Transfer Planning 101

Kim Burkle, ELI Counselor/InstructorToday’s ELIfe blog post is provided by ELI’s Transfer Counselor and Instructor, Kim Burkle.  Kim is available to work with you to help with transfer planning. She can be reached at 703.323.2425 or

Your time at NOVA will go by fast. It is never too early to begin transfer planning. The more research you do now, the smoother the transfer process will be later.

Start by considering the following:

Do you know where you want to go yet?

Do you know what major you will pursue when you transfer?

Do you intend to obtain a degree at NOVA?

Do you know if you are in a college-transfer track  program?

How will you pay for your education?

The Virginia Education Wizard offers a number of resources to assist you in obtaining your education goals. The Transfer Planner provides you a step-by-step guide, from assessing your preferred career through attending orientation at your new college or university.

NOVA has agreements with most of the 4-year institutions in Virginia, as well as several  outside of Virginia. Some agreements are called Guaranteed Admissions Agreements; which means as a NOVA student, you are offered guaranteed admissions to a variety of four-year colleges and universities when you meet the requirements of the written agreement between NOVA and that college. There are also  general Articulation Agreements that define the way courses, programs, or entire categories of programs transfer to another institution; and may include  admission guarantees. You can view the list of GAAs and AAs via NOVA’s transfer webpage.   It is important to read the  agreements carefully, so you know what specific requirements you will need to meet. NOVA also has a great webpage that is all about Guaranteed Admission Agreements!

Check out the four-minute video: NOVA Guaranteed  Admission Agreements.

Once you have identified potential transfer institutions, make time to visit them and speak with an admission representative, take a campus tour, attend an information session, etc. This will help you get a feel for the environment to see if it would be a good fit for you. If you are planning to transfer to an online program, attend an information webinar and test-drive a course, if available.

If you want to learn more, NOVA also hosts a variety of transfer events; such as college visits, transfer fairs, and webinars. The events calendar provides a list of upcoming events.

Attendance and Participation in ELI courses

nullAs your ELI courses begin, it is important to keep in mind attendance and participation in your ELI courses are very important. In fact your attendance and participation are not just important, they are required. Be mindful of Critical Course Deadlines and course specific deadlines so you don’t miss any assignments.  

As soon as your class begins, log into Blackboard and explore your course Blackboard. Use this opportunity to locate and review the course syllabus and assignments folder. This will give you a chance to see what you will be responsible for throughout the semester. In addition, this will also allow you sufficient time to plan your time appropriately, making certain you will be able to complete your readings, assignments, projects and tests in time for their specified due dates. It is crucial to ensure you have completed and submitted your first assignment prior to the First Assignment Due Date to avoid being administratively withdrawn from your course. 

Logging into Blackboard as soon as the semester begins will also give you the opportunity to identify any unexpected issues and provide ample time to ask any questions you might have. 

If you have any questions or you are not sure where to start, you can contact the ELI Student Services Team at 703-323-3347. We are more than happy to answer your questions, as well as refer you to useful resources and services that will support your online learning experience.

EOP’s STEM Diversity Career Expo

EOP’s STEM diversity career expo is a local career fair for anyone looking for a job in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)! The STEM diversity career expo gives you the chance to meet with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies looking to recruit diverse talent. More information about the expo can be found in the flyer below.
STEM Diversity Job Fair Flyer


Ten ELI Tips to get you started!

Be sure to check your Blackboard course site on a regular basis throughout the semester to make sure you don’t miss any course specific deadlines. Check each folder and read announcements from your instructors.

It is important to be aware of Critical Course Deadlines for your courses. In addition, you also want to be aware of course specific deadlines. Get started immediately so you don’t miss any deadlines.

ELI Student Life offers various in-person and virtual events throughout the semester to help connect you to peers, faculty and staff. Join us!

Take advantage of NOVA’s Library Services from your home computer. You can access resources and refer-ences from the Library database with your VCCS username and password.

Do you have any general ELI questions? The Live Chat is a great option to ask general questions, but re-member your instructors are available if you have course specific questions.

Proctor U is an online proctoring service available for some ELI courses. This service gives you the opportunity to take your exams from your home computer using a webcam, microphone and speakers.

Try using Smarthinking for 24/7 online tutoring.

Checking your Student E-Mail Account is important throughout the semester. You will get updates and an-nouncements from your instructor as well as from ELI. Get in the habit of checking this e-mail.

24/7 Tech Support is available from NOVA.

ELI offers several webinars throughout the semester to help you succeed. Check out live sessions or request a copy of a recording.

Congrats Grads!

NOVA’s Commencement Ceremony – Spring Semester 2014
Sunday, May 18 at the Patriot Center at George Mason University.

1 p.m.: Graduates line up for the procession in Parking Lot A on the south side of the Patriot Center. In case of rain, graduates will meet in the Patriot Center’s lower level entrance.
2 p.m.: Ceremony begins.

graduation caps

Congratulations to everyone graduating this weekend! Let us about your post-graduation plans!

Start Strong Through On-Time Registration

Welcome to NOVA! We are dedicated to helping you start strong. Whatever your educational goals, we can help you achieve them. If you are a first-time-to-college student, ages 17-24 (including high school/homeschool/GED graduates), you need to Start Strong at NOVA.start strong

Start Strong begins this fall. The six new policies will change the way new students register and prepare for classes. The new polices are part of an effort to strengthen the NOVA experience. Five of the new policies affect first-time-to-college students (ages 17-24). The sixth policy requiring on-time registration impacts all students: new, current, transfer, international, military or any other type of student. All students must be registered for classes by 11:59 p.m. the day before the session’s start date. Once the session begins, registration is closed.

If you are not enrolled in a class on the start date of the session you will not be able to enroll without permission from the division dean. If you miss on-time registration you can still register for later start date. ELI has several start dates each semester, for students interested in starting a class later in the semester. Check out ELI Critical Course Deadlines for more information. For more information about on-time registration view this video.

Getting started in your summer course!

As you prepare for the new semester, the information referenced below will help you get off to a great start in your ELI courses!

Blackboard Course Availability:  Your online ELI class should appear in Blackboard on the day that your class is scheduled to begin.  Some instructors may make their course available a few days early.  If your class does not appear in Blackboard by the scheduled start date, please contact us at 703.323.3347. If you need help logging into Blackboard, please view the Blackboard tutorial on NOVA’s website.

Review Your Syllabus:  Your syllabus is located in your course Blackboard. Be sure to review it thoroughly and familiarize yourself with due dates to include testing due dates.

ELI Attendance Requirements: To meet attendance requirements for your courses, you must log in and complete at least one assignment by the First Assignment Due Date. Please review your syllabus in Blackboard for your specific course requirements.

NOVA Email:  Please be certain to use your NOVA student email account for communication with NOVA faculty and offices.  

ELI Orientation Webinars:  If you are new to ELI or have not participated in an ELI Orientation webinaryou are encouraged to sign up! The one hour webinar for new ELI students will focus on answering key questions to getting started.

Textbooks:  Course textbooks can be purchased at the Alexandria Campus Bookstore or on the college bookstore website.

Proctor Requests:  If you are out of the area, it is not too early to submit your Proctor Request.  Requests take 3-5 business days to process so please do not wait until the day before your test to submit your request!

ELI Student Services Team is here to help! ELI offers many resources and tips through our social media channels, so be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We wish you an enjoyable and successful semester!

Are you ready to register for your fall classes?

Open registration for fall courses begins today, May 6, 2014!

To review a list of available classes, please click here. (Select ELI under Campus/Center)null

If you need assistance, we are here for you:

Do you need help registering for the class? For step-by-step online registration instructions, please click here. If you need additional assistance, please contact or call ELI Registration at 703.323.3368.

Do you need help with course selection? If you have not been assigned a faculty advisor you can contact an ELI Counselor at or 703.323.2425 for assistance with course selection.

Are you new to ELI? If you are a first-time-to-college student, ages 17-24 (including high school/homeschool/GED graduates), follow this link to Start Strong at NOVA.

If you are a returning college student or over the age of 25, we encourage you to attend an ELI Orientation webinar! The ELI Orientation will focus on answering key questions to getting started. For more information and to register for a session, click here.

Do you have questions about Tuition and Payment? For payment due dates, methods, and online payment instructions, please click here.

If you are looking for additional resources to help you achieve academic success, the ELI Student Services Team is here for you! You can access free online tutoring,  webinars, and free online workshops to help you succeed in your ELI classes. You can reach us at 703.323.3347 or visit us at

Join us for an ELI Orientation

Are you enrolled in your first online learning course this summer? Or, have you taken an online course previously and want to ensure that you are headed in the right direction? Do you have any questions about using Blackboard to complete your ELI course? A great place to start is with the ELI Orientation webinar. 463461567A webinar is a live, online instruction session. You can participate in a webinar from any computer or mobile device with Internet access and speakers. A microphone is not required as we will use a text chat for all questions. Participation in all webinars offered through ELI is free, but registration is required. Prior to the webinar, all students registered will receive an email with information about how to join the webinar live. You can view the ELI Webinar schedule and registration process here.

You will need the ability to run JAVA to load Blackboard Collaborate, the web conferencing tool we use for the orientation webinar. You can test your connection ability ahead of time by visiting and clicking on “First Time Users — Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing”.

The ELI Orientation webinar is a live, one hour online instruction session that focuses on getting started in your ELI courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, identifying tips for success, and highlighting student support services. During the webinar, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have before you start your course.

Connect with ELI on Facebook, Twitter & join fellow ELI students in the Virtual Student Union.

ELI Spotlight: Never Too Old or Too Busy For School

We are excited to share today’s ELI spotlight written by a current ELI student. If you are interested in sharing your story on the ELIfe blog, contact!

I am a 46 year old wife, mother of three children (ages 6 years, 8 years, and 26 years old that have special needs), an ordained minister, and I have my own  business.  I wanted to go back to school to earn my associates degree and it seemed like I  couldn’t find the time.  But I did not want to give up on my goals and dreams.

Going back to school was exciting and scary for me.  It was exciting because it meant that I would have an opportunity to move my business out of the house and my dreams would become a reality.  I’ve always wanted to operate my own business but in order to move to the next level, I needed a degree.  It was scary because I haven’t been in a college setting for at least 12 years and I was sure a lot had changed. I wasn’t sure how I would do academically since I am much older than the average college student. At least that is what I thought.

I have chosen to take ELI classes because my schedule is so hectic with my obligations to my church and my job.  I work over 60 hours a week and I  attend church at least three times a week. Going back to school seemed impossible. I researched the type of degree I wanted and looked at the courses offered through the ELI program. There were only a few courses I needed that are not offered through ELI.  I immediately signed up and began my journey.

The classes are at your own pace but within the given schedule of the course.  For example, I had a week to complete an assignment and I could work on it at my own pace within that week. I signed up for two 3-credit courses and one 1-credit course. My first experience was a wonderful one. The Orientation webinar was a big help to assist me with how to use the blackboard and  understand the course.  It showed me the programs I  needed on my computer to ensure they were compatible.  I made sure to complete this process before the  my classes started so I would become  familiar with the system.

Even though I wasn’t in a classroom  setting the communication between the other students and the  instructor was awesome.  The assignments were designed to help me think and also share my thoughts and ideas with others. One of the classes was the (SDV100) College Success Skills course. I learned lots of skills to help me with my classes.  Even though I know what career I am interested in, the class gave information to help towards my goals and useful study habits. If you want to go back to school and don’t have the time to go to a campus, then you should defiantly consider the ELI program.  All the classes for your major may not be offered through the program but they have a large variety to choose from.  Even though this is my first semester I am excited to know that my goals and dreams are attainable.

The NOVA ELI Student Blog