See also: MSUB Parent & Family Programs

Advice on Advising your Student


a MSUB student studying in her residence hall romom
Going to college can trigger a number of changes among students, parents, and siblings. First year students are probably excited about getting out on their own, but they are usually nervous, too. Here are some tips for parents.

Roommate conflicts are going to happen.
Encourage your student to talk out issues with their roommate. If problems continue, encourage your student to contact their Resident Assistant for assistance. Remember Housing can't help if we haven't heard from the student.

College classes are supposed to be more difficult than high school.
College means having to learn new ways to study, take notes, and manage time. The adjustment can take time and self-discipline, but help is also easily available. You can advise your student to check out the resources MSUB has to offer. We can help with tutoring, study skills and note taking tips. We also have the Academic Support Center for help on college papers and more.

It's normal for students question their future and what they want to do.
Help your student settle on their major by encouraging your student to visit Advising and Career Services or talk with their academic advisor. Remind your student that changing a major is very common and that college is the perfect time to explore different career options.

While your loved one is now on their own, they may still need help with finances and learning how to budget money.
Help your student develop a workable and realistic budget and determine how much you can afford to contribute to your student's education and how much has to be covered by loans, scholarships, grants, or part-time jobs.

Everyone adjusts differently to college.
It's normal to be homesick, but there are simple things you can do to help alleviate homesickness. Here are a few tips:


  • Send hand written notes, even a postcard
  • Try to commit to sending a letter to your students once a month; it will brighten their day!
  • Keep in touch using email, instant messaging and web chats, social networking sites, etc.
  • Pick a time in the day when you and your student can share a conversation over the phone.
  • Send a care package, even if you live in the Billings area. Student address:

    Student Name
    Petro or Rimrock Hall, Room #
    Montana State University Billings
    1500 University Drive
    Billings, MT 59101


  • Be open minded that your student may change and evolve into a new person.
  • Be understanding with your student and yourself.  You both may have difficulty with a few of these changes and adapting to the new lifestyle.
  • Be patient with these changes and difficulties your students may have adjusting to their first year at college.


  • Be there! Students will often turn to the safety of family when times are tough, and it is important to know that you will always remain close to them.
  • Encourage your student to share the good things that they are experiencing while they are at school.
  • Realize that although your students may not tell you that they appreciate you, they truly do.
  • The weather may cause them to be depressed, so be sure to support them.


  • Talk to your students to see what they are involved with on campus and attend events that they may be participating in.
  • Call your students occasionally about a visit and maybe a dinner out and a trip to the movies.
  • Come to campus to visit your student and get the grand tour of the campus and the residence halls.


  • Don't be afraid to let your students make a mistake.
  • Give them time to find solutions to their problem their own way while they are at college.
  • Let them make their own decisions.
    When you share your opinion, thoughts, and values with your students, encourage them to utilize on-campus resources, advisers, or support services.


  • Have faith in your student's ability to make their own decisions.
  • Your student may be experiencing a great deal of independence for the first time. Some may handle this new found sense of independence well, and get involved in activities and make friends, whereas others may find it challenging to adjust to a new environment.
  • Remember, that although we want our students to call home every day and hear about their triumphs and tribulation, there may be times when they just need to have some time to themselves.
  • Ask questions and offer advice, but avoid telling them what to do.
  • Tell them you trust them to make the best decision or to do the right thing. 

 If you are worried that your loved one is having a particularly difficult time making a successful transition to college, please contact us. We can assist your student in connecting with other students or help them gain access to free counseling services or additional support. Remember, we are here to help your student be successful.

 Student Health 101