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First-Year Learning Community

The First-Year Learning Community is an optional program that consists of pairings of courses that have been developed by faculty to focus on a shared theme. Each pairing satisfies portions of the general education program requirements while enhancing the student experience. Students who choose to join the First-Year Learning Community will participate in one pairing of courses.

 Academic programs have been developed to support the student’s transition to college by providing meaningful interaction with faculty members and their peers. The planned academic programs involve faculty who have connected their course content in ways that create powerful learning opportunities for students. The professors will not only collaborate with one another to develop in-class experiences but will also host programs that relate to the classes in ways that will enhance your learning. 

With a wide variety of academic fields to choose from, the First-Year Learning Community offers a unique opportunity for incoming freshmen to establish a solid foundation to ensure success at GVSU.

Information about this year's First-Year Learning Community courses and the Course Pairing Preference Form will be available soon. Space in each pairing is limited, it's important that you sign up by May 1!

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Interested in joining?


Courses will be assigned based on your preferences and course availability. Placement in a top-choice Connected Course pairing is not guaranteed.
Sign up by May 1 for optimal course placement.

Why join?

Connected Courses have been developed to provide more interactive and deliberate discourse, leading to enhanced interaction among students and professors. Research demonstrates that students who develop strong relationships with peers and professors early in college are even more successful, and often our most outstanding students are those that are active in these endeavors.

  • Attend out-of-class programs connected to your class
  • Learn about helpful resources available to you
  • Boost your chances for academic success
  • Create lasting friendships
  • Broaden your learning experience
What are "Connected Courses"?

The planned curriculum involves Connected Courses, where two faculty members have worked together to plan their individual course content in a collaborative way. Coursework and in-class experiences will be coupled with planned and deliberate extra-curricular programs that involve many of the student services offered at Grand Valley. 

What are the benefits?
  • Connected Courses designed to meet university requirements for graduation
  • Get to know your instructors and classmates
  • Coordinated academic programs with faculty collaboration
  • Workshops and lectures related to professional, academic and social topics hosted on-site
  • Peer mentoring through current students and tutoring services available
  • Undergraduate research opportunities with faculty
  • Service learning and community services opportunities provided
Student Testimonial

"...take a 1st Year Learning Community course, it will allow you to become a lot more engaged in the class and its content, but also helps you talk and interact with your classmates a lot more."

- Kyle Krink, Undecided

Student Testimonial

"100% do it, it is so worth it. The classes might be a little challenging, but there is way more attention provided by the professors. The class sizes are smaller and allow for extra help if you need it, plus you form good relationships with both the professors and fellow classmates." 

Randi Force, Psychology

Student Testimonial

"[First Year Learning Community courses] have made me more optimistic about my future college experience since we talked about taking your college experience into your own hands."

- Sophia Castine, Psychology and Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Page last modified March 28, 2024