Charting your academic course

You’ve sent in your enrollment deposit and you’re excited about coming to Calvin this fall, but you may still be wondering how you will be registered for your fall semester courses. The videos below will help you navigate the academic planning process and get you ready to begin your first semester at Calvin.

Related pages

Information about new student orientation schedules and academic advising appointments.

Summer Advising Videos
  1. Watch: Welcome to Summer Advising

    1. Summer Navigator Introduction

  2. Watch: Pathway to Graduation

    2. Pathway to Graduation

  3. Watch: Welcome to the Calvin Core

    3. Welcome to the Calvin Core

  4. Watch: Welcome to the Calvin Core

    4. What is Advising

  5. Watch: Foundations and skills

    5. Foundations and Skills

  6. Watch: Diversity and difference

    6. Diversity and Difference

  7. Watch: Environmental sustainability

    7. Environmental Sustainability

  8. Watch: Global regions and cultures

    8. Global Regions and Cultures

  9. Watch: How to prepare for college

    9. How to Prepare for College

Watch this playlist on YouTube

Planning Tools

Core curriculum requirements
See Calvin’s general core curriculum requirements.

Program requirements
See course requirements for each major, minor and program.

Academic catalog
Browse the Calvin University Catalog.

How to prepare for your academic life at Calvin

If you’re a checklist sort of person, follow these steps to prepare for your academic life at Calvin.

First-Year Academic Planning Checklist
  • ×

    MAY 1

    1. Complete the required checklist items on your New Student Portal to ensure that Calvin has all the information needed for proper course selection.
    2. Activate your Calvin email account; if you have a smartphone, download the Microsoft Outlook app.
    3. Fill out your Registration Form on your New Student Portal.
  • ×


    1. Review Calvin’s catalog to check out core requirements and look for interesting classes to take.
    2. Know your major? Use your program’s website to explore course requirements and other important information.
    3. Check your Calvin New Student Portal for links to online placement tests for Spanish, French and German.
    4. Ensure that your AP test scores and any transfer credits are sent to Calvin.
  • ×


    1. On this sheet, let us know if you’re interested in a program such as teacher education, engineering, or pre-med so you can get into the right courses.
    2. Planning on being involved in music or athletics? Make sure you note that so your classes don’t get scheduled during practice times.
    3. Want to study abroad? Be sure to menttion this; some core requirements are met by off-campus programs.
  • ×


    1. Learn where resources like academic support (tutoring/coaching, course schedule changes), The Rhetoric Center (paper-writing help), Career Center and the Center for Counseling and Wellness are located.
    2. Make an appointment at the Career Center.

Frequently asked questions

Find answers about planning your academic life at Calvin. If you don’t see an answer to your question here, email or call (616) 526-6155.

What is Academic Advising?

Academic Advising is an important process during which a faculty member guides you through course selection. You will meet with your advisor to discuss requirements for core, your major, balancing your schedule and anything else pertinent to your academic life. Each semester, several days are set aside for academic advising. During this time, it is your responsibility to make an appointment to meet with your advisor to discuss your academic plans for the following semester and for the future. After this meeting, you can sign up for classes during your designated registration time.

When do I register for classes as an incoming student?

You will be registered for classes by Center for Student Success following your appointment with an academic advisor. Use your New Student Portal to register for new student orientation.

How should I decide which courses to take?

Your advisor is your key resource for your first semester registration. He or she will provide course information and recommendations for your major/program of interest and for Calvin’s core curriculum.

Use Calvin’s course catalog to review core and major requirements. If you don’t yet have a major, consider taking a class in an area that interests you—many students find a major by taking an initial course in that program.

What is an “advisor” and how do I get one?

An advisor is a professor in your academic program who is responsible for assisting you to choose the right classes and stay on track to graduate. You will meet with this person each semester before you are able to register for courses; your advisor will sign off on your registration account once you’ve met to ensure that you can register at the correct time. Please contact us right away if you change your major so that we can assign you a new advisor.

How do I get into the classes I want?

Make sure to let your advisor know about your majors/programs of interest and planned extracurricular activities. With this information, your advisor will work with the Center For Student Success to create a schedule that meets your needs. Keep in mind that course availability is limited, so you may not be registered for all of the specific courses or course times that you want.

What if I don’t like the courses that I am registered for?

If you are concerned that you are accidently repeating a transfer or AP course, that your courses don’t fit your major/program, or if you change your major, contact us right away. Other preferential schedule changes are subject to course availability. Visit the Center for Student Success to talk about making these kinds of changes to your schedule.

Why do I have to take core curriculum classes?

As a student, you will not only receive exceptional training for your specific field, but you will also gain a greater understanding and appreciation for other facets of God’s world. This ties into Calvin’s mission to "equip students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world." When you graduate, you will be truly ready to pursue your career and calling with a combination of broad knowledge and real skills that employers love in new hires. Learn more about the core curriculum.

Which placement tests do I need to take?

The checklist on your New Student Portal will show which placement tests you need to take before you can be registered for classes. Most of these assessments can be taken online, and should be completed at least 10 days prior to your advising appointment.

What if I’m undecided about my major and/or career?

Don’t be discouraged—many first- and second-year students haven’t decided on a major. At Calvin, we see learning as a journey and process. You’ll have plenty of opportunities through core curriculum courses, academic clubs and activities and internships to explore different fields.

In your first semester, try to take core courses in a few areas that interest you. These courses will help you decide if a specific field is for you. Talk with your professors about potential career options related to their fields. Calvin’s Career Center is another excellent resource that is open to all students. Career counselors there can help you talk through options, connect you to internships and administer strengths tests.

I have AP or transfer credits. How do I make sure I don’t get registered for courses I’ve already taken?

Please review Calvin’s Advanced Placement policy and familiarize yourself with what course credits may be granted for the AP test that you took. If, when you took your AP test, you requested Calvin as a receiving institution, we will automatically receive your scores. If you did not list Calvin, order your results from College Board at 1-888-CALL-4-AP, Calvin: 1095.

If you took dual-enrollment courses at a college other than Calvin, you will need to request an official transcript from the college of record. Calvin will not grant college course credit based on your high school transcript report. Learn more about transferring credits to Calvin.

What are my responsibilities during Academic Advising?
  • Make an appointment to meet with your advisor at least once each semester.
  • Be familiar with the core requirements and the current catalog.
  • Bring a proposed schedule to your advising appointment with courses needed and desired.
  • Bring a list of questions with you to each of your appointments.
  • Ask about resources available on and off campus related to your career goals.
  • Register for classes once you have met with your advisor and your advisor has cleared you for registering.