Missouri State University
The Family Connection

A conversation with Justin…Involvement

To me, getting involved is vital to success in college. Coming to a university is not simply sitting in a classroom, studying for tests and obtaining a 4.0. There’s more to this experience. To truly get the “Bear Experience” personal growth needs to happen. In my opinion, this is something that cannot happen just in the classroom. This growth comes from putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and trying new things that you did not have exposure to in high school. IMG_2113

By getting involved, students are able to obtain a few different things.  By joining organizations, it is easy to make connections. Whether that be during your time in college making new friends or using those connections to land a job after graduation, meeting new people leads to a better network for students. Through involvement, we as students also become more competent in dealing with diverse individuals, serving the community and learning valuable leadership skills.

As for how to get involved, I believe that if a student decides to join an organization, it is their duty to contribute to that group. Simply joining something just to say you’re in it or a part of it is not enough. The goal of these organizations is for us as students to learn and prosper simultaneously with the organization. It’s a mutual benefit relationship. With that, I do not believe that students should go join as many organizations just to look involved. Rather, we should find those things we are truly passionate about and put 100% effort into those areas to truly make a difference.



Justin Roberts, a junior year with a double major in Philosophy and Organizational Communication, is from Frisco, Texas.   He is the Family Orientation Coordinator for SOAR 2015, the first to hold this student position in the office. Throughout his time at Missouri State, he has been a SOAR Leader, involved in the Missouri State Disc Golf Club, Student Government Association, and a social fraternity where he served as the chapter president.


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Ask Priscilla! What is the true cost of adding and dropping classes?

Many students call their families explaining that they need to drop a class. There are many reasons for this. We asked Susan Martindale, Academic Advisor here at Missouri State about the true cost of adding and dropping classes. Below, Susan provides great feedback about the process:  Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Jim calls his mom half-way through the semester to announce, “I need to drop my history class. I don’t like the way the instructor is teaching it and I would rather take it next semester with my friend. Scenarios like this happen every day and it is important for parents to understand the true cost of these kinds of decisions.

Dropping a course can be an appropriate option. If the student is failing the class with no hope of turning things around, or discovers he is in the wrong class for his major, dropping may be the right course of action. However, dropping classes can have many negative consequences, not the least of which is financial.

Generally speaking, the cost for a three-credit course for an in-state resident is $612 ($1248 for out-of-state) plus a textbook. There are deadlines for receiving a percentage of that fee as a refund if students drop classes. Those deadlines happen rather early in the semester. For example, March 17, 2015 is the last day to receive a 25% refund for full-semester spring classes. The Academic Calendar on the University website is a very helpful resource for parents to stay abreast of dates and deadlines.

Let’s look at Jim’s situation. He calls his mom March 20, three days after the last refund deadline. He received his mid-term grades March 19 and knows his history grade is C-. If he drops the class he has missed the deadline and will not receive a refund. Since the history class is a required general education class, Jim will need to retake it at some point and pay $612 again. The course will ultimately cost a total of $1224. If the textbook changes, he will have to buy another book as well.

Sometimes students complicate their situation when dropping a class results in falling below full-time status. They may lose insurance coverage, jeopardize financial aid, and even delay graduation. Second block classes, which start mid-semester, may be an option to stay enrolled full-time but there is a limited selection and those classes are often electives and cost the same as required courses.

Before dropping a class, a student should always speak to the instructor, the advisor, the financial aid office if applicable, and the insurance company to avoid unexpected consequences. Otherwise the student may be making a very expensive decision.



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MSU Libraries – Literature and more….

Fall 2014 was full of fun at the Duane G. Meyer Library. The faculty and staff at Meyer Library are always on the lookout for ways to enhance the user experience. Early on in the semester, students were asked what Meyer Library could provide for them during finals week. Students shared their ideas and we listened! Some of the highlights from the week include trained stress relief dogs provided by Pet Therapy of the Ozarks, inspirational quotes, healthy snacks provided by the Student Dietetic Association and Meyer Library, free late night coffee and tea and free popcorn in the afternoon. Additional group study spaces were provided and two floors were designated quiet study zones.

libraryDuane G. Meyer Library is looking forward to some very exciting changes during the spring of 2015. Work will begin on a space redesign to bring the testing center to Meyer Library. TRiO will be welcomed as part of the family of services provided within Meyer Library space. We will be working with the department of Art & Design to bring student art to the main campus by hosting student exhibits. The work is expected to change several times over the semester so stop by often.

Keep an eye out for the new religious literacy display between the lobby and the main floor of Meyer Library. The display, presented by the student group Linked in partnership with Meyer Library, will be designed to heighten the sense of shared values within Missouri State University and the surrounding communities.

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Top Ten Reasons Students Should Live on Campus After their Freshman Year

As your student starts the second semester of classes, the subject of “where to live next year” comes up in conversation. As you talk with your student about options, keep in mind the top 10 reasons your student should continue to live in the MSU residence halls:  Residence

  • For over 15 years, students living on-campus have a higher GPA than students living off-campus.
  • The convenience of one bill to your student’s account
  • Residents don’t have to worry about paying for laundry. It’s FREE…you just have to know how to do it!
  • Easy access to academic and social resources, such as the library and Bear CLAW, the Foster Rec Center and the Plaster Student Union
  • Developing leadership skills by serving on Hall Council and RHA
  • Many residents enhance their skills to go on an hold leadership positions across campus as SOAR leader, University Ambassadors, SGA officials, etc.
  • ResNet provide FREE computer maintenance and technical support for all on-campus students
  • Residents get 350 double-sided pages of printing FREE at the front desk each semester
  • Convenient student employment by working at a front desk, dining center or ResNet
  • Living in an LLC to enhance your experience and development
  • Instant comradery with several other students on your floors sharing similar likes and interests

Visit the Resident Life, Housing and Dining Services website to find out more.

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Ask Priscilla! What are some things I need to know about the FAFSA?

The FAFSA can be quite confusing for students and family members alike. Questions like “Who is eligible?” and “When does the FAFSA need to be filled out? ” are common questions.  You could start filling out the FAFSA January 1st at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.  Submit your FAFSA by March 31, 2015 for priority consideration at Missouri State. Learn more about financial aid at Missouri State here.   Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Here are some common myths about the FAFSA:

My family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid…

Many middle and even upper-middle income families qualify for financial aid. In addition to your family’s income, there are a number of different factors that go into the process of determining eligibility, including assets and number of household members currently attending college. Even if you don’t qualify for federal dollars, many colleges and scholarship programs use the FAFSA to award financial aid. Fill out the form to ensure you don’t miss out!

The FAFSA deadline isn’t until June, so I have plenty of time to fill out my form…

While it’s true that the final FAFSA deadline isn’t until June 30th, many programs award financial aid on a first-come, first-serve basis. To ensure you get all of the aid for which you are eligible, try to fill out your forms as close to the January 1st start date as possible.

My parents haven’t filed their taxes yet, and I can’t file until they do…

Nope, not true. One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting FAFSA on hold until they’ve filed their federal tax returns. In fact, you can use an estimated number to file now and update your materials once your returns are completed. Just make sure to check the “will file” box and the Department of Education will remind you in April to update your form.

I don’t have great grades, so I shouldn’t even bother trying to qualify…

You don’t need to be class valedictorian or a straight-A student to qualify for federal student aid. In fact, the overwhelming majority of federal and state packages are based on need alone and, in most cases, you only need to maintain a “satisfactory” GPA to continue receiving aid dollars.

I submitted FAFSA last year, so I don’t need to file again…

Unfortunately, FAFSA doesn’t just automatically renew. To remain eligible for federal student aid (and many other kinds of aid), you need to file for every year you are attending school. However, if you submitted last year, you do have the option of completing a Renewal FAFSA, in which most of the questions are pre-filled with your prior information.

(adapted from Don’t Let the FAFSA Ruin Your Holiday Cheer: 10 Financial Aid Myths Debunked)


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Resolved to…Resolutions for Parents of College Students

The New Year is a time for new starts and that includes, for many, making resolutions! For your student, the New Year means the start of a new semester, an opportunity to improve on the past semester as she gets closer to reaching her goals.  Below are some resolutions we as parents can make to  help our student:  150019-Happy-New-Year-2015

1)  Resolve to work harder at the “letting go” process.  Work to remind yourself that your student is becoming the independent individual that you want her to be.  Call a bit less.  Text a bit less.  Respect her decisions.  Sometimes, bite your tongue.

2)      Resolve to meet all deadlines on time. Pay tuition bills on time.  File the FAFSA early.  Make housing deposit on time.  Make Family Weekend reservations or Commencement reservations early.

3)      Resolve to accept the changes in your student.  Enjoy the adult she is becoming.

4)      Resolve not to ask your student whether she’s found a summer job, chosen her major, or what she’ll do after she graduates.  At least, don’t ask as often.

5)      Resolve to spend more time listening to your student this year – really listening – between the lines.

6)      Resolve to trust the values you have taught your student as you raised her. Look for signs of those values in her actions.

7)      Resolve to talk to your student about college finances this year. Let her be part of the planning for tuition bills, loans, scholarships.  Help her understand the bigger picture.

8)      Resolve to do something new for yourself this year.  Take up a new hobby, nurture yourself.  Let your student see you as a role model.

9)      Resolve to review and/or rethink your ultimate goals for your college student. What do you really want for her from her college experience?  Is it all in her GPA?  Does it involve a career?  Life satisfaction?  Fulfillment?  Think long-term.

10)  Resolve to tell your college student as often as you can that you are proud of her and you know she’s accomplishing great things.

(adapted from College Parent Central)

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Stress-Less Holiday Plan

The holiday season can be stressful not just for your student, but for you as well. Here are some tips to manage your own stress:

  • Reserve some time to have fun. Make sure you spend some time with a friend or family member whose company you enjoy and that you do something for yourself.winterholiday
  • Adjust your expectations. There will probably be something that you would like to happen but will not. There will probably something that you do not want to happen that will.
  • Manage family interactions. Do you have a positive family member with whom you would like to spend time? How about a family member whose time you need to limit? Is there a dinner conversation that you may need to avoid?
  • Cope with loss or sadness. There may be someone you will miss during the holidays. Find an activity that will help you deal with the loneliness or loss in a healthy way.
  • Be true to yourself. Staying grounded in your values will help you manage your stress. What is one important personal value that you can practice this holiday season?
  • Plan a budget. What is an appropriate spending limit for gifts? What are other ways to express gratitude this holiday season without spending money?
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Ask Priscilla! How can I encourage my student to stay fit during the holidays?

It is tough when students head home for the holidays. They’ve finished finals and have time to relax. One problem with this down time is that students lose their regular routines. This may include interrupting great habits, such as exercising.

Here are some tips for you to share with your student to help them stay focused on health and fitness over the holidays. Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

Remember that as little as 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise is all it takes to stay healthy and on track. And you don’t even have to get all 30 minutes in at one time! Sprinkle in 10 minutes 3 times a day.

  • Go for a brisk walk or a jog
  • Ride a bike
  • Go for a hike
  • Dance
  • Play a sport – It is a great time to start an Annual Family Flag Football Game!
  • Help out with some yard work
  • Take the stairs
  • Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinect
  • Invite friends and family to exercise with you. It is more enjoyable when you can exercise and catch up with old friends at the same time.
  • Not every day you are active needs to be scheduled exercise. It’s the holidays, have fun with it!
  • Stay focused on healthy food choices.
  • REST…(yes, rest!) is a highly valuable component of health and fitness! Take advantage of the time off from classes and studying to get your sleep routine back on track.

Do you have a question for Priscilla?  Ask her at pchildress@missouristate.edu.

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Ask Priscilla! How can I manage my students independence vs. following my rules during the winter break?

Ah, the question most parents ask when it’s time for a break from school.  Your student is returning home after a semester of academic challenges and a whirlwind of activity. While you have been anticipating the wonderful interaction and quality time you will spend together, your student may be worn out after finals, worrying about grades, or contemplating changing majors. Don’t be shocked if he or she wants to hit the couch, turn on the TV and watch endless reruns of Parks & Rec.   Ask Priscilla_Avatar_MO

It doesn’t matter if your student is finishing their first semester of college or their seventh semester,  finding a workable balance for the household is very important.  Here are some tips to help you avoid a holiday clash with your college student:

  • Prepare yourself for surprises. Ask yourself “What if?” What if he wants to stay out all night? What if she spends all her time at her friend’s house? What if his friends hang out here until 4 in the morning?
  • Acknowledge their growing independence and their accomplishments. Acknowledge these changes in your conversations by changing “demands” to “choices” when negotiating new boundaries.
  • Become a good listener. Your student may want to discuss changing majors, new living arrangements, or personal relationships. Try to really understand what you student is saying and ask open-ended questions. Say, for example, “Tell me more about that,” or “How did you feel when that happened?”
  • Address specific topics you need to discuss. Some of these may include:
    Family time and expectations
    Social events
    Updates on majors and academic life
    Time management issues
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Students may be drained and running on empty. Give them time to refuel. This may mean biting your tongue if they sleep until 2 p.m. or their rooms look like the aftermath of a cyclone.

With a little preparation, you can avoid conflict and enjoy the holidays with your student.

Do you have a question for Priscilla? Ask her at pchildress@missouristate.edu.

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Managing Your Plate over the Holidays!


Colder weather means it’s time for comfort food and holiday cooking. But what does that mean when it comes to staying on track with eating healthy? Whether you are at a holiday gathering or at mom’s house for a home-cooked meal, try to build each plate like MyPlate.gov.

  •  ½ of your plate should be fruits and veggies, the more color on your plate, the more nutrients included. Choose seasonal fruits such as pears, apples, and cranberries while making sure to have something green on your plate at each meal!
  • ¼ of your plate should be grains, choosing whole grains as often as possible. Whole grain breads and brown rice can be incorporated and try some hot oats for breakfast to warm you up.
  • ¼ of your plate should be lean protein. Make sure to vary your protein sources and choose lean cuts of meat. To help eliminate some fat and calories, take the skin off of your turkey before you eat it.
  • Don’t forget the dairy! Whether you are cooking or baking, incorporate low-fat dairy. Low-fat dairy has the same amount of calcium and Vitamin D as full-fat dairy, just without the fat and calories!

If the food does not fall into one of these categories it is probably full of empty calories (high number of calories, low amount of nutrients) and should be eaten sparingly. Enjoy a piece of pumpkin pie, but stick to one piece to satisfy your sweet tooth.

(reprinted from the November 2014 edition of The Scoop, Missouri State Dining Services monthly newsletter)

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