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The Insider

Your Questions Answered – The Grand Valley “Top Ten”

We hear from parents of Grand Valley State University students nearly every day via phone, email or on Facebook. We’ve noticed some common themes in the questions that parents ask us.

Here are Grand Valley’s “Top Ten” things every Laker family member should know:

1. What is the difference between on-campus and off-campus living?

On-campus housing puts students in a supportive learning environment with the resources and services they need to succeed. There are multiple dining locations, access to study areas and support staff, and 24-hour security, among other options available while living on campus.

Living off campus gives students new opportunities for independence. Some places let their residents have pets, larger living spaces are available and students are closer to their internship locations, for instance. In addition, there are added responsibilities living off campus that include bill paying, lease terms, transportation and time management. Talk with your student to understand what is best for their needs and strengths.

2. What options does my student have in terms of financial aid?

Financial aid packages change yearly for students. Financial aid includes funds in the form of grants, scholarships, work study or loans. Students should take advantage of all these opportunities, especially in the form of scholarships. Learn about the hundreds of scholarships your son or daughter can apply for by using filters to narrow your search at www.gvsu.edu/scholarships.

3. Are cars necessary at college?

If a student plans on leaving campus regularly to visit home, go to work or live outside of the bus route, he/she may need a car. Students also need to make sure they understand GVSU’s parking rules and fees required in order to park on campus. Keep in mind that Grand Valley students ride the Rapid bus system for free, a financially and environmentally sustainable means of transportation.

4. Where should my student go to look for employment on campus?

One of the best places to check for jobs at Grand Valley and the surrounding area is the GVSU Job Board. Plenty of positions are posted specifically for students. Another place to look for jobs is on bulletin boards around campus and in the Grand Valley Lanthorn student newspaper classifieds.

5. Any tips on staying connected with my son/daughter without being too bothersome?

Schedules can be busy at times depending on how involved students are at Grand Valley. Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Skype make it much easier for students and parents to connect. Sending little reminders of how much parents miss their students through e-mail, snail mail or even a care package goes a long way. Be sure to check in once a week, but give them space to grow.

6. Tell me more about Family Weekend.

Family Weekend is a great time to visit campus. Family Weekend 2012 takes place October 5-7. Be sure to make hotel reservations early. While there are Family Weekend traditions such as Pancakes with Presidents, activities change every year. As a family you’re in charge of how you want to spend your time.

7. What is there to do on the weekends at Grand Valley?

With over 300 organizations on campus, there is something for everyone, or students can create a new organization. Encourage students to go to events, including ones they haven't attended before. There is a calendar of events available on the Grand Valley home page. Tell your student to check out the student organization system STUEY for more information, and to get involved on campus.

8. Where does my son/daughter go if they get sick?

The Campus Health Center, part of Metro Health, is located on the Allendale Campus and offers a wide range of services for Grand Valley students. The center is open Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on weekends. They accept all major health insurance plans and bill your insurance after the appointment. In an emergency, 911 will be called. Campus Safety will respond to needs as appropriate.

9. When should my student meet with their advisor?  How does academic advising work at Grand Valley?

Grand Valley students are encouraged to meet with their advisor at least once a year so they stay on track for a timely graduation. The Four-Year Blueprint for Student Success is a plan for key milestones in a student’s educational journey. Learn more about free services such as academic advising and the counseling center by visiting their links.

10. When should my student start searching for an internship?

An internship is required for some majors and highly recommended for all students. Meeting with Career Services early in a student’s college experience can help prepare them for an internship. Internships can be completed as early as the second year. Some students complete multiple internships to give themselves a competitive advantage when searching for a job after graduation.