Are You Graduating This Summer or Fall?

As part of the graduation process, you need to apply for graduation.  The deadline to submit the Application for Graduation is June 1 if you are planning to graduate this summer and October 1 if you are planning to graduate this fall.  Learn about the graduation process at Also, consider participating in a Graduation Preparation Session webinar being held via Zoom on

  • Thursday, May 11, at 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday, May 17, at 12:00 pm

The webinar will provide information about graduation planning, career, financial aid, and transfer planning.  Key “To Do” items for the next leg of your academic or career journey will be discussed.   Register for the webinar at

Time for Reflection

As the spring semester comes to an end, now is a good time for reflection.  Take a moment to reflect on what went well for you this semester as well as what did not go well.  Take another moment to consider what changes you may want to make as you move forward with working towards achievement of your academic and professional goals.

Below are links to resources you may find helpful.

Schedule Planning Tips for Taking Courses Through NOVA Online

Here are some questions to ask as you plan your schedule.

  • Do you have realistic expectations about your time and the time required for the course?
  • Have you thought about all of your commitments that will occur during a specific semester?
  • Have you familiarized yourself with course expectations?
  • Have you considered which session length would work best for you?
  • What is your experience with or interest in the courses you are considering?

Helpful Tips for Transient/Visiting Students

Welcome to NOVA!  We are so excited to have you join the Nighthawk family this summer.  Refer to the Visiting and Transient Student website for guidance on how to get started.  Keep in mind your home institution may require approval in order to transfer NOVA courses. Check with your advisor at your home institution prior to enrolling in a course at NOVA to make sure you have everything in place to receive transfer credit.  If you encounter problems enrolling in courses, other than needing assistance with verification of a prerequisite, review your student record for any holds.  To learn more about holds on your student account visit the holds information website.

Access the Schedule of Classes website to view course offerings.  Be sure to pay careful attention to course formats and requirements.  Sections of courses offered through the NOVA Online Division will begin with the letter “E”.  The NOVA Online Course Information website provides information about sections of courses offered through NOVA Online.  If you are enrolling in a section of a course offered through NOVA Online, review the NOVA Online Orientation website before beginning a course.  Regardless of course format, you should have access to the course tile in  Canvas up to three days prior to the scheduled start date.

After your course is finished and your grade has been posted to your transcript, you will be able to order an official copy of your NOVA transcript. Institutions’ transfer credit processes can vary, check with your institution to verify where your NOVA transcript should be sent and if any additional forms associated with the transfer credit process need to be completed.

Our summer courses fill quickly! We recommend finalizing your summer schedule as soon as possible.  Questions? Virtual Advisors are available to assist you in this process.  Connect with a virtual advisor by visiting the Virtual Advising website.

5 Tips for Building a Better Schedule

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.

Check out the course content summary to learn about major topics in a course.  View a partial syllabus for sections of courses offered through NOVA Online.

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

NOVA offers courses in a variety of formats.  Which format will work best for you for each course you plan to take?

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.

It’s Not Too Late to Enroll in Spring Courses

Registration continues for the spring semester. NOVA offers courses in a variety of formats both asynchronous and synchronous. Courses following an asynchronous format are offered through NOVA Online, NOVA’s online division, and with few exceptions, do not require any on-site or real-time meetings. Courses following a synchronous format are offered through a NOVA campus and may require on-site meetings and/or meetings online via Zoom in real-time.

Throughout the semester NOVA may offer courses following a 15, 13, 12, 10, 8, 7, or 6 week schedule.  View NOVA’s academic calendar for information about registration and other important dates.  Scroll to the bottom of the calendar for information about sessions offered through NOVA Online.

View a current Schedule of Classes to learn more about course offerings.  Use the Search for A Class feature to search for courses of interest.  Select NOVA Online as the Location option to search for sections of courses offered through NOVA Online.  You will enroll in courses through NOVA’s student information system.

For planning purposes, registration for the summer is open with first session courses beginning on May 16.  View the Getting Started at NOVA Online to learn more about continuing your studies.


Graduation Deadline – March 1

Congratulations to students nearing the completion of their certificate or degree!  The deadline to apply for Spring 2022 Graduation is March 1.  Learn more about preparing for graduation by participating in a Graduation Prep Session (access the Virtual Student Union for registration information) or viewing the Crossing the Finish Line: NOVA Graduation Preparation Program video.


Getting Started with NOVA Online

NOVA offers courses in a variety of formats both asynchronous and synchronous. Courses following an asynchronous format are offered through NOVA Online, NOVA’s online division, and with few exceptions, do not require any on-site or real-time meetings. Courses following a synchronous format are offered through a NOVA campus and may require on-site meetings and/or meetings online via Zoom in real-time.

View a current Schedule of Classes. Use the Search for A Class feature to search for courses of interest.  Select NOVA Online as the Location option to search for sections of courses offered through NOVA Online.  You will enroll in courses through NOVA’s student information system.

Follow the steps below to get started enrolling in courses:

  1. Apply to NOVA.  Below are links to articles that will provide guidance for applying based on your student status:
  2. Read the Holds on Your Student Record article to identify how to address any holds on your student record.
  3. View New2NOVA, an online, interactive orientation program.
  4. Review NOVA course information –
  5. Communicate with a counselor ( if you have any questions about program of study or course selection.
  6. Enroll in courses –
  7. Review payment information and pay for courses.
  8. Purchase course materials through the Bookstore.  For NOVA Online materials select Alexandria campus and NOVA Online for campus option.
  9. Prepare to begin your course(s) by accessing Canvas. You should have access to a course site up to 3 days prior to the course start date, but no later than the course start date.

Resources to Support You With Your Academic Goals

As a NOVA Online student you have access to numerous resources to support you in achieving your academic and professional goals.  This post highlights just a few of the resources.

Success Coach

NOVA Online Success Coaches are here to help, we can refer you to resources and supports, provide help with time management, testing skills and more!  Contact a coach at

Weekly Study Time for Online Learning

View an article that provides guidance on suggested study time based on course length and number of credits.


Access free tutoring available on days and times that meet your schedule.

Virtual Student Union 

Get connected and stay connected to the NOVA community.

Financial Stability and Advocacy Centers

Learn more about resources to support you in achieving your goals.




Know Your Course Due Dates

One assumption that some online students make is that all NOVA Online courses are self-paced. To that end, students may put off getting started and learn that their instructor has withdrawn them for not meeting course deadlines.  Don’t let this happen to you!  It is very important to understand that all NOVA Online courses have weekly or even mid-weekly due dates. There are critical enrollment dates, that include your First Assignment Due Date – requiring you to log into your Canvas course site and complete your First Assignment by the due date. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in being dropped from the course without a tuition refund.  Online courses may be 15 weeks, 12 weeks, 10 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 weeks, or 4 weeks in length; each course has specific start, refund, first assignment due date, withdrawal, and end date that you should be aware of when you select a particular course.

In addition to logging in and completing your first assignments (as referenced in your Quick Start Syllabus and Canvas course site), NOVA Online courses also have regular weekly assignment deadlines.

When taking a NOVA Online course, it is important to understand that assignment due dates as well as test and quiz due dates come quickly. Due dates are firm and in some NOVA Online courses, assignments and tests/quizzes are sometimes removed after the due date.

To be successful in your course:

Read through your course syllabus on the first day of class. Understand all the deadlines that apply to your course and record them in your planner.

Establish a Routine – Visit your Canvas course site daily and read all of your emails and announcements.

Make Note of your Course Deadlines, and turn your assignments in on time.

If possible, take your test prior to the testing deadline—you never know what might come up at the last minute!

To ensure that you understand the NOVA Online course deadlines, please review your course specific critical course deadlines and stay on top of weekly assignments.

This article was originally published by Katie, former Orientation and Advising Specialist for ELI (now NOVA Online).