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Q: I’m applying for a PhD program but I do not know how to approach a professor appropriately. Could you please share some tips?

A:: You can check out our short guide on how to contact a professor here, or contact us for more specific discussion on your case.

Q: What else do you need to do before coming to Mizzou?

A: As soon as you receive the admission letter from the University of Missouri-Columbia, contact us at VI or contact VSA Board and subscribe to the mailing list of Vietnamese community at MU to introduce yourself and ask any questions. We will then connect you with those from your city in Vietnam, if any, so that you can meet each other prior to your departure.

Inform us about your arrival time, so that we can pick you up at the airport, or help you book a shuttle bus (EZGo Bus or MoX) from the airport to Columbia.

Check out information about housing and living in Columbia in our guidelines. Do it as soon as possible to make sure you have a place to live when you come to Columbia.

Confirm that you have all required immunizations.

Activate your MU username (we call it PawPrint): Memorize your pawprint and password — they allow you to register for classes, request transcripts online, check grades, access e-mail and more.

You can also check the Pre-arival checklist of the International Center.

Q: What other things that you need to do after your arrival at Mizzou?
A: Register for courses as soon as possible.

Attend orientations which are usually organized at the beginning of a semester.

Obtain a student ID card (Tiger card) at the MU Bookstore. The TigerCard is used for meal plans, checking out library books, charging or debiting University purchases to your University account, and more. You can get your card as soon as you’re officially enrolled as a student.

Apply for social security number as soon as possible

Q: What should you do in your first semester at Mizzou?

A: Expecting that the first semester will be relatively difficult for you as you will be in a new environment. You have homework/ assignments every week with a significant amout of reading so you should take extra focus to keep up with the pace, alongside with settling down your life in Columbia. Do not sign up for too many classes during the first semester. Keep it at a minimum requirement level to give you time to get used to the American style. You can decide whether or not to increase the number of classes for the following semester depending on your ability. Check the Enrollment guidelines from the International Center to meet minimum and maximum amount of credits you can take per semester as an international student.

Q: What should you consider when you register for classes?

A: Keep it focus. You might see many classes you want to take because they all seem so interesting to you and it’s hard to resist. You also strongly feel that you should take the advantage of being here in US to study everything you have ever been interested in. However, in the early days, you should primarily focus on your specific area before wandering around with other classes. You should think hard before signing up for a class. Look at the class description adn syllabus and ask yourself what specifically this class will help you in your future career in term of knowledge and/or skills. Are those knowledge/skills essential to your career? In other words, can you live without them? Answering these questions seriously and only sign up for classes that will potentially very important to your future career. Once you own the pace, you can choose take more classes out of your field.

Q: What if I get lost in campus?

A: Computer sites are located in many places around campus; so you can login with your paw-print and password, which have been given to you even before your arrival, to search for campus map and get direction.

Mizzou Campus Map

Q: How can I borrow books?

A: The easiest way to borrow books is to login the University’s library website with your PawPrint and password, and then search for the book that you need. If the book is available in the Ellis Library and marked as “not checked out”, jot down its call number, look it up to see where it is located (2 East or 3 East), then go find it and check it out at the Circulation Desk on the first floor. For checked out books, you can make a “call-back” request at the Circulation Desk so that the borrower will return it earlier than the due date shown in the catalog. If the book is from other libraries within the MERLIN system (known as Missouri Education and Research Libraries Information Network), you can request it online. If the book is not available in the MERLIN system, you can search for it in MOBIUS and request it online. Otherwise, you can use the InterLibrary Loan (ILL) to request the books that are not available in the three aforementioned resources. You will need your student number when making online request for books. Choose the Ellis Library as the pickup location. If you have any questions, just ask someone at the Reference Desk inside the library. They are of great help.

Q: Where can I look for fun activities to join for free?

The University of Missouri-Columbia offers a lot of events for students each semester. Frequent the university calendar to find about these events to join for fun. Free food, free movies, free games, and free workshops are often provided through the semesters.

Mizzou Stuff To Do

Mizzou Event Calendar

You can also do exercises in the Recreation Center. The University of Missouri-Columbia Recreation Center is one of the five best recreation centers in the US. The fee is compulsory for every student and is charged to your student account. So try to make use of it because you have to pay anyway. The Recreation Center, also known as Rec Center, has a gym room where you can run on more than 30 treadmills and watch TV at the same time, a pump room where you can do your workout, a martial art room where you can learn martial art for free, as well as indoor rock climbing, badminton, table tennis, squash, basket ball yards and a very big compound of swimming pools. You can swim either in the 50-meter competitive pool or in the Grotto pool and enjoy sauna or hot tub with no additional charge.

Columbia coffee shops and bars offer live music every weekend. Restaurant offers happy hours mostly from 2pm to 4pm where you can have everything at half price.

Q: What if I want to find some part time jobs?

A: The University of Missouri - Columbia has a Career Center, where you can get help with your CV, job application, job interview etc. You can find a list of part time job opportunities advertised on the Career Center website, and easily send an electronic application through your job account created in the University of Missouri-Columbia.

International students can work on campus for a maximum of only 20 hours a week. Most popular jobs are found in the dining hall, coffee shops, bookstores etc. You can also find some graduate assistantships on Mizzou recruitment pages.

Career Center

Hire Mizzou Tigers

Q: What should you do when you have a problem?

A: When you have a problem, talk to someone you can trust. Don’t keep problems to yourself. Consider other people’s advice, especially when you hear the same thing from different people. Fix the problem when it’s small and don’t let it out of control.

At MU, there are some resources that can offer you professional help, such as Learning Center, Counseling Center. Especially, Vietnam Institute (@ 16 Stewart Hall) is always available for you. You can come to talk to Dr. Joe Hobbs and other GRAs working there. Dr. Joe Hobbs is the mentor of all the Vietnamese at MU, and you are always welcomed there.

Again, if you are applying to Mizzou and you need help from here, contact our Graduate Assistant here.

(Photos credits to Hai T. Nguyen and Quyen Nguyen)