This week at ELI!

FALL Tuition Payment: If you registered for fall 2017 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment or have financial aid in place, you must do so  by Monday, July 24 at 5 p.m. to avoid being dropped from your courses! Check out NOVA’s website for more for more details about tuition payment methods and deadlines.

Of course, there’s still plenty of time to register for fall if you haven’t done so already! ELI’s first fall session begins Monday, August 21. ELI has additional fall start dates later in the semester. Check the full list of fall 2017 courses.

NOVA offers a payment plan for students enrolled in courses. Please note the last day to sign up for the payment plan is August 24.

Just remember, if you register for fall courses on or after Monday, July 24, your payment is due by 5 p.m. the next business day.

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams! Plan ahead so you are prepared as your exams quickly approach. Review the testing information website to make arrangements. This previous blog post will also help as you prepare whether you are taking exams at NOVA, through ProctorU, or with a testing location in your area. Questions? Reach out to ELICourseSpecialists@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347. Join our Virtual Student Union: ELI’s VSU has a new look! Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Engage in your Community! Did you miss our Community Involvement Fair? Check out our community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available: Community Volunteer Booklet. Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!

Want to write for the ELI Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email ELIStuLife@nvcc.edu for more information.

The Networking Challenge

Being a busy and slightly shy student, I found networking to be challenging, even when given specific recommendations for people with whom to connect. Ironically, my most important networking lesson came from a woman I had avoided contacting when I was a novice networker. Although I had shied away from reaching out to her, I came into contact with her through other means: I was assigned to work with her during an internship. Not only did she teach me much about the career I was considering, but she also introduced me to people who I needed to know in my field—including one who eventually had a role in hiring me for my first professional position.

What I didn’t know as a student is that people generally like to help others, especially when you make it easy for them.

Networking is among the most effective career development and job-search techniques. Many job seekers spend their time looking at job postings and want ads, but these seldom provide a complete job description. That’s where networking can play a role: Savvy students use networking to get the full story about organizations, positions, and career-growth opportunities.

Not only can you use networking to find jobs, but the information you learn through networking can help you craft your resume appropriately and give you an edge in the interview. (Although you are likely focused on your first professional job, remember that networking is important for subsequent jobs as well.)

If you are like many students, networking to learn about career options and job/internship leads is probably toward the bottom of your list of job-search tasks. Unfortunately, it may only emerge as important when you’ve exhausted your other options and desperation-or some twist of fate-forces you to try networking.

The fact is, if you are like many students, you probably use networking skills more than you realize. For example, to choose classes, you read through the course catalog, ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations, read “student only” sites with feedback on specific courses and professors, and (hopefully) talk to your academic adviser. Your parents also might offer their thoughts. This is networking. It is a combination of research, conversation, and analysis.

Make networking part of your daily activities

You can easily make networking a part of your normal daily activities. For example, it’s likely you’re being asked by friends and relatives about your post-graduation plans. This is a networking opportunity. Share details with them about fields or positions of interest to help them think of people they know who are doing similar work. Ask them to help you connect with these people, and then, follow through. (Uncertain about your intended career path? Not sure you can offer a clear answer to questions about what you want to do after graduation? Ask your career adviser to help you refine your interests and formulate a good response.)

Make the most of your networking

Finding people to contact is just part of networking. Try these quick tips to make the most of your conversations with networking contacts:

  • Send an e-mail to introduce yourself when requesting a meeting. Explain (briefly!) what you have in common and describe what you hope to learn through your conversation. Include a date and time that you will follow up by phone to schedule your meeting time if you haven’t heard back; then, follow through! (Because so many people don’t do what they say they will, this attention to detail is sure to impress.)
  • Research the industry, organization, and person you will be meeting prior to your conversation.
  • Consider information that you are learning in classes, internships, or student organizations that might be interesting to your target contact.
  • Make a list of questions to ask; if you are starting with a sample list of questions obtained from your career center or online, customize the questions to be specific to the industry and the person you will be contacting.
  • Treat professionals with respect. Use appropriate grammar and spelling when writing messages. If you’ve scheduled a meeting, don’t cancel. Arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Whether your conversation is in person, on the phone, or via e-mail, follow up with a thank-you note to show your appreciation and improve your chances of creating a productive relationship.
  • Don’t be discouraged if some people whom you contact aren’t immediately helpful. Be patient, and continue to develop contacts. Similarly, you might encounter people who you don’t feel a positive connection toward; in those cases, be polite, send a thank-you note, and move on. None of us can predict which connections will lead to meaningful outcomes, so use care to nurture your connections. Accept networking as an investment in your future that can produce results in the present.

There are a variety of places through which to find people to talk to about your professional interests. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn;
  • Alumni networks and campus mentoring programs;
  • Career fairs, employer information sessions, and networking events;
  • Professional associations related to your field of interest;
  • Friends/family and their friends; and
  • Community groups.

Article written by Lisa Hinkley, Director of Career Services, at Lake Forest College.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Studying for Finals? Consider this 4-day study plan!

Final exams and final projects are quickly approaching in your summer term courses! Follow us on the ELIfe Social Media channels for tips for successful finals prep. We are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The ELI Success Coaching Team is here to help support you and provide study tips. You can contact them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Studying for an Exam Day 1: Communicate with Your Instructor, Find a Study Partner and Organize

1.    Ask your instructor what type of test it will be. Multiple choice? Essay? That will make a difference in how you prepare.

2.    Ask your instructor for a review sheet/study guide if he/she has not already given you one.

3.    Find a study partner — set up dates to meet to include the night before the test if possible – even via phone/Facebook/Skype.

4.    Print and organize your notes, old quizzes, textbook, assignments and handouts from the units being tested.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions (for example: cell phone, TV, instant messenger, etc.)

2.    Organize handouts, past tests, and other information according to dates. Make note of anything you are missing. (Where’s the vocab quiz from chapter 2?) Pay special attention to the questions that you missed and spend extra time studying those questions.

3.    Rewrite or type your notes. Creating an outline of the information you need to know will help you understand how the material covered in the class is related.

4.    Review the material you have. Go through the review sheet to determine what material will be covered. Read through your quizzes/handouts/notes and study questions from your book’s chapters.

Studying for a Test Day 2: Course Review, Review and Apply the Material to Better Understand 

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Communicate with your instructor to clarify areas you didn’t understand and request any missing items.

3.    Ask if there will be a review before the test and continue to review on your own and review with your Study Partner (if time permits). If there will not be a course review, consider organizing one – you can reserve a study room and meet in a campus or local library.

When Studying:

1.    Create flashcards with a question/term/vocab word on the front of the card, and the answer on the back. Quizlet is a free website/app that will help you design flashcards, practice tests and quizzes. The website/app also has pre-made flash cards (a favorite app by many students).

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes, and review everything on the review sheet that you don’t already know using mnemonic devices like acronyms or singing a song. Also, apply the material to your life in ways that you can remember and understand. When the timer goes off, take a 15 min. break and revisit your review sheet. Study again, setting the timer if it works well for you.

3.    If you are not using the Quizlet App, put your flashcards in your purse, backpack, or car so that you can review them when you are not busy.

Studying for a Test Day 3: Review and Apply the Material, Create Practice Tests

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions

2.    When you have any free time, review your flashcards and ask yourself questions (when you’re waiting for class to start, at lunch, during study hall, etc.)

3.    Confirm a study date for tomorrow night.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Set a timer for 45 minutes again. Go back through your flashcards and review sheet, learning/applying material (especially reviewing areas that are causing you some struggles). Take a 5-minute break. If necessary, set a timer for 45 minutes again and continue if you’re still unsure of any material!

3.    Create a few “practice tests” for yourself and your study partner (you can create your own, use study guides or visit your textbook website for practice tests).  A practice test should include questions about key terminology, facts, and concepts that are likely to be on the test.

4.    Be sure to have your flashcards (Quizlet App) ready for review again tomorrow.

Studying for a Test Day 4: Review, Study/Quiz Self, Confirm Meeting Time with Study Partner

1.    Throughout the day, pull your flashcards out and review.

2.    Confirm your study date with a friend or classmate.

When Studying:

1.    Turn off or silence any distractions.

2.    Again, review your flashcards paying special attention to the remaining material that was giving you some struggles.

3.    Quiz. With your study partner, take turns asking possible exam questions to each other. You will learn the material better by alternating asking the questions. Stop once you’ve been through the questions a few times and get a good night’s sleep.

Be sure to check out free online workshops by Student Lingo. If you need additional review, you can use ELI’s free online tutoring service through Smarthinking. If you are using a campus testing center, double check testing center hours and if possible, do not wait until the last day – emergencies can come up and in many classes, you will not be able to take the test late.

If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to contact the ELI Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or call 703.764.5076.

Student Lingo Workshop: Testing Anxiety

Does your heart start pounding when a test is placed in front of you? Do you know the material but your mind goes blank? These are just a few of the common challenges students face when taking a test.

As your final exams are quickly approaching, we strongly encourage checking out the Student Lingo recorded workshop entitled, Taking Tests Online: Strategies For Successtest anxiety

How often do you feel like you know the material like the back of your hand, but when you get into the testing situation, you freeze? This workshop discusses various strategies for test preparation and coping skills for situations that provoke test anxiety. The presenter does a great job describing scenarios in a testing situation that can easily lead to test anxiety in addition to our internal messages and how best to control them. She also discusses external circumstances that contribute to test anxiety and how to keep them at bay before you enter the testing situation.

The presentation also contains strategies for taking different types of tests ranging from multiple choice to true/false to essay formats. The presenter’s emphatic style and her understanding of issues related to test anxiety keeps you engaged and hopefully, when you take your exam, you will feel more confident and at peace after viewing this presentation!

We also encourage you to look back at a previous ELI Student Blog post to help you prepare for your exams.

As you prepare for your exams, make sure you know your testing location and policies. Whether you are going to a NOVA campus testing center, using a local testing center, or using ProctorU, make sure you have all the updated information including testing center hours.

If you need assistance locating helpful study resources, contact the ELI Student Success Coach at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or  703.764.5076.

NOVA Offices closed for 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

NOVA offices, including campus testing centers, will be closed Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4, 2017.  ProctorU will be available during this time to take exams for courses that offer the online proctoring option.

Testing Center hours are subject to change so please visit the Testing Center Calendar when making your plans. Remember it is important to provide plenty of time to take the exam as there may be lines when you arrive.

NOVA Campus Offices will reopen Wednesday, July 5. Please plan accordingly.

Where are my grades?

You should be reviewing your grades on a regular basis in the My Grades area of Blackboard. Each Blackboard course site has Blackboard Tutorials available to help you navigate. This tutorial will help you monitor your grades in your Blackboard course site.

You can see grades for all of your courses or one course at a time.

To view grades for all of your courses, select the arrow next to your name in the upper-right corner. In the menu, select “My Grades”. You can sort your grades by All Courses or Last Graded. If your work hasn’t been graded, grade status icons appear. Select an item’s title to view details.

To view the grades for the course you’re in, select the “My Grades” link on the course menu or on the Tools page.

Your instructor controls which links appear on the course menu, so if you don’t see if there, click on “Tools” and locate My Grades.

Make sure you are monitoring your grades and your instructors feedback. This is very important to your success in the course.

Once your course ends, check your final grades in your Student Information System (SIS). Your grades will be posted in the “other academics” drop down in your student center.

Tutorial provided by Blackboard Help. Use these tutorials to help you navigate your Blackboard course site. Contact ELI’s IT Helpdesk (24/7) with any questions – 703.764.5051. ELI’s Student Success coaches are available to help you navigate Blackboard. Reach out to them at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347.

eLEAD experience

The numerous emails that fill your inbox with information about extra-curricular activities, which we are all guilty of ignoring and discarding. I came across one which I thankfully did not ignore. The eLEAD series.null“I take online classes, I can’t participate in extra-curricular activities.” A similar thought ever cross your mind? Well you can’t be far from wrong! There are many opportunities for online students to participate in extra-curricular activities. Among the variety of student life options, is the eLEAD series. This series is a 4 week program designed to help you build on your leadership skills. The series helps you recognize your strengths through the StrengthsQuest Assessment. StrengthsQuest is an assessment built to help you recognize your 5 most dominant strengths. Throughout this program you will learn how to use these strengths to help build your leadership skills and how to work and communicate efficiently. And upon completion of this series you receive a certificate of completion, which will be a great asset to your resume.

All in all it was a great opportunity to learn to look at my strengths rather than weaknesses, and to be able to communicate with others taking online classes!

Blog was provided by Student Blogger, Ammarah, who participated in the eLEAD program spring 2017.

In you are interested in joining this eLEAD series for Fall 2017, email ELI Student Life at elistulife@nvcc.edu for more details on registration.

Want to write for the ELI Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email ELIStuLife@nvcc.edu for more information.

This week at ELI

Summer Tuition Payment: If you registered for summer 2017 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment or have financial aid in place, you must do so to avoid being dropped from your courses! Check out this blog post for more details about summer tuition payment.

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams! Plan ahead so you are prepared as your exams quickly approach. Review the testing information website to make arrangements. This previous blog post will also help as you prepare whether you are taking exams at NOVA, through ProctorU, or with a testing location in your area. Questions? Reach out to ELICourseSpecialists@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347. Join our Virtual Student Union: ELI’s VSU has a new look! Are you taking online classes and looking to connect with other students outside of a classroom setting? Check out our Virtual Student Union or VSU. This is an engagement hub where ELI students have access to create a profile, join discussion forums and connect with other students. In celebration of our new site launch, students will be eligible for raffle prizes once they create an account and interact on the site. Drawings will be done weekly and monthly through the fall semester. Join now!

Engage in your Community! Did you miss our Community Involvement Fair? Check out our community volunteer booklet to learn more about the variety of non-profits participating and volunteer opportunities available: Community Volunteer Booklet. Email us at elistulife@nvcc.edu and tell us where and when you are volunteering and we will send you a FREE NOVA Student Life T-shirt to wear!

Want to write for the ELI Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email ELIStuLife@nvcc.edu for more information.

Tips From Employers That Are Hiring

The best job-search advice comes from the employers that are hiring. If you take the time to follow this advice, you’ll be better prepared than your competition for your application and interview.

Here are some things you can do to aid in your job-search success:

Research the Company

  • What products or services does the company produce and sell?
  • Where is it located?
  • How well did the company do last year?
  • What activities by this company have been in the news lately?

Learn something about the company with which you want to interview. Read its website and its annual report. Search for news stories mentioning the company. Use this information to customize your resume and cover letter for the position you want. Impress the interviewer by knowing something about the company.

Perfect Your Qualifications

A high GPA is important. It means you know the subject matter. However, employers are looking for people with “soft skills,” too—skills you can learn through extracurricular activities such as leading a team, taking part in a group task, or organizing a volunteer project. Employers want to find communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork skills, initiative, the ability to relate to co-workers and customers, problem solving skills, and analytical skills.

Get Experience

Year after year, the majority of employers taking part in a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) say they prefer to hire job candidates who have pertinent experience. For college students, typically, relevant experience is gained through an internship.

In fact, an internship can be the “foot in the door” to a job with many employers: NACE surveys show that newly hired employees often come from the organization’s own internship program.

Build a Network

Whether you get the job you want—or even hear about the job opportunity you want—could easily depend on who you know.

Here’s where you will find people to build your professional network:

  • Business and professional social networking sites
  • Professional associations (online and in person)
  • Career fairs
  • Company information sessions
  • Your school’s alumni network
  • An internship or co-op program
  • A student professional organization
  • Faculty contacts
  • Employee referrals
  • Parents of friends who work in your field

Apply Online

Few employers want a paper copy of your resume in the mail. Many employers want to receive resumes and job applications through their websites.

Here are tips to keep your resume from getting lost in a company’s database of applicants:

  • Load your resume with keywords: Add job titles and specific skills—especially those that are specific to your field.
  • Use jargon and phrases specific to your field.
  • List the names of companies you’ve worked for or interned with: recruiters may look for their competitors’ names.
  • Post your resume on professional niche websites.

Make Career Services Your BFF

What is it worth to have someone who is in daily contact with potential employers show you how to write a winning cover letter, critique your resume, practice interviewing with you, connect you with people who are working in your field, and give you access to thousands of job opportunities?

Find the career center on your university or college campus today. Employers use this resource to find new hires, so shouldn’t you be there?

Say Thank You

Stand out among candidates. Send a thank-you note to each recruiter you meet at a career fair; to the employer who practices a mock interview with you; to a hiring manager who spends a few minutes interviewing you for a job; to anyone who serves as a job reference.

  • Keep your message short and confirm your interest. “Thank you for the opportunity to discuss [name of the position] at XYZ Company.”
  • Spell the recruiter’s name and title correctly.
  • Send your message immediately.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Reminders from a student blogger

Hate going to class? Class timings don’t fit your schedule? Why not take online classes instead? You can do your work whenever you want, without having to worry about being in class, due dates and all the other stress that comes with on campus classes. WRONG! Though online classes are flexible, you do have course specific due dates, and can even be more demanding than an on campus class. In an online course you do not have a professor in front of you, or assigned times to go to class. In an online class you have to set your own time where you will sit down and complete the course work. You need to put in a lot of effort, and be determined and responsible. But worry not! I have some tips which will make this exhausting/stressful/tedious task not so exhausting/stressful/tedious.

Reminders: Set reminders for yourself in a planner, phone, or any other smart device. Set aside a time during the week that is just for your studies.

Syllabus: Your syllabus will be your best friend during an online course. I like to have a print out and screenshot of my syllabus for easy accessibility.

Divide the work: If you can’t set aside enough time to get your work done on time, divide the work and spread it over a few days. This way you won’t be burdened by a lot of work, and you won’t lose your mind trying to complete it all right before the due date.

Tutoring: Smarthinking provides students with free online tutoring in their Blackboard course site. You can set up a 1:1 appointment, submit questions to your account, join live tutoring sessions or submit a draft of a paper to the writing lab. If you prefer on-campus tutoring, that is available to you at one of the 6 Nova Campuses.

Proctored Exams: All ELI courses require proctored exams. It is always a good idea to decide how, when, and where you will be taking your exams early in the semester. Check out the testing website for more info OR If you plan on taking your exam through an alternate testing site, it’s a good idea to get the proctor request form filled out and approved so you are all ready when exam time comes around.

And at the beginning of your course decide on how, and where you will be taking your test/exam or any assignments you might need to take at a testing center.

At the beginning of your course print out your syllabus, exam passes, and any other documents that will be important for your course. You may be thinking exam passes now? Yes, now because you never know what issue can come up, and you are not able to have it printed out on time which would lead to you missing the test/exam.

Last, but most definitely not least, take advantage of the many resource provided by NOVA for FREE! If you have any questions, reach out to the Student Success Coaches at elisuccess@nvcc.edu or 703.323.3347 for assistance!

Blog was provided by Student Blogger, Ammarah, who took her first online course in Spring 2017.

The NOVA ELI Student Blog