Home GRCC Back to School Back-to-School Tips to Help You Be Successful

Back-to-School Tips to Help You Be Successful

RJF Building (Breegan Petruska/The Collegiate)

With the 2021-22 academic year starting Monday and many heading to campus for the first time since the pandemic began, The Collegiate compiled information to help Grand Rapids Community College students hit the ground running. 

Many students can relate to the inevitable stress and anxiety that a new semester brings, but may not be aware of the many services and resources GRCC makes available to them. Although not all of this advice is related to campus resources, here is some helpful information that may help ease the pressure of a new semester.

Grand Rapids Construction

The Michigan Department of Transportation has stated on their website that the I-196/US-131 interchange project is expected to be completed by November 2021. The purpose of this construction is to replace the bridge deck on eastbound I-196 over the Grand River, widen I-196 with an additional lane in each direction between Fuller and Maryland avenues, and to rebuild the eastbound and westbound I-196 bridges over Plymouth Avenue.

The MDOT webpage does not have information regarding the construction currently taking place on both US-131 northbound and southbound lanes along the S-Curve. Students and faculty should plan accordingly when commuting to and from campus as traffic has seen major delays and back-ups coming from all directions meeting at the I-196/US-131 interchange.

Construction on I-196 and US-131 is not limited to these expressways, but these will be major factors in traffic delays. Downtown Grand Rapids is undergoing construction on heavily used streets which can be monitored here.

Campus Locations

With GRCC’s new Holland Lakeshore Campus opening this semester, students should be certain of where each campus is located and which building their classes are in. 

The Main and DeVos campuses are located in downtown Grand Rapids, with Raleigh J. Finkelstein (RJF) Hall, Cook Hall, and Sneden Hall being the more popular locations for classes. Both RJF and Cook halls are connected and located on the Main Campus between Fountain Street and Lyon Street. The DeVos Campus, home of Sneden Hall, is located on Fulton Street between Prospect Avenue and College Avenue. 

Individuals have the option to use the free shuttle service Monday-Thursday between the Main and DeVos campuses. There are no specific times for this service, but individuals can expect a bus to arrive at either campus every 10 minutes or so. 

GRCC has a map to assist with finding locations on campus.


The first week of the fall semester usually entails tightly packed parking ramps and long waits for a space to open. Students, and even faculty, should plan accordingly and give themselves more than enough time to commute to campus, find a parking space, and have time to locate their class with time to spare.

GRCC has two parking ramps located near the Main Campus for students and faculty: Bostwick Parking Ramp and Lyon Parking Ramp. There are also two parking lots located at the DeVos Campus for individuals to park. Students must pay $3.50 per day to park at these locations: however, GRCC allows students to enter and exit these locations multiple times each day while only paying the $3.50 once. Students must swipe their RaiderCard when entering and exiting the ramp for this feature to work.

Individuals can also use the pay in-lane machines to use the parking locations. This option costs $2 per half hour or up to $12 maximum per day. More information regarding parking rates and fees can be found on the GRCC Parking & Transportation webpage.

Other options include parking meters or streetside parking that is within walking distance of both downtown campuses. However, individuals should be aware that these options are heavily patrolled by the City of Grand Rapids as they do not hesitate to issue tickets for illegal parking. 

Student Services

GRCC’s recent construction on the Main Campus has made services much easier for students to navigate and receive guidance. 

Individuals can find assistance with financial aid, admissions, enrollment, and more all on the first floor of RJF Hall. Students can also receive help with academic advising, tutoring, personal counseling, disability accommodations, career preparation, and a handful of other services at GRCC. The available GRCC student services webpage can be found here.

The available resources are not limited to school-related services. Student Life Services offers assistance to individuals suffering from food, housing, financial, and other areas of insecurities.


Students and faculty members are required to have a RaiderCard to assist with the school’s commitment to campus safety. Both students and faculty can use their RaiderCards for campus dining, parking, computers/printing, bookstore supplies, and to gain free access to all amenities at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.

Individuals who need to replace, add funds, or have any other questions regarding their RaiderCard can find the information here.

Remember: it does not hurt to ask for help. There are plenty of resources available to help students and faculty maintain their success.

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