Academic advisers offer assistance and advice to students

GVL/Eric Coulter A student meets with a CLAS advisor on Friday.

Eric Coulter

GVL/Eric Coulter A student meets with a CLAS advisor on Friday.

Ellie Phillips

One of the most difficult parts of the college experience is sitting down and deciding what to study and how to study it; but from choosing a major and minor to scheduling which classes to take and when, Grand Valley State University has resources to help its students. GVSU’s Advisers are a special group of people who help students make those difficult decisions so that they have a productive undergraduate experience that results in them graduating on time with the skills they need to be successful in the work world.

“The process of academic advising involves telling an advisor all of your hopes and dreams and then he or she describes all of the possible classes that works best for you,” said Jessica Kean, a film major and senior who will be graduating in December. “They are also great when you pick last during scheduling and you don’t get the classes you wanted. They’re there for your plans.”

The Academic Advising department offers many different centers across the Allendale Campus, with one of the largest being the College of Community & Public Service Undergraduate Advising Center (CCPSUAC). Though different for each college and school within the university, the general goals of the different advising centers are the same, and they share a common purpose.

Academic advising “engages students in the process of exploring and defining their academic and career goals and in creating effective strategies to achieve these goals,” according to the CCPSUAC website.

Though academic advising often goes unused by students until they are seniors, some GVSU students say their academic adviser is their closest friend during registration week each year.

“I [have been] working with my adviser since freshman year,” Kean said. “She guided me through which options for which requirements were best for me.”

To find who your academic adviser is, check myBanner, click on “Student Records” and then “View Major and Adviser Information.”

Often, the ‘adviser’ listed on MyBanner is a professor in the department of the student’s major. These ‘advisers’ are actually ‘faculty mentors’ whose goals are to “assist students with the clarification of career and life goals and assist students with appropriate course selection and other educational experiences to meet their goals”, according to the UAC website.
Not all professors are faculty mentors, though.

“Each department determines which faculty will serve as undergraduate mentors based on the program’s needs, faculty teaching load, connection with undergraduate program/teaching, et cetera,” said Jennifer McCaul, director of CCPSUAC.

Students can change their adviser using a form online hosted on their myBanner, if for whatever reason they feel it is necessary. Though McCaul said the university does not record or track when students change their academic advisers, she said it’s not a commonplace thing.

“Most students stay with their assigned faculty mentor because we partner the student with the appropriate departmental faculty based on their interests and needs rather than a random assignment,” McCaul said.

Satellite campuses in Holland, Muskegon and Traverse City have advising centers as well, and for students who just have a few registration questions, advising is available on select Sundays from 7:30-9:30 p.m. via Skype. These dates and information on how to connect to Skype can be found on the CCPSUAC website under “Sundays on Skype”. This option, however, is not intended to replace in-person meetings with advisers to plan courses and schedules. Students who have complex problems or need more than an answer to a simple question are requested to set up a face-to-face meeting with an academic adviser.

To learn more about the advising resources offered at GVSU, visit the website at

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