Freshmen

Welcome to Grand Valley!

If you are interested in any of the majors or minors available in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) at Grand Valley State University, the CLAS Academic Advising Center is for you!

Here's a bit about what to expect, and how we can help.

Before you have declared a major: If you are considering one of the CLAS majors or minors, visit the Center to discuss the requirements of the majors/minors and learn about associated careers and opportunities for graduate study.

Once you have declared a major in CLAS:
1) You will be officially assigned a faculty advisor in the department which offers your major. Your faculty advisor helps you become aware of what areas within the field mesh well with your skills, abilities and interests and makes suggestions concerning how to further develop your field-related knowledge and skills. Your faculty advisor will act as your mentor, helping you to plan coursework and co-curricular experiences (research, volunteer experience, internships, study abroad, etc.) that will help prepare you for graduate study or a career within your field.

2) In addition, the professional advisors in the CLAS Academic Advising Center support your work with your faculty advisor by helping you to: Develop an achievable academic plan and select courses Understand GVSU policies and procedures as they relate to the completion of your degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Prepare for: Pre-professional programs such as pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy studies Graduate study Teacher certification in a CLAS-related area of study.

What's the difference between my faculty advisor and a professional advisor? You can think of the difference in the roles of your faculty and professional advisors as a difference in perspective. Your Faculty Advisor is an expert in your chosen field of study and provides specific, in-depth knowledge of the field and preparation for related careers. A Professional Advisor, on the other hand, is more of a generalist who is familiar with many different majors/minors and careers and, in many ways, provides a broader overview of your undergraduate experience. A professional advisor's expertise is in how to successfully fulfill requirements, navigate through the process of getting an undergraduate degree, and the steps necessary to prepare for a career and/or graduate study.

Across your entire college experience: We urge you to actively engage in your education by: Choosing courses that are interesting and meaningful to you while meeting the requirements for your major and/or minor and graduation Getting to know faculty members and making use of their expertise and experience Participating in extra- and co-curricular activities offered by the university Seeking advising once a semester to ensure that you know the requirements for your degree and program and to help you stay on-track for timely graduation