New to NOVA? Here’s How to Get Started!



If you are a student in the 17-24 age range and this is your first time attending college (no transfer credits, unless they are dual enrollment), then you will be a part of the GPS for Success program. GPS stands for Goals, Plans, and Strategies for Success. Our purpose is to provide you with professional advisement and proven successful study skills and strategies to assist you in your academic progression at NOVA. We are also here to help you decide what program is best for you, and to plan for transfer to four-year institutions if that is your goal. So how do you successfully navigate NOVA as a GPS student?

1. Have you applied to NOVA? If you have applied to NOVA and you fit the eligibility criteria mentioned above, then you are automatically a part of the GPS for Success program. There is nothing else that you need to do to be part of GPS. When you applied, you received a User ID (a combination of letters and numbers), and what is called either an EMPLID or SIS ID (a 7-digit number). These will be very important, as you will need these for everything NOVA-related. Your User ID will also be your VCCS email. Just add “” to your User ID and you have your new NOVA email! Log in to MyNOVA to access your student information and email.

2. Have you taken your English and Math Placement tests? If not, you are able to take the placement test at any campus placement testing center. You can just walk in, no appointment is necessary. Please bring a photo ID with you (driver’s license/permit, school ID, passport or green card) and be prepared to allot 2-3 hours per test. To find out testing center hours, get an idea of what the placement tests are like, and take a practice test, go here.

3. Do you have holds on your account? A hold means that you may not be able to register for courses until you have turned in some documentation. You may have to visit your campus Student Services center in order to turn in this documentation. It is best to log in to MyNOVA and find out what, if any, holds are on your account before moving on to the next steps. If you only have a “GPS” hold on your account, that hold will be removed once you have come to campus for New Student Orientation.

4. Have you met with a First Year Advisor? While you will be registering for classes during New Student Orientation, it is wise to meet with a First Year Advisor for early advising, to discuss your program plan and your academic goals, or just to establish your advising relationship! If you are in need of Disability Services, it would also be a good idea to meet with a Disability Support Services counselor and complete an intake packet prior to starting classes. Find out more about Disability Support Services here.

5. Have you signed up for a New Student Orientation? You will need to register for Orientation in order to enroll in courses at NOVA. At Student Orientation you will:

  • Receive interpretation of Placement Test scores
  • Develop an academic goal
  • Meet with a first-year advisor
  • Create your class schedule and register for courses
  • Learn about payment options and Financial Aid

Register for a Student Orientation here.

Next Steps:

Paying for Courses: After attending a Student Orientation, you will have to pay for courses. Financial aid may be used to pay for your courses. To find out more about payment options, click here.

Obtaining your NOVA ID card: click here for more information.

Obtaining Textbooks and Course Supplies: click here for campus Bookstore information.

Obtaining a Parking Pass: click here for Parking Information. Please note that after 4pm, parking is FREE in all B-lots and garages.

Please feel free to walk into any campus Student Services Center for more help with any of these steps. We are here for you as you start your journey at NOVA!

Test First! at the NOVA Alexandria Campus

If you are a first-time-to-college student who is graduating from high school, have already applied to NOVA, and plan on attending either in Spring 2016 for or Summer 2016 semester, you can take advantage of special placement testing at the Alexandria campus this spring!

Test First! is an opportunity to take your English and Math placement tests on campus, receive early advising, and talk about your next steps for attending NOVA. 

See you at Test First!