Motivational Minute: Life Beyond School

smell the roses

As a student, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there is life beyond school. Writing papers, taking tests, group projects each take up so much physical and mental energy that, often, it seems as if there is no room for anything else. But making time for enjoyment is crucial in staying motivated to continue working towards your academic and professional goals. Doing something fun can refresh your mind, help you generate new ideas, recharge your motivation, and help you perform in school with more vigor. Dedicate at least one complete day of the week to do things purely because they make YOU feel good. If you cannot take an entire day, devote a few hours on a specific day for that purpose each week.

There are endless options when it comes to entertaining oneself that you can try. Explore new interests, try a new recipe, play a new game, catch up on your favorite T.V. show, be with friends/family, take a nap. You can even link with those who share common interests (MeetUp is a great way to find local common interest groups and activities) and find discounted, exciting activities and trips (LivingSocial is a great place to start) to enjoy. Push yourself out of the box and be more than just a student. Life is a gift, use it well and get the most out of all it has to offer. Namaste.

–Jennifer, NOVA Online Student Success Coach

Where Does the Time Go?

imagesDo you know where your time goes? It seems that the older you get, the more responsibilities are put on you. Take this brief quiz via Virginia Tech’s website to determine just how much time you have to dedicate to your studies. If the time left over is not equivalent to at least twice the number of credits you are enrolled in, you do not have enough time allotted for your studies.  But, there are things you can do; such as reducing the time spent on some activities/responsibilities, adjusting your work hours, or adjusting the number of credits you take in a semester.

When one can’t reduce their time on activities or responsibilities or work; that leaves the number of credits one should take in a semester. Many students I talk with want to be able to do it all – work full-time, go to college full-time, take care of their family, etc. Course load is often the only factor that can be manipulated; but students do not want to delay their educational goals. This is certainly admirable; but, if one does not have enough time to complete their course work accurately and on-time, and study effectively for exams; one’s grades will suffer and it can take longer to reach your goals. So, I encourage you to take the quiz and see where your time goes. Do you have enough time in the week to dedicate to your studies? Are you using the time efficiently? Or do you find you do not have enough time? What can you reduce or eliminate from your schedule to make more time? Watch the Time Management: Strategies for Success video by StudentLingo to obtain some great tips on managing your time effectively!

-Written by NOVA Online Counselor, Kim Burkle

Tuition Deadline

Heads up! If you registered for summer 2015 courses and haven’t submitted your tuition payment yet, you must do so by Monday, April 27 at 5 p.m. to avoid being dropped from your courses! If you have questions about payment, visit NOVA’s summer 2015 payment information. You can also call the NOVA Online Hotline at 703-323-3347 for assistance.Syllabus

Of course, there’s still plenty of time to register for summer if you haven’t done so already! NOVA Online’s first summer session starts May 18 and for many courses, additional sections are offered starting June 1, 15, or later. Check the full list of summer 2015 courses here.

Just remember, if you register for summer courses on or after Monday, April 27, your payment is due by 5 p.m. the next business day to hold your place in the course.

If you have questions about your financial aid, contact the student support center. Make sure your financial aid is in place to hold your classes.

Take Back the Night

sas2Take Back the Night is an event held around the world to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence and to promote a community that stands up against this violence. Decades ago in Europe, women from many countries met together as a tribunal council to discuss women’s safety when walking down public streets. This was the first ever Take Back the Night. In later years, a rally and march has been held in several cities around the world to protest several issues around women’s safety.

The first Take Back the Night came to the United States in the late 1960s. In 1973, Take Back the Night was held to protest pornography in San Francisco, and serial murders of women of color in Los Angeles. In October 1975, a march was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after the murder of Susan Alexander Speeth, who was stabbed to death while walking home alone. Since the 1970s in the United States, Take Back the Night has focused on eliminating sexual and domestic violence in all forms. Thousands of colleges and universities, domestic violence shelters, and rape crisis centers have held this event all over the country.

NOVA has had three Take Back the Nights in the last year. We hold Take Back the Night twice a year, in April and October. NOVA’s most current Take Back the Night was held on April 21, 2015 at the Loudoun Campus. This event consists of a resourcSAS1e fair and rally followed by a candle light march around the campus. We invite resources within the NOVA community, as well as outside resources. During our rally, we invite sexual assault, domestic violence and/or stalking survivors to talk about their experiences. If you would like to participate in the next Take Back the Night at NOVA, please contact Angela Acosta at or 703-323-2406.

If you are in need of services or have questions, please contact NOVA SAS at or text/call 703-338-0834 (24 hours / 7 days a week).

-Written by: Angela Acosta, Sexual Assault Services (SAS) Outreach Specialist, NOVACares Office 

Motivational Minute: Seek Opportunities for Growth

It is easy to become stagnant on the road to professional success. One can get stuck in the repetition of the day-to-day routine and settle into a state of complacency. Resting in complacency leaves no room for change. Growth and change are constant processes and opportunities for learning and developing should be actively sought daily. Take a moment to think of what you want for your future and ask yourself, what do I need to learn today to get myself there? What types of experiences do I need to get into the 4-year school I want to attend? What skills will I need to develop or practice to get the job I want, to be a better student, etc.?

Answering these questions on your own can be a bit daunting and you may need guidance on where to find such opportunities, i.e. internships, research opportunities, professional development workshops, etc. Luckily, NOVA has a staff of people who can guide you. Instructors can be a great resource for learning what types of professional experiences a student will need to be successful in a specific profession. Counselors can give you information on choosing your career path.  Success Coaches can help you develop the skills you need to complete your classes to get you to that end goal.

Access your resources to see what types of experiences you should be having and put yourself in the position to take advantage of any opportunity that may take you to a new level. Say “yes” to as many experiences as possible because you never know what the right “yes” will lead you to. Namaste.

NOVA Online Counselors:

NOVA Online Success Coaches:

-Jennifer, NOVA Online Success Coach

Interview Time Is Show Time

493707153Want to tell a potential employer that you’re creative? A problem solver? Flexible?

Instead of describing yourself as a “self-starter,” tell a story about how you took action when you saw an issue that needed to be fixed.

Don’t say you are “flexible”—tell the hiring manager about a change in your job (or schoolwork demands) and what you did to deal with the change.

Well-worn phrases won’t help you get the job, but concrete examples will!

Don’t say

The story you need to tell

Highly qualified Highlight your accomplishments in previous jobs. Emphasize your specific skills and note any certifications you have earned.
Hard worker Explain exactly how you’ve gone the extra mile for your job. For instance, did you regularly meet tough deadlines, handle a high volume of projects, or tackle tasks outside your job description?
Team player Provide examples of how you worked with colleagues or individuals in other departments to meet an objective or complete a project.
Problem solver Highlight a difficult situation you encountered and how you handled it.
Flexible Describe how you responded to a major change at work (or in your schoolwork) or dealt with the unpredictable aspects of your job.
People person Can you offer examples of your strong communication skills? Can you describe how you’ve worked with co-workers and customers?
Self-starter What can you contribute immediately to the company or to the department you work in? Describe how you took action when you saw an issue that needed to be fixed.


Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Money Smart Week

banner for smart money week

Money Smart Week® Returns April 18-25, 2015
Saving for college? Preparing for retirement? Repairing your credit? Just wish you were better at managing your money? Sign up today for one of many financial education programs during Money Smart Week® April 18-25, coordinated by The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and hundreds of local partner organizations in your community.

Money Smart Week events are open to the public at businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, nonprofits and government agencies on topics including kids and money, credit building, managing student debt and retirement. Event information is available at

Follow the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on Facebook for the latest Money Smart Week information.

Community Service Spotlight: Earth Month

earth_day_2010_by_CrypticDisdainHappy Earth Month! With Earth Day being celebrated on April 22nd, we wanted to highlight service opportunities that support environmentally conscious efforts. Check out these great resources where you can find opportunities not only to give back to your community by volunteering, but also being mindful about the future of our planet.

The Nature Conservancy–  This organization is focused on nature conservation all over the world and focuses on the science of how our world works to determine the areas and projects that are in need. View this video to find out more about the mission and vision of the organization: Who We Are &What We Do. On behalf of Earth day, The Nature Conservatory is offering several volunteer opportunities across all 50 states and several countries in the world to help promote the care for our Earth! Visit the site to find out more about a volunteer opportunity near you!– Volunteer Match provides a great resource for anyone looking for volunteer and community service opportunities. The reason this site is highlighted is not only due to its large database of opportunities, but also the ability to search virtual volunteer programs as well. Take a look at the site and type “earth day” in the search bar to find several in-person and virtual opportunities to volunteer to promote environmental action and green living.

How are you celebrating Earth Day? DO you know of any other volunteer opportunities you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!

This week at NOVA Online

Photo of Search Key on ComputerAccess NOVAConnect to identify your fall priority registration date. Fall open registration for all students begins on May 5. Summer registration is currently open for all students. Check the schedule of classes in NOVA Connect and follow this tutorial to help you search for online classes through NOVA Online. Make sure you change the date to reflect the term you are looking to register for (summer ’15 or fall ’15).

Are you thinking about an online course through NOVA Online, but not sure if it is right for you? Review our Furthering your education with NOVA Online recording to see if online learning is a right fit for your current educational needs. You could also take the Smarter Measure assessment to see how your personal learning styles will work with online courses.

Wednesday – Conducting a Job Search – Virtual – 12:15 – 1pm. This 45 minute webinar will focus on basic strategies for conducting a job search. Topics covered will include creating a plan, identifying sources of job leads, and resume, cover letter, and interview basics. Registration is required.

Wednesday – NOVA Online Birthday Celebration – WO – 1-3pm. The Extended Learning Institute is turning 40! NOVA Online will be visiting all six campuses and invite students to join us in celebrating 40 years of online learning at NOVA! This week we will be at the Woodbridge campus. Come by and enjoy a cupcake to help us celebrate! Use #HappyBirthdayNOVA Online on Twitter to share your pictures!

Thursday – NOVA Online Book Club. Join NOVA Online’s Book Club! This semester we will read “How I Live Now” by Meg Rosoff. After you sign up, you will gain access to the book club’s discussion board. We will end the book club with a live viewing of the movie adaptation this Thursday! Sign up today and watch the movie with us! Register here.

Thursday – How to Prepare for Finals Webinar – 1:00 – 1:30 pm. This 30 min live session will focus on topics and strategies to help ease anxiety and help you study smart such as: early preparation, planning your approach and taking the exam. Sign up now and promote your success! Register here.

All Week – Money Smart Week – Do you know where your money is going each week? Do you have a financial plan? This week we will feature posts around making smart money choices. Do you have any questions about using financial aid? Use the Student Support Center to get your questions answered.

Resource of the Week – Review this list of the 50 best apps for surviving finals from What study apps are your favorite? What helps get your through studying for finals? Share with us!

Start Strong at NOVA

Welcome to NOVA Online! 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 strongThe 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). New students are required to attend a Student Orientation and meet with a First Year Advisor. As a new NOVA Online student, you can attend a campus Student Orientation, or you can work with NOVA Online virtually to get started.

As you are getting started, utilize your Student Success Planner to help guide your academic goals throughout your NOVA degree. You will also need to take the SmarterMeasure assessment early to help you gage your readiness for online learning.

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. NOVA Online has several start dates each semester, for students interested in starting a class later in the semester. Check out NOVA Online Critical Course Deadlines for more information. For more information about on-time registration view this video.