Connect with your Faculty Advisor

Your Faculty Advisor is a valuable asset in your academic journey. They can provide insights and recommendations based on their education and real world experience. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise in your program of interest!

Plan early for your next semester with your Faculty Advisor and have your courses selected and be ready to register on your Priority Registration date. This will give you the best chances at getting the courses you need. Registering early will also be beneficial for students who use NOVA’s TMS payment plan allowing for a lower down payment and more months to break up your remaining tuition balance.

How can my Faculty Advisor help me?

  • Create an academic program completion plan, which maps out which courses you need to take for your major/program of study.
  • Select which electives will support your academic goal/career plans.
  • Connect with NOVA resources you need and make referrals.
  • Submit the appropriate forms for substitution requests or changing your major.
  • Reflect on your academic performance, so you can be successful.
  • Serve as a reference or assist in preparing letters of recommendation for applications (transfer, employment and scholarship).
  • Review your academic progress to help assure you complete your program based on your goals

How do I address my Faculty Advisor?

  • Address the Faculty Advisor as “Professor and their last name.” If you know they have earned a Ph.D., or Ed.D. address them as “Doctor and their last name”. (i.e. Professor Jones or  Dr. Smith).
  • Be sure to send your email from your NOVA student email account and include your Student ID number.
  • As a NOVA Online student, you may not meet your Faculty Advisor in person. Project yourself as a professional and dedicated student by composing a well-organized and thoughtful email. Take advantage of these Ten Quick Steps to Email Your Instructor.

What can I include in my correspondence to my advisor?

  • Outline topics or questions you would like to discuss. (i.e. transfer plans, career opportunities, extracurricular/club involvement).
  • Review your program requirements in the catalog and ask any questions you may have about unsatisfied requirements.
  • Identify courses you may be interested in for the upcoming term and year.

Suggested Questions and Topics to discuss:

  • What courses do I need to complete my academic program?
  • What are the prerequisites for the courses I plan to take or where can I find them?
  • I would like to discuss my academic goals.
  • What do I need to know about transferring? Are there deadlines and scholarships?
  • I need a tutor.  How do I find one and access other services when I need help?
  • I need to work. How can I arrange my classes around my work schedule and how will working impact my studies?
  • I am interested in participating in extracurricular and co-curricular activities.  Can we discuss my academic goals and extracurricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Ask your advisor to share how they chose their major in college.

The last part of the semester is always hectic, reach out to your faculty advisor now!

Attend a Getting Ready for Your Next Semester webinar.  Learn more about the webinar and register for an upcoming session here. Undecided or just getting started on your degree plan? Talk to an Academic Counselor to help you get started with your next term classes. NOVA Online Counselors can be reached at NOVA

Getting Ready for Advising Week

Advising week is almost here! To make the most of the interaction with your advisor there are a few things you can do to prepare. Are you ready

Verify your program of Study:  First it is important to verify your student record reflects the program of study you intend on completing here at NOVA. Visit the Academics section of your Student Center in the Student Information System to verify your plan. If your plan needs to be updated make contact with an academic counselor or advisor to determine which plan is the best for you based on your goals.

Run an Advisement Report- Once your program of study is accurate there are several tools you can take advantage of to see your progress towards your plan’s requirements and the courses you have left to complete.

You can run an advisement report to view your progress and outstanding degree requirements.

Review program requirements: Now that you’ve run your advisement report, review the report to see how the coursework you have completed has been applied towards your degree requirements and what you have left to complete.

Plan your semester: You can use the Student Success Planner to create a plan, allowing you to map out when you will complete your remaining courses. As you plan out these courses semester by semester, strive for balance in your course schedule. Use these tips to help you strategize. Don’t delay in taking courses that are challenging for you, especially math.

Request to meet with your Advisor: Once you have our courses mapped out in the Student Success Planner you can even send a meeting request to discuss your plan to your advisor.

Check back in for tomorrow’s post on how to prepare for your meeting with your advisor!

5 Tips for Building a Better Schedule

Calendar planning concept
Follow the tips below to build a better schedule.

Tip #1 – Plan your time accordingly.

As you begin to create your schedule, take a moment to think about all of the commitments you will have during the semester along with everything you wanted to accomplish.  How much time will you have available to focus on college courses?

Tip #2 – Identify how each course helps you achieve your goal.

Think about your academic and career goals.  How does each course you are planning to take help you progress towards achieving your goals?

Tip #3 – Know what will be covered in a course before you enroll.

Course content summaries provide information about major topics in a course.   Check out the course content summaries here.

Tip #4 – Select a course format that works for you.

NOVA offers campus-based, hybrid, and online courses?  Which option will work best for you for the upcoming semester?

Tip #5 – Be aware of important dates.

NOVA offers courses that vary in session length and have different start and end dates.  Know the important dates for sections of courses you are considering.

Interested in learning more tips?  Consider participating in a Getting Ready for Your Next Semester webinar.  Check the schedule for details.

Are You Ready for Advising Week?

Advising Week is almost here.  Held every fall and spring at NOVA to help students prepare for their next term/semester.  Advising Week for summer 2016 and fall 2016 will be held from Monday, April 4 through Friday, April 8.  College Student Having Meeting With Tutor To Discuss Work

Follow this NOVA Online Student Blog this week as we help you prepare to get the most out of Advising Week.

Things to watch for to help you prepare for Advising Week:

  • Creating a schedule that works for you.
  • Connecting with your advisor.
  • Communicating effectively with your advisor.
  • Taking time for yourself.

Questions to ask yourself as you prepare for Advising Week:

  • What is one change I can make to my schedule to be more successful next term/semester?
  • When would be a good time for me to connect with my advisor?
  • What questions do I have for my advisor?
  • What is one thing I can do this week to help manage stress?

Pay attention to the tuition deadline so you are not dropped for non-payment. Contact Financial Aid with any questions.

This Advising Week Series will focus on academic planning, connecting with your advisor, and preparing for your upcoming terms. Throughout Advising Week the NOVA Online Student Blog will provide you with tools to plan effectively, resources to help guide your decisions, and answers to frequently asked questions throughout the process. Take advantage of Advising Week events on campus or virtually as you plan your schedule and register for courses. Reach out to the Student Services offices or Virtual Advisors with any questions you have as you are planning your courses.

Preparing for an 8-week Summer course

Today’s blog post is written by a former NOVA Online Student when they enrolled in their first summer 8-week course. Summer registration for all students begins on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Follow this tutorial to search NOVA’s online courses.

I’m enrolling in my first eight-week course this summer. This got me thinking about how it might be different from the sixteen-week format I am more used to. Succeeding in an online course always requires good management of time. I must carefully balance school, work, and personal responsibilities. When the online class is an eight week or six week course, I am thinking that managing these elements will become much more critical.

Summer spring backgound with stack of books and open book and bokeh. Back to school. Open book fanned pages. Copy Space

Since an online sixteen week course should take three hours of coursework per credit each week, an Eight-week online course should take six hours of coursework per credit each week. For a three credit class, that works out to as much as an 18-hour a week part time job! Because of this, I decided to take only one class at a time until I see how I can integrate this workload with my work and social schedule.

I expect that the deadlines will also come much faster. Just eight days into my course, I will already be at the refund deadline, forcing me to decide whether or not I can handle the workload and get the grade I want or to drop the course and try the longer format in the Fall.

Because of this, I’m planning on logging into Blackboard on the course start date and completing the first assignment quickly. I’ll also need to look over the assignments and syllabus and see if I have any questions. Usually, I think for two or three days before I email my instructor, but with this class, I expect that if I have questions, I’ll need to write the instructor immediately—procrastinating even a few days would probably not be a good idea.

I’m really looking forward to the pleasant feel completing the course more quickly. I’ll get to feel the sense of accomplishment which keeps me motivated that much faster. I’m also telling myself I can deal with almost any schedule for two months—so it actually feels much more flexible than the traditional four-month courses. I’ll let you know if my opinion changes once the course actually starts.

How many of you have already taken a six or eight week course? Do you have any advice for me? I would love to know a little more about what to expect!

Want to write for the NOVA Online Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email NOVA for more information.

Cultural Differences of South Korea

graves_photoEver wonder what it is like to move to a different country? Meet our NOVA Online Student Blogger, Lydia as she shares some of the cultural differences she has experienced taking NOVA online classes while living abroad:

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and moving to a completely different country is quite overwhelming and shocking. However, just as astounding, it can be an equally or even more intriguing, eye-opening experience.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, I had never been to South Korea despite being Korean-American. However, while balancing American traditions, my family and I maintained a Korean lifestyle by following its culture. With all of this, though, my knowledge of the “real” East Asian culture was limited. Thankfully, my Korean perspective has dramatically changed ever since I moved to the *Kimchi-loving country in 2011. As I still live in Korea to this day, there are so many cultural differences that I have yet to discover, but here are just a few that fascinated me the most.

*Kimchi is a traditional spicy pickled/fermented napa cabbage side dish that is served with almost every Korean meal.

  • Education:

When I first arrived in Korea, I was completely shocked when I saw a group of students wearing their school uniforms walking so casually in the city at 11pm. Considering only the American education system, I did not understand why they were not at sleeping at their homes. Starting with the basics, education in Korea is significantly different than that in the United States. Korean education mainly focuses on memorization along with very long periods of studying. Generally, a Korean high school student would stay at school for about 8 hours, and spend another 3-6 hours at afterschool private cram academies called hagwons. Most students live this intense, rigorous lifestyle in order to receive a preferable score on the college entrance exam (offered only once a year); the results of the exam determine which university students will attend.

  • Beauty Standards:

Being beautiful or becoming beautiful is a little bit more important in Korea. Every time I sit inside a subway, browse a Korean website, or simply wander around the cities, I see at least one advertisement about plastic surgery. Most advertisements present before and after pictures of what really looks like two entirely different people. High beauty standards have made it very common for even young school students to get the double eyelid surgery. Also, skin tone and head size matter. Specifically, many Korean women prefer having light, pale skin tones and smaller sized heads. This surprised me because while I lived in the states, most of my American friends did not care too much about head size and actually wanted to be tanner.

  • Public Transportation:

Because I lived in suburban areas of the United States, I would always commute to places by car. Even though Koreans rely on cars, many more use the incredibly fast public transportation system. Public buses, taxis, subways, and trains are much more practical and easier to access in such a highly populated and small country (roughly the size of Kentucky). The best part of the system is that people can access it wherever they are and literally go anywhere in Korea. There are also free Wi-Fi services in many of these public areas!

Being a border dweller, I found myself growing as an individual who has been absorbing and living by both the American and Korean culture. In this day and age, I think it is essential to become more open-minded and willing to learn about the endless aspects of the world and its diverse cultures.Thankfully, living in Korea for the past five years has done just that. I am more than excited to further develop my multicultural knowledge as I continue to explore my Korean-American life.

Want to write for the NOVA Online Student Blog? Share your story? Connect with your peers? Send us a writing sample to get started. Email NOVA for more information.

Prepare for Summer Registration

Thinking about an online class for Summer 2016? Summer Registration opens for all students on March 29. The online catalog is available in NOVAConnect now – search the online catalog to see what options you have for online courses.

NOVA Online offers courses that begin on May 30, June 13 and June 27! Enroll today!

old wooden pier on the sea in sunset

Review & Understand your NOVAConnect Account

Plan ahead – Have any holds? Need to update your contact information? Request a final transcript or view your final grades? Run your advising report before working with your advisor? Log into your Student Center account (in NOVAConnect) for more information.

Be cleared of any prerequisites (if needed)

If you are attempting to enroll in a course at NOVA for which you believe you have successfully completed (a grade of “C“ or higher) the required prerequisite(s) at another regionally accredited institution, you will need to work with an advisor before being permitted to enroll in courses at NOVA.  You can visit the Visiting and Transient Student webpage for more information. Any questions? Reach out to a Virtual Advisor at

Get Ready to Start your courses

Each course has a course site in Blackboard. Students are given access to the course specific link on the first day the course is scheduled to begin. Once you have access to your course in Blackboard, make sure to thoroughly review the course syllabus and course calendar (Overview of Assignments) to map out a plan for the course. Summer courses run at an accelerated pace, so make sure you plan ahead and stay on track.

Understand online learning through NOVA Online

Participate in the live NOVA Online Orientation webinar to get off to a strong start. This one hour live online instructor session will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services. The NOVA Online Orientation is highly recommended for students who are new to online learning. Register or Request a Recording Today!

Make sure you know your course start date and critical enrollment dates! Don’t miss your first assignment due date!

Take the Smarter Measure assessment to see how your personal learning styles will work with online courses.

Establish a Routine! All online courses, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material, so summer courses (12, 8, 6 and 4 week classes) will move at an accelerated pace.

If you need assistance with your course selection, NOVA Online Counselors can be reached at,

This Week at NOVA Online

Starting an online course today? A team of young business people using technology in a meeting

  • First! Check your syllabus for your first assignment due date. If you do not submit your first assignment on-time or before the deadline, you may be dropped from the course. This is called an administrative drop, and you will not be able to be added back to the course.
  • Establish a Routine! All online classes, regardless of session length, are based on the full 16-week course material, so 8-week courses will move at an accelerated pace. Be sure to review your course syllabus thoroughly and start working on your first week’s assignments so you don’t miss any deadlines.
  • Plan Ahead! All online classes require proctored exams or assignments. Plan ahead for your proctored exams so you don’t miss any deadlines. Check your course syllabus and review testing policies.

Visit the NOVA Online Student Blog for tips for success in online courses. The Critical Course Deadlines post and Preparing for your First Day post will give you some good suggestions and tips as you are getting started.

Log into Blackboard in your MyNOVA account and get started! Review this previous blog post for 10 tips to help you get started. Remember online courses at NOVA Online require firm assignment due dates, so make sure you are sticking with your weekly schedule so you are not administratively withdrawn from your course. Know your Critical Enrollment Dates, including your First Assignment Due Date and read this past blog for more information about your Critical Enrollment Dates!

First online course? Join us for an NOVA Online Orientation Webinar today at 12:15 pm (EST) – The NOVA Online Orientation is a general overview for students enrolled in courses offered through the Extended Learning Institute. This one hour webinar will focus on getting started in your courses, navigating your Blackboard course site, and identifying tips for success and student support services.

Have you signed up for our NOVA Online March Madness Bracket Competition? Join our Tourney Pick’ em through Yahoo. Start making a bracket on March 13th!  Entry Deadline is March 17th at 5pm EST.  Find out more information about our tournament pools available on our NOVA Online Calendar.

Plan ahead: NOVA Student Life Presents: Lost, Human Trafficking Awareness – Featuring Jamie Walton on Tuesday, March 22nd 3-5pm at the Annandale Campus, the Manassas Campus or join the Livestream! Be a part of this engaging and entertaining discussion that will spark conversation and thoughtful insight. You Don’t want to miss it!

Contact the NOVA Online Success Coaches if you have any questions as you are getting started in your online courses. They can be reached at NOVA or 703.764.5076.


Digital Open Courses

Have you started thinking about your schedule for next term? Summer and Fall registration will be here soon! Are you interested in taking a class that doesn’t require you to purchase any textbooks or course materials? A Digital Open NOVA Online class might be right for you!

This week, March 7-11 is National Open Education Week, check in with the blog, and follow  on Twitter for more.Mobility conceptNOVA Online offers several online courses that do not require students to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Digital Open courses use free online material and Open Educational Resources (OER) instead of expensive textbooks. You can try one or two Digital Open courses, or even complete an entire AS degree track. Instead of requiring traditional textbooks, all readings and materials used in the courses will be available to students free of charge online as OER, or through NOVA’s library resources.

Are you ready try one of NOVA Online’s Digital Open courses? Just look for the notification in the notes section in the online schedule of classes stating: This is a digital open course. No textbook purchase required.

Save time and money with a Digital Open course at NOVA Online! For more information about registering for one of NOVA Online’s Digital Open courses, contact the NOVA Online Success Coaches at or 703.323.3347.

This week at NOVA Online

NOVA’s spring break is this week, March 7-13. College offices will remain open and administrative staff will be available. During Spring Break, campus-based offices will close at 5 p.m.  NOVA Online hours will remain the same. Testing Center Hours are modified, including all testing centers are closed on Saturday, March 13.

This week, March 7-11 is National Open Education Week, check in with the blog, and follow  on Twitter for more information about options for Digital Open Courses at NOVA Online.

Still looking to add a spring course? NOVA Online has one more session start date available March 14. Enroll today! Once you enroll, tuition is due by 5pm the following business day. Schedule a virtual appointment with an NOVA Online Counselor with any academic advising questions.

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.

Contact the NOVA Online Success Coaches if you have any questions as you are getting started in your online courses. They can be reached at NOVA or 703.764.5076.

Have a great week!