How to Get the Most from an Advising Session

FAQ

Most advising sessions begin with a simple question, how may I assist you today? Another common question is, what do you want to get out of NOVA? We want to know what purpose NOVA serves in your life and academic plans. This can convert a conversation from a recitation of the facts, to an exploration of your goals and avenues for growth and improvement.

Before contacting our office, or visiting we encourage you to become an active stakeholder in your future. Take the initiative and do your research. A successful student tends to be the one who is organized and anticipates their next step. In short, you must mise en place your academic life. The more research and preparation you do, the more you can get out of a visit with an advisor or counselor. Below are some tips to help you get the most of your session.

Know your NOVA ID/EMPLID number

Having your ID number or better yet your NOVA Card is an indispensable tool. Not only can you use it around campus it speeds up pulling up your account.

When possible write your questions down in a bulleted list

Writing your questions down provides a framework that ensures your questions are answered. Due to time constraints and the fact that there is a lot to go over, an advisor may not be able to cover everything in detail about a program. Your bulleted list signals to the advisors that you’ve done your initial research. This allows the advisor to focus on what you specialty don’t know or are in need of clarification.

  1. How do I transfer Credits
  2. What are the entry requirements for…
  3. How can I satisfy the math placement requirement

Bring your official external transcripts.

Students often ask us what courses they have left to take. While we encourage you to bring your external transcripts, we are not able to give you a list of courses that will or will not transfer. In some cases, a student can know what will transfer by visiting the College Records Office website and utilize their transfer guide. Preferably this would have been done before your visit to the office. If you have already transferred courses to NOVA, you should review your transfer credit center and compare the transferred courses to your program requirements.

Take Notes

You’ve done your research, brought transcripts if applicable and wrote your questions down. Your next step is to take notes during your visit. We generally have scrap paper and pens on hand for you to use. However, it is best that you keep a notebook, or note app on your smartphone at the ready. Again the more organized you are the more likely you are to succeed.

Ask Extra Questions

If something an advisor has said isn’t clear, ask again. Always ask for clarification if you don’t understand. Remeber that an advising session is a conversation, so its ok to go off script.

Follow Up

Part of being the advocate of your own destiny is being proactive. Take charge and constantly investigating options, program requirements and areas of improvement are wholly your responsibility. Checking in at least once a semester is ideal, especially if you are applying to a program more than a year out.

Things Change

Program changes can occur often with little warning. As such you must be vigilant and ready to act. When possible our office reaches out to students via email or on our blog and facebook pages, but it is impossible to inform everyone. When changes occur a student may feel frustrated, often because a course or courses are no longer required or used by a program. This is normally an issue when students are planning to join a program two or three years down the line. You will need to carefully weigh the risk of program changes when starting on an extended academic plan. this may require that you try and start a little sooner.

We hope that you get the most out of your interaction with our advising staff. As always feel free to send your questions and we will work to answer them as quickly as possible.

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