Grand Valley State University Top Questions

What should every freshman at your school know before they start?

adrianne

Make a list of what you expect to gain from a college experience and don't settle for a college that is not going to allow you to fully make that most of those experiences.

Amanda

Make sure to find a college that encompases all that the student wants to get out of their experience, whether that be the courses, the living areas, or the faculty. In order to get the most out of your money, do enough research to make sure that you're getting all that you need.

Pamela

Research and try to visit the colleges you are considering.

Courtney

Picking the right college is important. I suggest somewhere you feel comfortable, a place where you can find yourself and grow academically as well as individually, and a place that meets your expectations of your learning experience/ furture goals.

Corey

Parents, please listen to your student! Don't try to relive your college career, or lack there of, through your student. This will be the best time of your student's life or the worst. The defining factor will be you! Listen and be understanding of your student's choice and really try to remember that this is an adult now. I know that it is hard to look your student without seeing that chubby toddler taking his or her first steps but they are grown adults and need to believe that you trust them. What you think of them is very important to the student even if we say we don't care what you think. Be supportive and be perceptive of our mood and demeanor. You will know if there is a problem or if we need you. Finally, let them experience the whole going to college for themselves. In the end, they will respect you more.

Tracy

Parents and students should work together to make college visits and to research different schools before applying. It is important to do research so that both the parents and the student can get a feel for what to expect when school starts. It is also a great way to know if the right choice is being made. As far as making the most of the college experience, students should try to get involved in at least one activity on campus. This will not only allow them to meet new people, but will also help them become a well-round individual with different experiences that may help them in their future.

Deanna

Definately take a tour of the campuses you are considering. Witness a class if possible. How you feel about the campus and the classes can really make a difference. You have to feel comfortable with the campus or it won't be a good experience. Make sure also that the college offers not only the program you are interested in but has a good program and one that will help place you in real situations such as internships or volunteer work. This way you get hands on experience before you graduate which looks great on a resume for future employers. If you can try to talk to someone who goes there and ask for thier opinion. People's opinions of the school can help you make a good decision espeically if they feel strongly one way or another. If you ask them about certain aspects that are important to you then you can get a feel with how you will fit in at that school and if it's what you want or not.

Carl

Make sure you really know what you want to do before you start down a path. Nothing can make a college career take longer than being indecisive about what you really want to do. A lot of students change their majors at least once while in school, but often the most sucessful don't.

Craig

Make sure you take a tour of more than one school. Yes, one school might your first choice, but if you dont see other campuses how will you know how you feel about it. Make sure you know what you are going for. If you dont know exactly what you want to do, think about maybe going to a community college for the first year to get some of your general education classes out of the way for a little less money. Dont let your friends from high school try to pressure you into going into a certain school. If you do not like a college that they do, you will make new friends and you can always visit them on the weekends.

Jeremiah

For starters, before thinking about college, make sure you have developed or are aware of all the neccessary habits and skills needed to surivive as a college student. Some of those skills include study habits, time management, and knowing how to balance your social life with school work. When looking for a college, make sure that the institution can meet the needs that are most important to you. For instance, classroom size, graduation rate, and availabilty of resources, some of which i hadn't considered to be quite as important.

T

Tours and selling points are all well and good, but actually speaking to a faculty member and a student candidly is the best way to get straight answers about the campus. They can give more specific advice based on their personal experiences, and give you a sense of the community dynamic. Facilities can shape the dynamic of the campus, but it is important that the attitudes of the teachers, students, and administration form the sort of community that you want to be in for the next three to six years. And speaking of that: think carefully about the depth to which you wish to engage the subjects you are pursuing when scheduling. Rushing through the undergraduate career can be financially justifiable, but lack in the sort of learning experience that is lasting and rewarding. Also - and this isn't just talk - get involved: it really is a great thing for your resume, meeting really great people, and doing something interesting and meaningful. Its a tough life looking out from the safety net of college. The stereotypical college party is just fine, but the more fun you can find in campus or community activities - the better prepared you will be.

Kim

Pick a school that would be good for you, not necessarily a school that has the best program for your interest. It's more important that you enjoy most of the aspects of the school rather than the prestige that comes with a school.

Derek

The community around will determine your college experience and Grand Valley has the best students!

Caleb

I would tell them that they should look for a school based on the amount of opportunities that will be provided to them outside of the classroom. College is about learning in every aspect of life. Almost every school will give you the same based on academics, but each school has a different lifestyle. Find the lifestyle that fits you.

Alexandra

Realize the name isn't everything. I go to a division 2 school that most of my family hadn't heard of before, and yet I feel like I'm getting a better experience, better education, here than I would at U of M. Its not in the name, its in what the school offers. Make sure you actually look into what is available to the student. That could come from a much smaller school; just realize that. Make sure you take into account what works right for YOU, the student. What works for one person doesn't always work well for another, and schools work the same way. I am very happy here at Grand Valley, but it may not work for someone else. Once you've made the decision, make sure you get involved at your school. Play a sport, join a club; anything like that will make your college experience that much better!

Alex

Don't worry about what your freinds are doing, you will make so many new friends! Just think about where you want to live, and what you are going to school for.

Nicole

Choosing the right college is a difficult task. I reccomend begining by researching the academic programs offered at each institution. Check to see that the school offers the acedemic program your student plans to pursue. If your student is undecided as to a major make sure that the school has multiple programs of interest for the student. When reseaching make a list of campuses to visit. Plan ahead when visiting each school. Make arrangements with the university to have a guided tour if offered. It is best to visit the campus when classes are in session to get a true feel of daily life on each campus. On each tour make sure that different housing options are visited to make the best choice for living arrangements that fit the students lifestyle. During the tour ask your student questions like "do you feel comfortable here?" and "how do you feel about the size of the campus?". Choose the school that both the student and parents feel most comfortable with. It is ok for a campus to be to big because you can grow into it, but do not go to a school that you feel is too small.

Bridget

When entering into college, I wanted a university that I would be able to get away from home and live independently and meet all new friends in a new and friendly environment. My first year at Grand Valley State University was very hard for me to adjust to coming home a high school life of being in the "popular" crowd and knowing everyone. It was quite an adjustment to realize Grand Valley is not like high school where I did not have to work to make friends; I just had friends. My first semester was such an emothional struggle that I was debating on transferring to a closer univeristy to my hometown where more of my high school friends attended. I ended up sticking out the rest of the semester and began becoming involved in the university where I met some friendly people. I am so glad I didnt quit and transfer schools and I ended up learning qualities about myself I never would have learned if I would have quit. My advice to parents and/or students would be to never quit. Make the best out of every situation and believe that everything happens for a reason!

Trevor

Find a college that has an accepting environment. Visit many different colleges before deciding the one that you want. Find a college that is not too big or too small but is the perfect fit for your son or daughter.

Chrisfa

When choosing a college make sure that it fits your budget and your personal preference.

Amber

My advice would be to plan ahead for finances. You never know what will happen and help your child with money and only allow them so much so they dont get into trouble. Make sure you get second opnions on consulers and plan your sdhedules out for the next few years so you know where you are going. Grand Valley is a wonderful college if your heart is in it, then the staff will be too.

Deanna

Trial and error! Visit campuses, read reviews, talk to attending students. The location, services and social life can really help or hurt you in the long run. Parents: don't pressure your kids to pick your choice, this is the school they will attending for the next for years of their lives, not your lives. Students: Sometimes your parents can have a point. Listen, but remember the choice is yours alone, you have to be the one to see the school everyday, make sure it's what you want. Once you found the right one, make friends! Join clubs, volunteer groups, a sport, etc! These things really push you along in making friends and believe me when I say, friends are your most important resource on campus. They will help you through most of your problems, more than faculty and staff together. A healthy social life can make a healthy acedemic life too. When you've got that tough paper or project due, it helps to know that when it's done, your friends will be there to celebrate with you that it's over. And remember: College is what you make it! Make the experience worth it!

Hannah

I would say to all parents, let your child decide what they believe is the best choice for them because they are going to be the ones who have to live with it. For students, I would say don't concentrate on where your friends are going, you will make new friends no matter where you go. Look for somewhere you will be happy to reside for at least four years, somewhere that suits your personality as well as career path. If you aren't absolutely positive on your choice, ask around, freshmen are typically a good source of any information you may be curious about.

Rachel

Go into college with an open mind, undecided as a major and a willingness to meet people of all kinds. Live on campus. Join greek life. Join the residence halls. Work out often. Do all that you can; the more you pack your time, the more likely you are to stay in good academic standing.

Amanda

College truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you know what you want to do as a career then look for a college that offers that. If not then, just relax and breathe. You still have time to figure it all out once you are in a college. If you like smaller schools, there are many available. In that same thought, larger schools with larger classrooms are also around. As a student, you need to know what you want, even if your parents don't neccesarily agree. You are beginning your life and it starts with important decisions, like where you want to go to college. Once in college you can truly become who you want to be. You start your first semester with nothing, no old enemies or drama. Create who you want to be known as or what you want for yourself. Shock the world. Meet new people, join different clubs, live the life you want, without the fear of others holding you back. It's the beginning of becoming who you want to be. Take that chance for all it's worth and go. Live your Life. Have fun, you have one chance, be great.

Laura

Find a college that is suitable for the student. It is important for the student to stay on or near campus to get the full college experience. Leaving for college is a learning experience, not only in the classroom, but a personal growth as well.

Katie

Going to college is a scary and exciting time for both parents and students. So students don't get annoyed too easily if mom and pops start calling, e-mailing, snail-mailing, a bit more than what they used to. They are just proud and scared that you are growing up. Parents, if your child has already made good decisions that have lead them to a college or university than you have done well. Your child will continue to make good decisions even out of the comfort of your home. Finding the right college is different for everyone. For me as soon as I walked on campus I just knew Grand Valley was the place for me. See if you can find that feeling. Make sure your college offers plenty of things to occupy your brain while you are not in class. Students to make the best out of your college experience: JUST GET INVOLVED! Getting involved on campus in clubs, groups, and even in your dorms as soon as possible will make the transition even easier. Just remember that everyone around you is just as nervous as you are no matter what background they come from.

Brooke

Make sure to seach around to find the best college that offers needs to certain students.

Jason

Attend a 4 year university, do not start with a community college. Ruins the experience and limits friendships once you migrate to the 4 year university.

Jacquelyn

To help students, and parents alike, discover which college would be the best, I would highly encourage them to figure out which college would make them the happiest. Life is hard enough as it is, and growing up is certainly a challenge that we all have to face. College decisions shouldn't be so hard. Visit schools, do your research, and picture yourself at a school that will help to make your dreams come true. Don't worry about money--everyone has to take out loans. Just be happy with your choice, and be confident that your education will lead you on a path that will help to fulfill every dream and desire that you have. When it all comes down to it, money isn't everything, as long as you're happy doing what you know in your heart is the best for you. Once you figure this out, you'll absolutely be on the way to making your wishes come true.

Meryl

Keep working at it and find the one that's just right for you. You'll know.

Lauren

Start looking for schools early, live on campus if you can, and try out as many social extra-curriculars as you can, just to get a feel for what you like and to develop a group of friends. It can be scary to go to a new school, knowing no body, but if you keep submerging yourself in what can be awkward social situations, you will make at least a couple new friends! College is about growing up.

MICHELLE

I knew where I wanted to go by visiting the campus. Make sure the student feels comfortable in the environment and enjoys being there. The academics are important, but if your student doesn't enjoy their school- the quality of academics doesn't matter.

Katie

The best advice I can give is to visit the campus. Guided tours are great when first visiting the campus, but I found it best to actually stay with a current student for a weekend. The experience of staying with a student gave me a sort of preview of what college might actually be like at the university. The experience allows you to see all the different parts of the campus, the parts that students visit most, the parts that student use and like the most, which places are best to eat at, and most of all it allows you an opportunity to talk to many different students to get their honest opinions of the school. When it comes to making the most out of the college experience new students need to get involved. It does not matter what the student gets involved in, whether it be sports or a sorority or a volunteer club, just so long as the new student gets involved. This really allows the student to meet new influential people and to feel like he or she has found a second home, a home away from home. That is what college should be.

Rachael

Now is the time to start thinking about the future. The mailbox is piled with college announcements, but what school is the right pick? Before filling out application forms, visit schools of interest. Most colleges will allow a tour and meeting with a councilor. Ask to see dorms and classrooms as majority of time is spent there. Also, ask questions about jobs available, meal plans, and groups that encourage involvement. After all tours are complete, take time to sit down with your parent or child, and discuss what was liked/disliked about each school. Now months have passed and the acceptance letter has been ripped open. It's important to plan for the school year by immediately contacting your roommate. Try to meet your roommate before school starts and go over what each of you will bring and rules you may have. This may seem unnecessary, but tension can be solved by going over topics such as curfews for guests and cleaning duties. On move in day, meet students who live on your floor and plan to get lunch together or find an activity on campus to attend. Overall, the most important task is to enjoy college and become involved.

Mitchell

Don't always look at expense right away if you don't have the money, look at the quality of the school and the campus life as well as the professors. I know that GVSU is very ready to work with students that need financial aid, and they offer many scholarships. Trust me, you will appreciate it more enjoying your college experience and being a few more dollars in debt than going to a school just because it was the cheapest. Once in college, get involved! The best way to make friends and really enjoy the experience is getting involved with campus activities/groups/sports. You will make a bunch of friends in no time, trust me.

Stephen

Visit the schools. Every student will get a "feeling" when they know they are at the right school. You will feel very happy and well-placed. Also apply to several in state and out of state schools.

Rachael

Take your time and visit the colleges you are interested in attending. Taking a campus tour and talking to advising faculty was one of the most benificial things I did when deciding what college I was interested in attending. College is more then just academics. It's going to be your home for the next 4+ years, so it's important that you feel like you fit in there. Size is a personal preference and really depends on the individuals personality. Having small class sizes and proffessors that really care in helping me succeed have been the cornerstone of my sucess. Getting involved and knowing about all my academic options during my freshman year really helped me make the most of my college experience. I developed many great friendships that have been great support and encouragement to me, as well as challenged myself in new ways by joining different clubs and organizations to expand my interests and knowledge about the world. By taking time to volunteer at college as well as get a job, I have learned more about my community and the responsibilities that I will have to take on once my college experience is complete.

Tasha

Go and look at the college, walk around, observe what is going on around. How the students look is a good indication on how the students like it at that school. If you look at just the brochure, you won't get the whole picture and make sure that you know what you want to do before you go to a university. Why spend all the money on something that isn't going to get you anywhere start off at a community college and figure it out at least you can go from there.

Emily

Find one with the right programs at the right price.

Carisa

When looking for a college you need to make sure that the college has things to offer you. For example you will want a college that has majors that you would be interested in, a school that has many students that are involved in extracurricular activties, a college that is student friendly that has places for you to study, eat, and hang out. One thing to look at is the social life. Some schools are party schools and if a student isn't studying they are partying, if that is something that you would not want to be a part of you need to make sure that you don't choose a school like that. Make sure to get involved in whatever school you go to. Although it takes up time, it gives you a chance to meet new people that you may not meet in your classes. Clubs and organizations give you a sense of belonging on your campus, a sense that you really did choose the right school to attend. Also when you are involved you have people there to help you on your schooling, people that are willing to be around to make your college experience remeberable.

Sierra

It's important that you be open to ideas you haven't considered before. A lot of people have a certain kind of college in mind long before their senior year of high school, and that's okay. Nevertheless, once you start visiting campuses, you might realize that the place you feel most comfortable is nothing like the school you always thought you'd attend. Trust that feeling. It's there for a reason. Sometimes you won't know exactly what it is you value about a campus community until you see it. Once you get to college, be social! It's important that you make the effort to meet people during your first year on campus. I know it's cliche, but it's true. If you miss out on making friends then, you're going to have a lonely few years ahead. Remember that everyone is in the same situation you are. You all want to make friends, so don't be shy. Also, don't forget about your friends from home. Even though you'll all make new friends, they'll still be a great source of support for you while you adjust to your new life.

Xee

I don't like giving advice because many people experience things differently and everyone has their own likes and dislikes. But if you want my opinion, I say you should choose a school based on the qualities, education, and environment that you want to surround yourself in. Through my experience, I felt that I needed a school that I could fit in to and somewhere that made me feel comfortable to just be me. Once your in college, my one advice is: party hard but study hard too. For parents who tell their kids not to party when they're in college because it'll be detrimental to their grades, that?s not totally true. I feel that you should reward yourself if you're studying hard or doing well. You be the judge of how little or how much you party but be conscious that underneath all the fun and game there is a purpose for you being there. So, to make the most of your college experience, have some fun and let loose once in a while but know that your in college for a reason and get your degree!

Heather

~ I would inform students and parents of the importance of finding a school that fits their academic, socail, financial and personal needs. I would encourage students to visit a variety of colleges and actively search for what each has to offer. Once the student has found a college that accomodates all of their needs, it is crucial that the student has an optimistic attitude and is willing to step out of their comfort zone in order to meet new people and participate in new opportunities. In order to make the most of the college experience, it is vital that students are aware of the fact that they are ultimately in control of making their own college experience uniqe, worthwhile and life changing, and that they need to take steps in order to do so.

Sebila

Advice that I would give to parents and/ or student about finding the right college and making the most of college experience is to look outside of the box. Many different states offer all types of college. If you know what you are looking for then go out and see the college. Meet the people that go to the college and work at the college. Visit the colleges webpage and see what type of majors they offer. There are so many different schools you do not have to go to one that is the most popular.

Joey

Do not go to a school just because your friends are going there. Choose a school that really fits who you are. At the right school, you'll be able to make new friends easily.

dave

go with thier gut feeling about what to do then weigh out both sides and see which is the best idea

Christina

Look to make sure there are a lot of alternatives to drinking/drugs. Also, look for a nice campus...good physical environments work wonders on mood.

rebecca

To find the right college for students it is important for students to visit the college campus. Students need to consider the surrounding area of the college, the availability of housing that is affordable, and to talk to students that are currently attending the college and see what they think of the program. It is also important to view the conditions of the faucilites of the campus.

Melinda

I would say what just about everyone says, know that for 100% sure you want to go to that college. Do not base it on tuition, because a lot of schools give financial aid anyways. But really dig deep and do your research. Know what classes you need and how many credits it takes to graduate. Figure out approximately how long it will take you to graduate. I made the mistake of not doing enough research and I feel like I wasted money going to my college. You don't need to know what you want to do with your life, but don't make the mistake of choosing the wrong college. Also, do not hold back when doing school activities. If you don't make friends early it is hard to make any at all. Get out there and do whatever you can to meet people.