Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy
In 2003, Oliver Wilson began a program entitled "Freshman Academy" to provide comprehensive academic support to students. In 2009, the program was renamed the "Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy" in his memory. This program is for students who have demonstrated a strong potential to be successful at Grand Valley State University. Participants are selected by the Admissions Office. The Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy Program works to increase retention and promote academic performance among its participants by providing academic support and personal development opportunities.
- Specialized General Education courses with learning communities: The program has several designated general education courses, taught by outstanding faculty members. These courses have "built-in academic support" and because all the students in the designated section are Freshman Academy participants, there is a strong sense of peer-to-peer support.
- Academic Advising: Each student is assigned an advisor with whom he/she meets on a regular basis. Together, they explore the student's interests, needs, academic goals and objectives, and develop an individualized plan to ensure academic and social success.
- Study Skills Development: The program has study skills coaching to assist students in achieving their academic goals.
- Specialized Tutoring/Study Groups: The program has mandatory study table on Tuesday nights with tutors and writing consultants readily available to help. The Tuesday night study table and designated sections create a learning community in which students support each other.
- Engagement: The program fosters campus and community engagement by planning social and community service events.
- Student Employment: The program offers a professional workshop series to assist students in developing appropriate workplace skills. We also work closely with on-campus employers to secure employment for participants that are eligible for work study.
- Other Support: We assess and refer students to other resources available on campus to assist them in achieving their ultimate goal of graduation.
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Can I participate in Freshman Academy?
The Freshman Academy Program is only open to incoming students who are selected by the Admissions Office during the application review process.
What are the benefits of participating in Freshman Academy?
• One-on-one academic advising and social support from Freshman Academy staff members
• Learning skills development
• Mentoring from prior Freshman Academy participants
• Specialized course sections with learning communities
• Specialized tutoring/study groups
What are the requirements for participating in the Freshman Academy?
• Attend the mandatory Freshman Academy orientation
• Meet with their Freshman Academy advisor at least 4 times throughout each semester
• Attend weekly Freshman Academy study table
• Register for general education courses that are designated for Freshman Academy
• Participate in at least one weekly study group or tutoring session each semester
As a Freshman Academy student, you have the advantage of participating in learning communities and structured learning assistance (SLA) courses. Participation in learning communities and SLA courses has a number of benefits, all of which promote your academic and social success at Grand Valley.
Office: 200 Student Services Building
Phone: (616) 331-2091 or (616) 331-3588