Parents and Supporters

Female student with parents sitting on a bench smiling

What does it mean that your student is Exploratory Study?

Each year, over 1,000 students are on the Exploratory Study path at Grand Valley. This simply means that they have not yet declared a major. Or maybe their plans changed and they need to make a shift from one major to another. 

Whatever the case may be, we know that this can be particularly challenging for you, as you work to support them through their college experience.

We hope that this page can provide you with useful information to guide them as they discover what excites and inspires them most.

The Exploratory Journey

Ways to Support the Exploring Student

Encourage them to schedule time with their Academic Advisor.

Many students think that Academic Advisors help them pick their classes and that's it. But advisors actually do a great deal more than that, including helping your student figure out the path that best suits their life. We have found that students sometimes feel anxious about the idea of seeing an Advisor because they think they're supposed to come to us with the answers - and in some cases, students don't even know the question yet. You can help your student overcome that feeling by reminding them that their time with their advisor is actually so that the student and the advisor can figure it out together. 

Students can use the link found here to schedule time to talk with their Advisor. 

Encourage them to talk to someone in the Career Center.

Sometimes students know what they want to do but don't know the major that will help them get there. And sometimes students need to be exposed to their dream job, because they did not know it was out there. The Career Center is an amazing place for this kind of exploration. In addition to online exploration tools, the Career Center also employs multiple Career Advisors who can help your student explore the jobs that are out there that not only interest them, but also make of the most of the skills that make your student unique. 

Students can email [email protected] or call (616) 331-3311 to schedule time with a Career Advisor. They should include that they are Exploratory Study students when they schedule.

Encourage them to register for US 102

This one credit course is designed for students seeking assistance in developing a career and educational plan suited to their needs, goals, and career choices. Emphasis and activities will be placed on personal and career assessment, career and occupational information, planning, and decision-making.

Focus on what they have done, not what they have not completed yet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I allowed to call and ask questions about my student's class performance?

According to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) faculty and staff cannot discuss your student’s academic records unless your student grants written permission for disclosures by designated university employees (faculty or administrators). Steps on how your student can grant access can be found using this link.

What happens if my student is late paying for tuition?

If a student does not pay for tuition on time, they will be dropped from all registered courses effective immediately following the payment deadline. Payment after the deadline does not guarantee a student a seat in the classes previously registered for; they will have to enroll in classes that still have available seats.

What happens if my student misses an exam?

While attendance policies can be class and instructor specific, GVSU students are expected to attend class, to turn in work on the scheduled due date, and to take all exams at the scheduled date and time. If a student misses class for an illness or for a family emergency, documentation may be required prior to an opportunity to discuss accommodations. Faculty are not expected to provide opportunities to make up exams or class assignments for unexcused absences. In particular, your student is expected to take the final examination on the scheduled day and time, so please consider your student’s exam schedule when planning family vacations.

What happens if my student chooses to retake a course previously completed?

A student may repeat any course one time. The grade for the second attempt will be the grade on record and will be figured into their grade point average, but all course attempts will remain on the official transcript. Repeating a course more than once is only allowed by the approval of the student’s academic advisor and the department, and will generally only get approved for classes that are not in the student’s major field of study.

Additional Resources

One of the ways that you can help your student feel more comfortable is to encourage them to do some exploring. Below you will find links to self-assessments, career-related information, and other online resources that may help your student to discover their options. 

We also encourage you to consider taking some of the Self-Assessments and to share your results with the students in your life; it may help them to see someone they know exploring in the same ways!


What Can I Do With This Major?

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Page last modified August 4, 2020