couldn’t imagine life away from home, so I did everything I could to be as involved there as possible. Eventually, I got swept up with schoolwork, activities and friends on campus which kept my mind occupied for a while, but I still really missed my family and it was bittersweet knowing they missed me too. I wanted a way to stay connected with my family, to do something together while I was in school so our phone conversations weren’t just endlessly asking about each other’s days (which only reminded me that I wasn’t really a part of that world anymore). Eventually, we found an activity that was fun and engaging and required constant (but minimal) work: beekeeping. 

I have always been interested in bees. They are such helpful little creatures that do wonderful work for our planet and our food system. The interest increased after a middle school research project on honeybees, after which I asked my dad if we could keep some of our own. He made me do in-depth research before he would say yes; I had to find out how much equipment would cost, where to get bees, how to set them up, how to care for them if they got sick etc. I’m not sure if he actually expected me to go through with it, but I did. So we got our first hive.

It was just my dad and I then, during the summer before I started college. I didn’t want to leave; I had gotten my dad into this mess and I didn’t want him to deal with it all by himself. Luckily, my sister, Hannah, got involved. Being away at college was tough then, but I could call my dad or my sister and ask about the bees and share articles and tips I found online and help them work through problems. When I came home, we would go out and check them together, and discuss what we saw in the following weeks. Eventually, we got two more hives and my other sister, Madi, joined in as well. When it came to processing honey, my mother and brother helped us out, and my mom was instrumental in making the beeswax lip-balms. She also organized our sales and helped us advertise.

We now have seven hives and a semi-legitimate business, complete with loyal customers, a fancy logo and a bonafide Facebook page. I go home a few times a semester to visit and every time I’m there, we do something bee-related. The whole experience has been incredibly rewarding. We are by no means experts, but it is fun to fail, learn and succeed together, as a family.

~Caitlyn

Caitlyn Eberle, a senior graduating in May,  is president of the Anthropology Club and a Career Center Peer Advisor.

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Meet D Ashley – Veteran Student Services Liaison

Missouri State is dedicated to helping veterans, military, and dependents. The mission of the Veteran Student Center (VSC) is “to empower, encourage, and engage military-veterans and their families as they become a part of the university and surrounding community. We strive to ensure that our veterans, military, and dependents have the accommodations and assistance needed to be successful students at Missouri State University.”

Take a moment to get to know D Ashley, Marine Corps Veteran (Staff Sergeant),  Veteran Student Services Liaison and president of the Veteran Students Organization.  

Tells us about yourself. What are you majoring in, where are you from? What are your career goals? I major in Criminology. I was born in Albany, NY, but spent most of my life in Mtn. Grove, MO. After graduation from Missouri State, I want to be a VA School Certifying Official.

You were in the Marine Corps. What led you down the path to the military? What lessons did you take away from your time in the military? How are those lessons helping you as you complete your degree?  September 11th is what inspired me to join the military. My sister brought home a recruiting packet from the Marines and after looking through it, I had my heart set on being a Marine. My military experience taught me never give up even when it seems impossible. I am not much of an academic, but I have pushed myself to keep pushing until I get that degree.

Tell us about Veteran Student Services. What is the role of the office? What is your job? What services are offered to Veterans? The Veteran Student Center is a one-stop shop for almost all VA education benefit information and guidance. I am an education liaison for veterans and their family members. I answer any questions they may have regarding their education benefits, help them apply for benefits, and inform them of their responsibilities when using those benefits

Recently the grand opening was held for the Oldham Family Veteran Student Center. Why is it important to have a center dedicated to our veterans? How is the center utilized? It is important because we want veterans to feel welcome here at Missouri State and let them know they have a place where they can be themselves and make friends. We veterans have urr own culture. When we leave the military, it can be a very difficult transition to civilian life. Our lounge space is a place where veterans can feel like they belong and know they are not alone here on campus.

Tell us about the Veteran Student Organization. What kind of activities do y’all take part in?  The Veteran Student Organization brings veterans and dependents together through community service that is directed toward helping our local veteran population. We recently assisted a WWII veteran and his wife clear debris out of their home after it caught fire.  We have also rallied together to acquire items for veterans at the Mount Vernon Veteran home.  Our annual Veterans Ball is our biggest event.  Every year we have hosted a Ball to honor certain groups of the military such as Purple Heart recipients and Vietnam Veterans who did not receive a pleasant welcome home like their brothers and sisters of other wars.

What is your favorite Missouri State tradition? Why? I think my favorite Missouri State tradition is Fountain Day. I just think the fountain is one of Missouri States most beautiful features and I love seeing it on when I come to campus.

What was the last movie you saw? Would you recommend it? Why or why not? The last movie I saw in theaters was the new Beauty and the Beast. I definitely recommend it. It goes into more in depth to the story than the animated version.  It is now one of my favorite movies.

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Important Housing Information – Halls Closing for the Summer, Summer School and Future Bears Housing

Share this important housing information with your student:

Halls Close – Our Halls close on May 20 at 8:00 am. Students will need to have all their belongings packed up and their rooms cleaned. Each student will formally check-out with their Resident Assistant; they will go over their Room Condition Report that they signed when they moved in back in August and turn in their keys. To assist in a smooth check out, we have vacuums and cleaning supplies at the front desk for students to use. Also remind your student to ensure their forwarding address is correct with the Registrar’s office, so they continue to get any mail over the summer. One tip you can share with your student, is to start planning! It always takes longer to pack up and make a move than you think it does. They might start saving boxes now and thinking about what will fit in a carload home (and what might not). We offer donation stations in all our residence hall lobbies, where students can donate ANYTHING to a local thrift store and shelter. 

Summer School Housing – Residence Life offers Summer School Housing in Hammons House for students who will be enrolled in classes. The Housing Application is already open and students can find this under their my.missouristate.edu, in the housing channel. This is a convenient option for students who will be focused on their classes this summer.

Future Bears – Assignment notices & Room Changes (for Fall 2017 students) – Assignment notices go out at the end of each month. Students will receive an email to their @live.missouristate.edu email account with details about their housing assignment. Once posted, students can also see this information listed on their application and roommate summary in their housing channel within the my.missouristate.edu portal. If your student would like to change their assignment, they can go online to see any open bed spaces within our system. At that time, they will be able to self-select into an open space of their choosing. Once the room change process is open students can check back to see any vacancies as we have cancellations throughout the summer. The only time the room change process turns off is for a short period of time each month, so we can make new assignments.

 

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Ask Priscilla! Why is SOAR important to me as a family member?

I get this question a lot from the families of our new Bears, and it’s a question that is very important to me.  People ask me “Isn’t SOAR a time the “experts” say you should give your student independence?   Yes, it is highly recommended that the student be given room to grow. But that doesn’t mean your involvement has to end; it’s just a different kind of involvement. SOAR registration will be opening in the next few days so now is a great time to be considering attending SOAR with your student.

Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

SOAR is a great example of staying involved. Even if your “grown-up” student thinks there’s no need for you to be there, the truth is they’ll hardly know you’re around. During SOAR, you will not be with them the entire time — they go to the student program and you, of course, go to the family program (we have a very good program if I must say so myself). At various times throughout the SOAR experience, you’ll meet back up with your student to catch up and share what you’ve each learned.

There are numerous reasons you should attend, but here are two important ones:

Attending SOAR with your student affords you another chance to bond as you both make the transition (yes, you are going through a transition also).

Even though you’re not together for the whole event, the time you do spend together will help you find out what’s important to your student, what they’re interested in, what they’re concerned about, what they’re hoping for. It’s an opportunity for you to be there for them, to listen and learn and help as needed.

The family orientation program will ease your mind as your student heads to Missouri State.

At both of my daughter’s orientations, I wanted to know about health care, housing and safety: Where do students go if they get sick? I was worried that my daughters would be sick and there would be no one to help them. Would my daughters be safe on campus? What did I need to know about housing? The family orientation program is designed to answer questions most pressing to family members. You’ll find out about Taylor Health & Wellness; campus safety;  housing; and student organizations; and meet the professionals at the university.

There is also an emotional component to attending SOAR. When a student leaves for college, the entire family goes through a transition. At SOAR, you will meet other families who are sending their first student to college. You’ll also meet families who have “been there, done that” and can serve as a wealth of knowledge and support. You can share stories, make connections, learn how to encourage your student while still letting them grow, find dates of important campus events such as Welcome Weekend  and Family Weekend (September 15-17, 2017). Family Weekend is a great time to return to campus, visit your student and see the school through their eyes. And yes, take them shopping while you are in town!

As you can tell, I’m a strong advocate for attending SOAR. For me, it was an important part of the process of raising my daughters and allowing them the freedom to follow their dreams. At each orientation, I learned how things worked on campus and what my daughter’s first-year experience would be like. I made new friends. Most importantly, I came away with a sense of peace. I wasn’t as anxious as I had been because I saw the school (rather than just touring it), met the key players, and discovered that the faculty, staff, and administration wanted to see my student succeed as much as I do. That made everything worthwhile.

Here is some practical advice to help you get the most out of SOAR:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes! You will be doing a lot of walking.
  2. Come prepared to get lots (and I do mean lots) of great information and many pamphlets, flyers, etc.
  3. Bring a sweater (for some reason conference rooms are all cold, no matter where they are).
  4. Accept that you will need time to process everything you hear.
  5. Plan on being tired (but the good kind of tired).
  6. Bring a list of questions that you want to ask different offices on campus. These include (but not limited to): Financial Aid, Residence Life, Dining & Housing, Student Employment, the Bookstore.
  7. Introduce yourself to other families. Networking is good.
  8. Bring an umbrella. It will probably rain!
  9. Contact me when you have questions.

We look forward to seeing you in just a few weeks at your student’s SOAR session. Please call me at (417) 836-3060 or email me at pchildress@missouristate.edu if you have questions.

~Priscilla

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Max’s Musings – Making the Move Off-Campus

Hello Bear Family!

Is your student looking to move off-campus or to get a new place in Springfield this year? Whether your student has lived off-campus before or not, finding a new place to live can be a stressful and time-consuming process. I know this experience all too well as my partner Amanda and I just completed our apartment search odyssey 2 weeks ago. I want your student to be equipped with all the knowledge they need to successfully find the next place they will call home. Today, I will provide you a step-by-step guide and share what I learned from my own experiences so your student can minimize their stress, be time-efficient, and feel confident as they make the move off-campus! 

Step 1: Create an honest monthly budget

This is unquestionably the most important step in the entire process. Your student must have a clearly defined budget so they know what they can afford. If your student will be paying for their housing themselves, they need to critically examine their income and determine the maximum amount they can comfortably pay in expenses each month. If you will be contributing to your student’s housing costs, have an honest and open conversation with your student about what you are willing to pay and what the financial situation will be for their off-campus living. When creating this budget, your student should account for all of their usual monthly expenses so they get a comprehensive view of their financial situation. That will make their budget as accurate as possible.

Step 2: List priorities and preferences

What are your student’s needs and wants? This step is all about answering that question. They need to create a list that thoroughly states everything they need and want in their housing. First is listing priorities. These are fundamental things that your student needs to have for a comfortable living space. For example, Amanda and I’s top priorities were an apartment, pet-friendliness (for our cat Poe), the unit being at least 700 square feet, and plenty of parking available at the property. Your student should not leave anything out in this section; even the most basic things that you may think every apartment has. I once toured an apartment that did not have a shower. Seriously, take nothing for granted. Conversely, preferences are things that your student would like to have. These are features and amenities that would be nice to have, but that your student can live without or work around if need be. For example, Amanda and I’s preferences included having an upper floor unit, hardwood floors, partial utilities paid, and close proximity to campus.

Similar to creating their budget, your student should be very honest and realistic when creating their priority and preference lists. Your student should critically think through what deserves to be a priority and a preference. Additionally, it is ok to have many preferences, but no place will be perfect and their budget will determine what they can expect to get. Therefore, your student must understand and accept that they will most likely have to make sacrifices when choosing their next place. By creating these lists in tandem with their budget, your student will be able to narrow down their housing search to the places that fit within their means, needs, and wants. This will make researching options much more manageable and much less time-consuming!

Step 3: Begin the search

Now that your student has a budget and their priority and preference lists, they are ready to start their housing hunt! There are several ways to find potential places. First, the most efficient way to go about their search is looking on local property company websites and third-party housing search websites. There are many great websites available that will allow your student to find places that fit within their budget and priority/preference lists, see pictures of the properties, and learn about the owner(s) of the property. The internet will definitely yield the most information about potential housing options. Second is traveling through the areas that your student would prefer to live in. For example, if your student wants to live close to campus, traveling through the neighborhoods close to campus and looking for “For Rent” signs could allow them to find more potential options to research. However, this is more applicable if your student is looking for a house to rent. Lastly, you student can simply ask people they know! Asking friends, coworkers, or fellow classmates could lead to even more options to look at. Every time your student finds a place that they like, they should write down the following: the property name, the property company or owner’s name, the rent price, the utilities that need to be paid (if any), and the features & amenities the place offers. Your student should search everywhere they can to get a complete picture of what housing options are available to them.

Step 4: Narrow the list & schedule tours

After your student has done a thorough housing search, they need to narrow down their list to their top choices. I recommend having 3-5 top choices so they have multiple to choose from and plenty of backups. Amanda and I narrowed our list by asking these questions about each place:

  • Does it fit within our budget?
  • Does it meet each of our priorities?
  • Does it offer any other features & amenities that are important to us?
  • What do online reviews say about this place (if any)?

Once we got the answers to these questions, we were easily able to rank each of our options. This ranked list determined which places we called to for a tour first. Going on a tour is super important in your student’s decision-making process. Seeing a place online and in person are completely different experiences. Going on a tour will tell your student so much more about a place than solely online can. Once your student sees a place in person, they will know exactly which places they like the most. It was common for Amanda and I to revise our ranked list after visiting each place. If possible, your student should also ask to see if they can talk with current residents of the property. Current residents will be able to give an honest review of the place and can give important information about their experience living there. Tours are one of the most important time investments your student should make in this process.

Step 5: Close the deal (with caution)

After going on the tours, your student now must make the big decision on where they want to live. Like Step 4, your student needs to ask themselves which place meets their criteria the most and will work within their budget. Once the decision has been made, it is time to start closing the deal! This involves your student applying to their choice and getting their security deposit paid to hold a spot. Since Springfield is a college city, it is important to note that many places here require a cosigner on student housing applications and leases. Therefore, it is very likely that your student will need you to be a part of this process in some way. Waiting for an approval is the most suspenseful part of this process. It could take a couple days to several weeks to hear back from the company or owner about whether or not they are approved. Your student must know that it is not a bad thing if it is taking a while. They will hear back in just a matter of time!

When your student is approved to a place, they should call the company or owner and figure out how the lease signing process will work. Some companies do it online and some do in person so your student should know the proper process to get it done. When your student receives their lease, they should look through it extremely carefully. A lease is a legal contract and by signing they agree to everything in it. It is very, very important that your student understands that and they know the responsibilities of both themselves and their landlord. Here is a link to a handbook that outlines those responsibilities in Missouri law: https://www.ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/publications/landlord-tenantlaw.pdf?sfvrsn=4. Several of the most important things you and your student need to look for are the following:

  • Who is responsible for maintenance, repairs, lawn care, and trash service
  • Rent paying procedure
  • If the security deposit is refundable and under what conditions is it refundable
  • If renter’s insurance is required
  • When their move in date is and when their lease ends
  • How many days’ notice your student needs to give when they move out in the future
  • Cosigner responsibilities (if you are one)

If something does not seem right or something needs clarification, your student needs to always ask questions to the owner! Your student should ask as many questions as they need to so they feel completely comfortable with what they are signing. Once everything is correct, clarified, and comfortable, your student can go ahead and sign the lease. Your student is all set for their new home! The journey is over!

Making the move off campus is a lengthy process and can be intimidating, but choosing a new place to live is a big decision and at least a year-long commitment. Therefore, your student should take their time to make sure they find somewhere that works well for them. This is especially important if your student will be living with one or multiple roommates because they need to collaborate extensively with their future roommates through this process. Whether your student is living solo or with others, I hope this guide will help your student make the move off campus with less stress and more confidence!

Thanks for reading and Go Bears!

~Max

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Zoë 101: College Moments-“Storm Alerts”

I am not afraid to admit that I’m slightly frightened by bad weather. Growing up in Kansas and Missouri, I’ve had my fair share of bad weather. From snowstorms to thunderstorms to whirling wind tunnels of terror (otherwise known as tornadoes), I’ve experienced it all. However, the sound of thunder can still make my heart skip a beat even as the mature young woman I am today. 

Last night we had yet another thunderstorm in this spring semester and I purposefully attempted to distract myself with homework and crafting. Even though my heart was nervous and there was blinding lightning and booming thunder, my brain was calm because I hadn’t received a text message or email from Missouri State University. Yeah, you read correctly.  The University texts me to let me know about severe weather, security alerts, and other information pertinent to students. Missouri State and myself are pretty good friends in this way, and you could be too!

This option is available for students AND family members! By simply going to the Missouri State website and typing “alerts” into the search bar, you can get to the Safety and Transportation page and easily sign up for these alerts. These alerts will help students be more aware on what is going on, while also bringing information to families about potential weather happening here.

I’m not much of a “texter” (really, I’m not) but this is one number I don’t mind getting messages from!

Be safe, Bears!

~Zoë

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