Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy

Logo for 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. The Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy Program is a comprehensive academic support program for students who have demonstrated a strong potential to be successful at Grand Valley State University. Participants are selected by the Admissions Office. The Freshman Academy Program works to increase retention and promote academic performance among its participants. This is accomplished by providing multi-dimensional support to students that can be broken down into two components: academic support and personal development. 

Oliver Wilson

Academic Support Components

  • 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 creates a learning community in which students support each other.

Personal Development Components

  • Engagement: The program fosters campus and community engagement by planning social and community service events.
  • Study 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 assists them in achieving their ultimate goal of graduation.

Maalik McClinton Pursues Dream...




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

• One-on-one academic advising and social support from Freshman Academy staff members

• Ability to participate in a pre-arrival program (Academic Success Institute)

• 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


Freshman Academy Scheduling Information

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 GVSU. Listed below are several of the Freshman Academy courses you can choose from during your first year at GVSU:

  • Writing* - WRT 098 or 150
  • Mathematics* - MTH 097 or 110 (SLA)
  • University Studies - US 102 (1 credit career exploration elective)
  • English* - ENG 099 or ENG 180
  • Women and Gender Studies** - WGS 200
  • African American Studies** - AAA 201
  • Liberal Studies** - LIB 100
  • History** - HST 103
  • Sociology - SOC 205

*Placement based on ACT score

**Course taken from General Education Requirements Categories

Academic Success Institute

The 2017 Academic Success Institute will be held August 16-21. Move-in for students will be from 8am-2pm on August 16. You can register online at www.gvsu.edu/admissions/asi.

FA Staff

Freshman Academy Staff: (left to right) Mike Messner (advisor), V'Lecea Hunter (advisor), Sulari White (Director), Linda Rettig (Office Coordinator), Dr. Nancy Giardina (Vice Provost for Student Success) and Gabe Pena (Graduate Assistant). Photo taken at the 2015 Freshman Academy End of Year Celebration Luau.

Contact Information

Office: 200 Student Services

Phone: (616) 331-2091 or (616) 331-3588

Email: freshmanacademy@gvsu.edu

Page last modified March 17, 2017