Transitioning to MSU — For Students and Families

Health and Well-being Guide Preview Whether you are contemplating a move to MSU, supporting an incoming MSU student, or are new to MSU, there are several resources available to help ensure that the transition of care, as well as the physical and emotional transition to MSU, is positive and successful. 

Check out our Guide to Health and Well-Being at MSU below to learn more about the services and resources available to you. You'll also find information about how to transition your health care to MSU or how to continue with a provider from back home. 

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Change is hard. Here are some tips to help you through.

We get it. And we're here to help students and their families take a deep breath and rest easy knowing there are resources and services specifically designed to help students stay well and succeed. See what we recommend to help make the transition to MSU a smooth one. 


Tips for Students                  Tips for Families



Get to know our services and resources.

In this video for New Student Orientation, we talk about many of the resources University Health and Wellbeing has to offer for students. Watch the video below!



Your health is a big part of your success.

The five departments that make up Student Health and Wellness — Health Services, Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), Health Promotion, Center for Survivors, and Safe Place — are here for you year-round. Together, we work to help you develop healthy behaviors, manage your mental health, connect you with the most appropriate care for your needs, get immediate support in a crisis, and more .


    The Student Health Services team provides preventative health care and services for illness and injuries. Services (available by appointment) include:

    Registered MSU students are not charged for the first three medical office visits each academic year. (Some services, such as laboratory tests or X-rays, are billed separately).

    Five locations for your convenience.

    Map of campus with Olin Health Center and the neighborhoods highlighted

    Olin Health Center is our main location, and there are four other clinic locations in the MSU neighborhoods. All locations are available for students seeking treatment for illnesses or minor injuries. Students can request their most convenient location and a favorite provider. Visits likely to require X-rays or extensive lab work will be scheduled at Olin.

    For travel-related needs, the MSU Travel Clinic through the Office of the University Physician is also located within Olin Health Center. 


    The Health Promotion department helps MSU students reach an optimal and dynamic state of well-being that allows them to reach their full potential and find academic success. Many services — guided by real-world data about students’ health and behaviors — are free of charge.


    • Individual education
    • Duck Days and Duck Hunts
    • Know Your Solo activity
    • Spartan Smart class



    • Individualized recovery planning
    • Wellness and life skills workshops
    • Sober social events
    • Recovery housing
    • Recovery ally training
    • Spartans’ Organization for All Recovery (SOAR)*



    • Nutrition Counseling
    • Peer Body Project
    • Students Empowering Body Acceptance (SEBA)*



    • 1-on-1 Educational Meetings
    • Condom Connection
    • Sexual health resources



    • Comprehensive fitness assessments
    • Thrive! Be Fit, Be Well
    • Wellness coaching
    • ACTIVE Spartans
    • Exercise is Medicine on Campus (EIMOC)*



    • Campus-based food distributions(by appointment only)
    • Food and related items at no cost
    • College & University Food Bank Alliance co-founder



    • Programs aimed at improving MSU students’ health
    • Provides a student perspective on health initiatives and communication


    *Registered student organization



    CAPS works to connect students with the most appropriate available care for their health, well-being, and success. Counseling services (such as individual, group, or relationship counseling) are free for students. Services available include:


    • Free and confidential
    • 10- to 15-minute consultation with a CAPS counselor
    • Open to all enrolled MSU students



    • Non-judgmental counseling and support
    • Counselors who work from a multicultural perspective



    • Evaluation and treatment, including prescribing medication, lab orders, and referrals to other professionals
    • First three visits are free for enrolled MSU students*



    • Support and information about transferring the ongoing management of ADD or ADHD medication to MSU.



    • Individual or group psychotherapy
    • Psychiatric services
    • Support system interventions
    • Case management & advocacy
    • Student-centered hospitalization support and coordination (if needed)



    • Help for connecting with off-campus therapeutic or psychiatric care
    • Available to MSU students and their spouses or partners.



    • Listening spaces for students to share and connect
    • Presentations and training for campus and community partners



    • 24/7 crisis counseling
    • Text, hotline, online chat, and other resources
    • Safety planning resources
    * Does not apply to Lifelong Ed students.

    Works with sexual assault survivors and others affected by sexual violence. Trained volunteers are also ready to provide support, counseling, advocacy, support groups, crisis intervention, and connection to local resources through crisis hotline and crisis chat services.

    A 24/7 crisis hotline is available at (517) 372-6666. For more information — or to access crisis chat services — visit Call (517) 355-3551 to schedule an appointment with a counselor or advocate.

    The Sexual Assault Healthcare Program is available for adults who have been sexually assaulted within the past five days. The program — staffed 24/7 by specialized forensic nurses — includes free post-assault care services, like sexual assault kits, prophylactic medication and more. Call (517) 353-2700 to learn more.


    Provides advocacy, shelter, counseling, safety planning, information, and referrals to survivors of relationship violence and stalking. Educational scholarships are available to currently enrolled MSU students whose academic pursuits have been affected by intimate partner violence or stalking. All support services are free and confidential. Safe Place serves students, faculty, staff, and their spouses or partners. They serve non-MSU-affiliated community members when shelter space and staffing levels allow.

    Call (517) 355-1100, email or visit for more information.

Know who to call in a crisis or after-hours. 

Keep these numbers in your phone — and remember to call 911 if you believe you or someone else is in immediate danger.

  • MSU Police: (517) 355-2221
  • 24/7 CAPS Crisis Counseling: (517) 355-8270, Press 1
  • 24-Hour Information Nurse: (517) 353-5557
  • Crisis Text Line: 741 741
  • National Suicide Prevention Line: 988


students in front of spartan sign



Transition your health care to MSU

Option 1: Continue care with your provider from back home.
Option 2: Start care on campus.
Option 3: Start care with a nearby off-campus provider.

    1. Know the name of any conditions you were diagnosed with.

    2. Be able to describe your concerns or symptoms (excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating, poor sleep, not being as interested in doing things, etc.)

    3. Be ready to describe how these issues affect your life (feeling left out, avoiding social situations, lacking interest in eating, etc.).

    4. Describe the treatment you’ve received or are currently receiving (group therapy, medication, academic coaching, etc.).

    5. Bring a copy of your immunization record, including the dates they were given (if transitioning your medical care).

    6. Be able to describe your reactions and responses to your treatment — and what has and hasn’t been helpful.

    7. Know the names and contact information of your current treatment providers. 

    MSU Medical/Health Requirements for MSU Students

    • All new undergraduate students must complete an Immunization Self-Report form. Other requirements are based on the area of study or designation as an international student. See more information and access the form at
    • Health insurance is required for international students and those in medical school or veterinary medicine. For all other students, insurance is highly recommended. The MSU-sponsored Blue Care Network (BCN) plan is available through the MSU Benefits office.
    • Students who are not yet 18 need parent/guardian consent for most routine medical care in Michigan. If your student will be 17 or younger when arriving on campus, please complete and send in the Minor Consent Form.


    Accommodations at MSU:

    If your high school worked with you to develop a disability or mental health services plan — such as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan — you should understand the accommodations and how they were designed to help you. Share a copy of your plan with the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). If you don’t have a written plan, make notes about its features and how it helped you. RCPD can also assist with accessible housing. You can register with RCPD as soon as you receive your MSU NetID/email address.

    Medical Records: MSU Student Health & Wellness follows HIPAA guidelines. In compliance with state and federal laws, we cannot release personal health information without the student’s written consent if they are over the age of 18.

    If a patient wants to share information after their visit, they should visit the Medical Records office located at 146 Olin Health Center. Medical information is released to a parent or non-medical personnel only if the student gives written consent, which is filed in their Medical Record. Other restrictions may apply. For more details about what information can be released, call the medical records department at (517) 353-9153 or email

    Minor Consent: Care for students who are not yet 18 requires parental or guardian consent. You can complete and send the care consent form to the Medical Records office at Olin Health Center. 


    1. Know the name of medications and herbal supplements, when you started taking them (e.g., September 2018), the dosage, and how frequently you take them (as needed, every morning, etc.).

    2. Write down the English translation of your medication or supplement, if it’s not already in English.

    3. Be responsible for taking your medication as prescribed.

    4. Be able to describe how medication makes you feel, including any side effects, allergies, or other issues (current or past). Pay close attention to side effects and intended effects.

    5. Know your medication history, including what medication you’ve used in the past and the reason for any changes.


    On-campus pharmacy services — including prescription pick-up or delivery — are available through the MSU Health Care Pharmacy on S. Hagadorn Road. Delivery is free within 30 miles of campus. To learn more, call (517) 353-3500 or visit


    As you consider your care options, keep your needs and what you’re most comfortable with in mind.

    Option 1: Continue care with a doctor or clinician from home. 

    This option could be best for you if:

    • You are comfortable working with your current care team
    • It’s possible and convenient to be in regular contact with them. 

    You and your family should discuss with your care team whether this is an option that makes sense for you. Consider these questions when you do:

    • Will you be too far from home?
    • If your provider is not in the U.S., will they be able to continue treatment without face-to-face visits? 
    • Will phone calls and infrequent face-to-face visits be enough?
    • If you take medication, how will you get it?
    • What happens in an emergency? 

    If you choose this option, you may still want to connect with Health Services or CAPS for additional support or in case you have an urgent need that they can help with.

    You may need to connect with MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities to help with academic accommodations or planning your specific transition to the college experience.

    We recommend having an arrangement to share information as needed between your home clinician and campus-based providers.

    Option 2: Initiate care on campus.

    This option could be best for you if:

    • A CAPS or Health Services primary care provider can provide your care and has the full range of services you need.
    • You only need intermittent visits or medication management.

    If you choose this option, make sure your care team at home is aware and comfortable with it. They should be prepared to share information and records with your MSU care team if necessary.

    For short-term or infrequent face-to-face mental health visits, CAPS group counseling services might meet your needs.

    Treatment for minor injuries and illnesses are available at Olin Health Center and four neighborhood clinics on campus. You will need your NetID to get started.

    Learn more about CAPS at or Health Services at

    Option 3: Initiate care with an off-campus provider near MSU.

    This option could be best for you if:

    • You need long-term and regular face-to-face visits.
    • Your home provider is far away and hard for you to access regularly.

    If you choose this option, make sure that:

    • You have insurance coverage or adequate funds to pay for private care by asking providers if they are in-network with your insurance or if visits are affordable.

    • Local providers may see students at reduced rates or participate in the MSU Blue Care Network (BCN) student insurance program, which has relatively low out-of-pocket expenses. Learn more about the BCN plan at

    • There is an adequate hand-off of clinical information between your home and local providers. If you keep in touch with your provider from home, work out a plan for communication with your home and local provider.

    If possible, you and your family can try to meet the off-campus provider before starting classes so that you can have a plan in place before you arrive at MSU. CAPS can help with referral suggestions for mental health providers that fit your clinical needs.

    No matter what you choose, make sure:

    1. Everyone involved is clear on all details for your follow-up care.
    2. There is agreement about specific parameters of care: how often, who is the lead clinician, how changes in treatment will be handled, etc.
    3. A clear communication plan is in place. File proper releases of information with necessary offices and clinicians. Be specific about when, how, and under what circumstances information will be shared in the event of an issue or emergency, including when family or other guardians should be contacted. Starting the Conversation: College and Your Mental Health offers tips to get started with the planning process.
    4. An advance directive is in place. An advance directive is a legal document that explains how medical decisions should be made and who should make them if you are unable to decide for yourself, such as in an emergency. This plan should be clearly agreed upon and cover who will make clinical decisions, the primary family contact, and when they should be called.
    5. You know how to describe your prior care, current needs, and medications, and that your records are sent to the offices and clinicians with whom you’ll be working.
    6. You register with the RCPD if you need academic accommodations.
    7. You know what insurance you have and how to use it.

    Check out these guides to help you get started:

Health Insurance and Immunization Policies

While preparing to come to campus, make sure to review health insurance options and become familiar with the University’s immunization policy. 

    • Insurance: You may use Student Health Services without the MSU student insurance if you are a domestic student. Insurance is required for international students and strongly recommended for all. Now is a good time to check with your insurance company to determine what services will and won’t be covered for your student while at MSU. 
      • We participate with the MSU Student Insurance Plan, most traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blue Care Network plans, McLaren, Aetna PPO, Priority Health, McLaren Medicaid and BC Complete. Other plans are likely considered out-of-network but could still cover some services. We can bill your out-of-network insurance company, and would then bill you for the balance. It’s your responsibility to find out what your insurance plan will cover for out-of-network services.
      • Students who don’t have insurance might want to consider the MSU Student Insurance Plan through the MSU Benefits office. It’s a comprehensive Blue Care Network plan and is sold at a competitive price. The BCN plan at MSU is considered a full plan that will go with you when you leave the state (it will turn into Blue Cross PPO).

      • Make sure your student has their own insurance card or a photo of the front and back of the card that they can easily access on their phone when seeking medical care.

      • If have questions about the MSU Student Health Plan, contact a representative at or visit

      • For more information, visit the MSU Health Services Insurance page.

    Visit more information about the plan.

    • All new MSU undergraduate students are required to review the University’s immunization policy and submit the online Immunization Self-Report Form.
    • All new MSU international students are required to view a TB e-learning module and complete a quiz.
    • All new MSU healthcare professional students are required to submit immunization records to the Office of the University Physician.

    More information about these policies is available through the University Physician’s office at