Parent Frequently Asked Questions

The Resource Guide is a source of much information and resources. We’ve also compiled a list of the most common questions we receive from parents and families. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please let us know at parents@mst.edu.

Academic Support / Student Behavior

It is common for students to experience a discrepancy between high school grades and initial college academic performance. Students may need to seek new ways of learning and tools for studying. If your student is having problems adjusting academically, you might suggest that he or she:

Students wondering about their major and career options may take advantage of career counseling at Counseling Services. Typically, career counseling explores personal and professional goals and how to achieve them. Individuals may complete interest inventories to help clarify their likes and dislikes and occupational "matches." Individual and group formats of career counseling are available.  Students can also find valuable information through Career Opportunities and Employer Relations. Students interested in changing their major should visit their academic advisor for specific information about the program they wish to join and complete the Undergraduate Request to Change Majors.

If your student is having trouble with determining their area of study, please contact:

The Office of the Dean of Students is committed to enhancing the academic mission of the university by creating and maintaining a safe, positive and productive living and learning community. The Standard of Conduct defines behavior expected of all University of Missouri students. The Office of the Dean of Students is committed to fostering an educational and developmental process that positively influences their decisions as adults. Information pertaining to the Office of the Dean of Students, Community Standards, and Student Conduct is available online at dos.mst.edu

The Student Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities Statement is provided to educate students, faculty and staff on expectations of behavior while engaged in community development.

For more information contact: Office of the Dean Of Students, 107 Norwood Hall, dos@mst.edu, 573-341-4209

Students are responsible for knowing and complying with the entirety of the Student Academic Regulations, comprised of eleven sections including: notifications, registration, schedules, changes in schedules, absences, withdrawals, examinations, grades, unsatisfactory work, probation, and discipline.  For more information, contact the Office of the Registrar, (573)341-4362, registrar@mst.edu

 Many students feel anxious when they take their first college exams or tests. Anxiety may be caused when the student doesn't know what a professor expects, how a test will be designed, or what to study. Professors normally discuss the content and format of the exam before it takes place, but students may start worrying early, nonetheless. If your student seems particularly worried about a test, you might suggest to your student that he or she:

  • Talk to the instructor. The class syllabus includes the instructor's office hours, email address, and telephone number, and the student should feel free to contact the professor to discuss an upcoming test.
  • Visit the Student Success Center to develop new test-taking strategies, or learn ways to overcome test anxiety.
  • Contact Disability Services to see if your student needs formal accommodations.
  • Connect with Care Management to find resources and individual or group counseling services for test anxiety.

 

The Office of the Registrar offers Academic Calendar information, with important dates and deadlines.

Although there is not a Dean's List at Missouri S&T, students may be recognized for academic excellence through their department, or graduate with honors based on their GPA. The Honors Academy offers students the opportunity to be a part of a community of outstanding scholars who are seeking an enhanced educational experience, and will earn the distinction of "Honors Academy Fellow" at graduation. For more information about The Honors Academy, visit Academic Support, 105 Norwood Hall, 573-341-7276, or academicsupport@mst.edu.

From the Missouri S&T Mathematics Department:  It is not at all unusual for math courses at a university to not allow the use of calculators in courses at the level of the Calculus sequence and below.  Many calculators these days can perform rather complicated tasks like differentiation and integration of functions and row reduction of matrices.  These are skills that students must learn to perform by hand in order to (1) show their understanding of how and why these processes work, and (2) be able to move on to higher level mathematics, science, and engineering.  Once a student learns these basic ideas, they WILL be allowed the use of a calculator in their applied courses in science and engineering.  Calculator use is allowed, and in fact, encouraged, in applied courses since actual values are used in problems in these areas, and actual values can be messy.

 

It could be argued that perhaps we could allow either rudimentary or scientific calculators and not the type that will take derivatives or graph (some are even communication devices!).  The issue with doing that is we would have to police the types of calculators students are using, and this is not feasible, especially in a large testing situation where we have a couple hundred students in a room.  We’ve tried it before, and doing this can be a real mess, with students claiming to not know what type was allowed and what type was not.

 

On math exams at S&T in most courses, the instructor will carefully set up the problems so that no calculator is needed at all, nor will one even be useful.  We don’t ask students to do tedious arithmetic on a Calculus exam, since that is not what is being taught.  Problems are created to give “nice” solutions -- if the answer is meant to be a number, it will be something like -3/10 rather than 4.2178.  In our math courses, we are not focusing on arithmetic.  Instead, we guide students to become creative problem solvers, and see the logic in a process of steps.  We grade based on the process a student uses to get to an answer.  In general, only a couple of points are awarded for a numerical answer itself, while the majority of the points for a problem are earned by showing all the steps to get to that answer.

 

Another reason for not allowing calculators is that they can give “solutions” that are misleading or even incorrect.  Most graphing calculators will give a pretty incoherent graph for anything that is piecewise defined, but students accustomed to using a calculator for everything will just copy that graph as an answer even though it doesn’t make any sense.  The same thing happens when a problem perhaps has no solution, but a calculator will perhaps give a solution that is outside the reasonable scope of the problem, and a student is likely to write down this incorrect solution without once considering whether or not it makes sense.  Students who use calculators for everything become far too reliant on them.

 

Finally, if a student regularly uses a calculator for simple arithmetic, this practice will end up slowing the student down drastically as the student moves further into their studies.  Also, the student will not develop good estimation skills.  For example, a student should think of (pi) squared as being a little larger than 9, since pi is a little larger than 3.  This sort of thinking is extremely useful.  Those reliant on a calculator will punch in pi, square it, and not really develop a sense of estimation.  When they get a solution for a problem, they may not be able to tell if this solution is about what they “expected” to get, and if they made a mistake, they probably won’t have a sense that the answer is incorrect.

 

Calculators are VERY useful, of course, especially in applied problems as the student moves into their specialty area.  But in the Calculus sequence and below, students are developing their basic understanding of concepts, and calculators are generally not of much use for that.  And at the worst, calculator use can prevent a student from learning the very skills they need to move forward.

Attending class is important for your student's academic success. Individual faculty members have different rules and guidelines on expectations for attendance in their class; these are typically outlined in the class syllabus. It is the discretion of each instructor to excuse the absence or allow make-up work for missed assignments and exams. Your student is responsible for notifying their instructor(s), preferably ahead of time, of class absence(s) and should discuss their specific circumstance.

If your student will be absent for three or more consecutive days, and the absence is due to illness or another emergency, your student may contact Care Management, to request an absence notification be issued to their current instructors and academic advisor. If your student is unable to contact the Care Manager, the absence notification may be requested by someone on their behalf. A copy of the notice will be sent to your student, and it will be their responsibility to follow-up with instructors as soon as possible to discuss options for missed work. The Care Manager will typically contact your student after notification is issued to offer support and assistance as they resume their academic responsibilities.

Additionally, if your student visits Student Health Services, they may request a written confirmation of their visit for an illness or injury during the time of their office visit. Students should be aware that neither the Care Manager nor Student Health Services have the authority to grant excuses/exemptions from class, those decisions remain with the faculty member. Absences shorter than three days can be addressed directly with the instructor per their established attendance policy. If circumstances arise that make this challenging, contact the Care Manager for assistance.

Care Management, (573) 341-4211, cm@mst.edu

Student Health Services, (573)341-4284, mstshs@mst.edu 

The Mathematics Department gives exams to students in quarantine, and faculty assist in making sure that students' needs are met. The S&T Testing Center is typically used to give Zoom proctored exams, so no quarantined students are disadvantaged.  Coordinating with the Testing Center relies on timely communication, which requires that the student provides advance notice. Students are encouraged to give professors as much notice as possible if they will be absent on the day a test is scheduled.

The syllabus for all foundational math classes includes language that says the following:

  1. "Your lowest exam score will be dropped at the end of the semester. This accommodates students who miss an exam, or do not perform well on an exam, for any reason that is beyond their control. Furthermore, if you are satisfied with the scores on your first four exams, then you do not need to take the final exam."
  2. "Missed exams will not be given. If the University provides the instructor with an official notification that you are unable to take an exam in person by 4:30 PM one business day prior to the exam, the instructor will email you with instructions concerning alternate testing accommodations at the same day and time as the regularly scheduled test.

Problems, when they arise, almost invariably happen when a student contacts a professor on the day of the test (sometimes just moments before the test) and requests a testing accommodation.  The Math Department faculty work diligently with such students whenever possible, even when they don't provide sufficient notice. The faculty communicate this testing policy to their students from the very first day of class, and strive to be as accommodating, flexible, and compassionate as possible.

Additional Access / Legal Documents

Missouri S&T students can grant other users direct and authorized online access to their student information in Joe'SS.  This could include account information, academic information, directory information, and financial aid. Click here for more information.

1. Healthcare Proxy (also referred to as a healthcare agent or medical power of attorney, a healthcare power of attorney, or durable power of attorney for health care)

This authorizes a designated agent (often a parent) to make medical decisions on behalf of your student, and it gives the agent access to your student's medical records and the ability to converse with their medical health providers. By signing a healthcare proxy, your student is appointing someone to act on their behalf in making medical decisions in case they cannot make those decisions.  Healthcare proxies are state specific, and each state has different laws governing its execution.

2. HIPPAA (Health Insuarance Portability and Accountability Act) Authorization (often called a HIPAA release)

This permits healthcare providers to disclose your student's health information to anyone they specify.  A stand-alone HIPPAA authorization (meaning that it is not incorporated into a broader legal document like a healthcare proxy) does not have to be notarized or witnessed.

3. Durable Power of Attorney (Durable POA)

This enables a designated agent to make financial decisions on the student's behalf.  The POA can provide that power vests immediately after signing, or only if the signer becomes incapacitated.  The POA enables the designated agent to, among other things, sign tax returns, access bank accounts, and pay bills. Durable POA forms vary by state.  In some states the medical POA (healthcare proxy) can be included in the Durable POA.

Each state has its own variations of these forms and the way they can be combined, so it is important to consult your individual state's laws or speak to an attorney.

Financial Resources

There are many different programs that students can take advantage of to meet their education costs. Many Missouri S&T students receive a combination of merit-based scholarships, federal need based assistance, and scholarships and grants for Missouri residents through Student Financial Assistance. Students interested in working can find full-time, co-op, and internship employment opportunities at Career Opportunities and Employer Relations.

If your student is struggling with financial concerns with school, please contact:

Payment and billing is handled by the Cashier's Office. Please click here for a guide to paying fees and general payment information.

Student Financial Assistance has information about numerous scholarship opportunities. Click here for a complete listing of scholarships.

Health & Safety

Disenchantment with college can be caused by a wide variety of factors:  academic stress, relationship issues, peer pressure, or homesickness are just a few examples. You might want to ask your student if he or she is feeling homesick or missing friends or a significant other.  Some resources you could suggest:

If your student has lost enthusiasm for school or is suffering from homesickness, please contact:

When a student is away at college, major events in the family can be especially difficult to handle.  The distance from home and inability to assist his or her family during these tough times may leave a student feeling helpless, guilty, angry or alone.  Your student may find it difficult to share these feelings with you or other family members.  Counseling Services provides both individual and group counseling services to help support students.

If family concerns are affecting your student, he or she may want to talk with:

Your student can make an appointment with Counseling Services, Care Management, or Student Health Services:

Attending class is expected.  Faculty members will have different rules and guidelines for expectations of attendance in their classroom.  These should be outlined in the class syllabus.  It is the responsibility of the student to contact their professor(s), preferably ahead of time, regarding class absence(s), and to make the appropriate arrangements to make up any missed course work and or exam. However, if a student is too ill, they should visit Student Health Services for verification that the absence was due to an illness or injury.  If requested, a written verification can be provided to the student at the time of the office visit.

It is the discretion of each instructor to excuse the absence. Student Health Services does not have the authority to grant excuses/exemptions from class. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with their instructor about absence from class and make arrangements for missed assignments.

Students may contact Care Management to assist with complex medical needs, extended absences, and coordination of care.

If your student is involved in a non-vehicular accident resulting from, arising out of, and directly relating to the University's premises (owned, rented or leased) students will need to complete the STUDENT OR GENERAL PUBLIC INJURY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE REPORT. Students should contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs to report this matter. In addition, students can visit Student Health Services for evaluation and treatment of their injury.

 

Missouri S&T places a high priority on the personal safety of its students.  The University Police Department is committed to providing a secure campus. However, being a new student in a new environment can sometimes be intimidating. If you or your student has any safety concerns, please make your student aware of the many security awareness and crime prevention programs and materials University Police offer. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Rave Guardian App - A free mobile app that turns your student's smartphone into a personal safety device. By downloading the app, students can add friends and family to their network as "guardians" to virtually walk with them on or off campus. The app also has a safety feature that connects to the police in an emergency and allows the ability to text the S&T Police Department a tip regarding any concerns or suspicious situations.
  • Campus Safety - The University Police Department offers to students, faculty, and staff crime prevention programs and information that is useful in the protection of property and contribute to the physical well-being of the campus community.

For more information on student safety, contact: University Police, (573) 341-4300, police@mst.edu

 

Students who feel that they have been discriminated against may file a grievance or informal concern/complaint by completing this form. The University's Equity and Title IX Office can be contacted for more information. Additionally, support services through Counseling Services and Care Management may be helpful to your student.

Housing / Meal Plans

Conflict with a roommate can arise because of misunderstanding, unwillingness to compromise, and personality differences. These conflicts can quickly spin out of control if they are not addressed. If your college student complains to you about a problematic roommate:

  • Ask if they have spoken to their Resident Assistant (RA) on their floor.  RA's are trained to help students solve roommate problems.
  • Suggest they talk to their Resident Director (RD) for more help if they're still having problems after working with the RA.
  • Direct them to the Office of Residential Life. Staff members can help roommates in conflict resolve their differences, or work with other mediators in Counseling Services (generally, Residential Life mediates only when RA's and RD's are unable to bring the parties in conflict to some sort of agreement).
  • Students may wish to visit Counseling Services to participate in some of their outreach programs including issues involving dealing with difficult people and group dynamics.

For more information on roommate issues, please contact:

 

For information about meal plans, dining locations, Declining Balance Dollars (DBD's), Miner Bucks, and food choices (particularly allergies, gluten sensitivity, or healthy eating) please click here.

The Rolla Postmaster has advised that any letters or packages that contain items of value should include a tracking number when mailed.  For a full list of residence hall mailing addresses visit https://reslife.mst.edu/resourcesandforms/mailingaddress/

Student Involvement

If your college student is having trouble socially, you might suggest some of the following ways to meet new friends on campus:

Counseling Services is a great resource for addressing concerns through personal counseling in areas of self-exploration, college adjustment, feelings of depression and anxiety, interpersonal issues, or self-esteem.

For more information about social adjustment, please contact: