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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
New Students and Family Programs

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Ask a Parent

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/newstudent/askaparent.html

 

Click the links below to see the answers to common parent questions as provided by parents of current Minnesota State University Mankato parents.

 

 

 

 

How much spending money does a student need/should a student have?

I leave that up to Sam. She has a job at home and what she makes during the summer is what she has to spend. We pay for what she needs (school, dorm, meal plan) and she pays for what she wants.
Samantha Ahler’s Mom- Burlington, WI

This depends on what you are willing to ask them to sacrifice or work for. Allotment for transportation and the occasional meal out is all that is required. They do need to splurge once in a while to keep their sanity and "fit-in".
Wendy Salter, daughter is first year photography/graphic arts major-Shakopee, MN

We did not factor in the student fees such as rugby that Stephanie is playing in Mankato and for her traveling while playing rugby and we didn't plan enough for her books the first semester. Also we didn't plan for the stuff she keeps in her refrigerator. We are trying to figure out a better budget for the next semester for her.
Connie Anderson, daughter Stephanie is a first year business major –Star Prairie, WI

Living in the residence halls with a meal plan means that his needs are taken care of. I think a few dollars for fun money is good and we transfer $25 a week into his account for that purpose. That gives him some pocket money without having enough money for too much fun.
Deb Mosby and Ted Tessier, son Alex Coe is a first year musical theatre major-Roseville, MN

We like to encourage our student to work over the summer to earn spending money for college. We feel that gives him responsibility and accountability for his spending. Whether living on or off campus, the dining services on- campus offer reasonable choices, which helps keep down the "extra spending"!
Nancy, son Jared is a second year student majoring in business-North Dakota

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How many times and when should I contact my student in the first semester?

As often as he needs...calling every other day at first unless he calls me. Once he came home, he seemed to need me less and we talk less often. I still make a point of calling him about every 5 days and realize he’ll need less and less contact.
Denise Sullivan, parent of a first year student- Lakeville,MN


We had an agreement that our student would call every Sunday, and he was really good with that.
Joni in Chisago City, MN

Listen at orientation, as hard as it may be, and let them contact you the first few weeks. After that, set up what works with your schedule and theirs so it becomes routine.
Wendy Salter, daughter is first year photography/graphic arts major-Shakopee, MN

Our daughter has always looked forward to going away to school and the first three weeks of college she didn't want to come home but we were able to connect via the cell phone which really helped. Family Weekend was ideal in actually seeing her face and that she was comfortable at school. I guess a parent has to go by the tone of their voice and if they seem excited about their classes and friends.
Connie Anderson, daughter Stephanie is a first year business major –Star Prairie, WI

During the first semester I feel parents should make a huge attempt to attend the Family Weekend in October. This gives students about 6 weeks to settle before they see their family which seems like a good amount of time.
Jan & John Pratt , son John is first year student, undecided major -Lakeville, MN

Let the student contact you. Let them know that you would appreciate a quick call every so often. I think it is unrealistic to expect to hear from them everyday, but I think that they should call you because you don’t know their schedule, etc. Don’t let them come home every weekend. Encourage them to stay and go out of their way to meet new people, especially when they call and say “there’s nobody here”. It’s hard, but they learn and appreciate the fact that you made them stick it out.
Denise and Jeff, daughter Avery is a first year mass communication major with an emphasis in journalism- Plymouth, MN

How often you contact your student depends on how often you talked when they were at home. We talked more frequently at first because there were new things Eric, our son, he wanted to tell us about right away. Toward the end of the semester, he has contacted us with news and we have contacted him for information (setting up timing for a visit, for example). It is tempting to call frequently, but it is not welcome by the student who may feel as though you are "hovering."
Lin Nelson-Mayson and Bill Mayson, son Eric Mayson is a fisrt year student majoring in theater-Golden Valley, MN

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What is the best way to connect with my student?

Text messaging is fantastic! Gives them time to answer when they can.
Joni in Chisago City, MN

Phone calls and little mail packages that have a favorite food - just to say " I am thinking of you".
Samantha Ahler’s Mom-Burlington, WI

An open mind and very open communication. Let them know your expectations and really hear what their expectations are. Be open to hearing things you may not want to hear, they may be very important to your son/daughter. Be willing to compromise what's best for all in the big picture.
Wendy Salter, daughter is first year photography/graphic arts major-Shakopee, MN

One thing I have found out with the three children of mine that are in or went to college (we have five altogether) is that they enjoy real mail - and they enjoy it alot! (Even though they don't like to write back). Cell phones are also great for keeping in touch and gave lots of peace of mind to us as parents.
Connie Anderson, daughter Stephanie is a first year business major –Star Prairie, WI

Any way we can. When he needed some things, we sent some care packages. Mac and cheese, microwave soups, a basket of fruit and of course an extra $10.00. We try to stay with him on email, by texting or by phone and have tried to be patient when he hasn't had time for us.
Deb Mosby and Ted Tessier, son Alex Coe is a first year musical theatre major-Roseville, MN

Connect by keeping up with things that are happening at the campus. Read the web page, read the mailings, go to Family Weekend. Send emails just to say hi. College kids really do look forward to snail mail, send a card or a small package, if they are in the theater or the arts, go to the plays and concerts.
Denise and Jeff, daughter Avery is a first year mass communication major with an emphasis in journalism- Plymouth, MN

I use e-mail and calling on the cellphone and letting them know you are on the other end of the line 24 X 7 X 365, ready to support them with encouragement and prayers whenever needed. I also send greeting cards, some encouraging some humorous.
Terry, son Braden is a sophomore majoring in computer science-Lake Elmo, MN 

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Tips for supporting a younger student who’s still living at home after my student has entered college?

 

Make sure they can call/text their sibling. My boys talked/texted to each other much more than we knew… and usually late at night!
Joni in Chisago City, MN

Our younger daughter is 2 years younger and misses her sister terribly, even after this 1st semester of the second year completed. The girls email each other and call each other if they need to talk. Our younger seems lost in the house. We try to give her space and figure out all of our new positions in the family.
Samantha Ahler’s Mom-Burlington, WI

Don't forget to make a big deal about the younger student starting well before the elder goes off to college. When children are close, like ours, there tends to be a bit of an adjustment with the new "only child" status.
Deb Mosby and Ted Tessier, son Alex Coe is a first year musical theatre major-Roseville, MN 

 

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Tips for adjusting to the empty nest?
 

 

Cry. I take comfort in the notion that by letting go, they will return a more mature young adult that you will be so proud of and glad that you were able to help mold them.
Samantha Ahler’s Mom-Burlington, WI


Be active with things you're passionate about! Attend the Family Weekends. Be proud of your accomplishment in raising an extraordinary young adult!
Wendy Salter, daughter is first year photography/graphic arts major-Shakopee, MN

Each child that has gone off to college has been traumatic for me - Mom. I have now been a mom for 34 years and each child is special to me that I am pretty melancholy after they go off to school. However, I am realizing that there is a life past that of having kids at home and I am revelling in being Mom to the youngest and supporting him in all his activities like I did his siblings. I realize that the others are happy and adjusting to their schooling of choice and there is perhaps a time coming where my husband and I can actually do things just for us and because we want to be together. We are starting to make time for each other now which is really great.
Connie Anderson, daughter Stephanie is a first year business major –Star Prairie, WI

I think we are still figuring that out. There is such a mixture of emotions. It is not always easy to balance those feelings of pride and accomplishment with the emptiness of missing our son. When and if we learn the secret we will pass it on.
Deb Mosby and Ted Tessier, son Alex Coe is a first year musical theatre major-Roseville, MN

Remember you raised them to be independent adults and college is basically the last stepping stone. Be proud of your accomplishment, and take care of yourself after years of putting the kids first.
Parents of Collin Harding, sophomore philosophy, political science, and economics major- Port Barrington, IL

 

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Words of wisdom in helping your student transition during the first year of college?

Let them know you’re always here for them, night or day...any hour of the day. No problem is too big, and judgement can be put aside.
Denise Sullivan, parent of first year student-Lakeville, MN

Give them space and lots of encouragement. Tell them to go out and make new friends. Applaud their individual achievements and support the learning of their mistakes.
Samantha Ahler’s Mom-Burlington, WI

Be very supportive with their new roller coaster life. They are just as nervous and excited about the transition, new life/adventure as you are, even if they don't admit it. Most think of the new beginning/transition as an adventure, then they crash and start realizing what real life and responsibility means. Send care packages and food back from a visit, they may grumble about the space, but will call and thank you for it later!
Wendy Salter, daughter is first year photography/graphic arts major-Shakopee, MN

We’ve tried to help our student by reminding them that they are in college to study so study hard and we will try to make it as easy for you as we can if you do your part as well. We are always here for you and we know you will always try to do the right thing, work hard, be respectful of your professors and fellow students and know that if you have any problem you can call on us at any time. You will meet many different kinds of people and will hear many different ways of thinking but continue to be honorable and truthful. When you are at school, you are in charge of your life and your time - when you come home, house rules still apply. Find a major that you will enjoy and that will support you now and in the future. Know that God loves you and so do we!
Connie Anderson, daughter Stephanie is a first year business major –Star Prairie, WI

Students should try to attend all the wonderful events sponsored by the college, particularly the first week and use the facilities such as the recreation center so they feel they are a part of the campus. This is a four-year window to really explore what interests them so use it to the fullest potential!
Jan & John Pratt , son John is first year student, undecided major -Lakeville, MN

Remember that all of those years of raising your child was to prepare them for this moment in life. They are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing, so let them have some freedom. It is time to trust them to make good decisions and be available if they make mistakes.
Deb Mosby and Ted Tessier, son Alex Coe is a first year musical theatre major-Roseville, MN

Be there for them when they call home. Don’t try to solve their problems, listen. Sometimes they just want to get something off their chest and they just need someone to listen. Let them solve their problems by talking things over with you, don’t solve it for them. Congratulate them on the good stuff. Let them know you love them and that they will always be a part of the family, no matter where they are living. When they come home to visit, slip them 10 bucks, it makes them feel not so poor. Be there, just don’t smother them. They can do it!!
Denise and Jeff, daughter Avery is a first year mass communication major with an emphasis in journalism- Plymouth, MN

I would suggest being supportive when they call about anything college related, i.e., from friends to classes, etc. Let them do the talking and if they ask you for advice, then give it to them. Also, try not to get too snoopy! They are trying to be independent and make their own decisions for the first time and it’s not a good thing to ask them 50 million questions. I also compliment both of my college students when they are getting good grades and confirm the importance of studying and getting good grades – don’t just skate by and party too much. I also encouraged them to have fun, join college activities, but make sure to organize your day and time in order to prevent being stressed out. I also sent a few text messages and emails, just telling them that I was thinking about him and hoping everything is going well. If you hear they are struggling in a class, suggest they get on it right away, by visiting an advisor, or check on getting a tutor. No matter what, be positive with your student!
Michelle, son Cory is a first year secondary education major- Crystal, MN

I would encourage EVERY STUDENT, whether they live at home, apartment or dorm to GET INVOLVED in something...intramurals, clubs, student senate, etc. Anything that connects them back to the University is beneficial.
Nancy, son Jared is a second year student majoring in business-North Dakota

Tell the student to ask for help when needed; there are many others who are in the same situation. Offer guidelines and then let them fly or fail. Don't do for them although it is hard to watch the struggle. It makes the successive years that much easier.
Parents of Collin Harding, sophomore philosophy, political science, and economics major- Port Barrington, IL

Ashley's father and I really believe that the more they get involved with the different activities the more fun, better friends and the schooling will all come together. This way they have different outs for all the different situations that come their way. So far so good. We are 2 for 2.
Joleen Hatten, daughter Ashley Hatten is a first year student majoring in mass communication-Hutchinson, MN

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