Tag Archives: academic success

Learning, Time Management and Organization Apps for Those Needing a Boost

Recognizing that technology is a regular part of our daily functioning, and can be used to benefit us in the day to day, below is a compiled list of apps that may assist you through your learning journey.

Free apps were included, as available.  Apps being included in this list does not equate to endorsement by NOVACares or Northern Virginia Community College.

Apps for Tutoring, Studying Assistance & Time Management

Chegg Tutors

Tutor.com To-Go


Audio Note Lite (Android) (iOs)

Educreations Interactive Whiteboard





Apps for Learners with Dyslexia

Sound Literacy

Read the Text for Me



Mental Note Lite

Teen & Adult Phonics Library


Practice English Grammar- Free

Grammar Up- Free


Apps for Learners with Attention Issues

Voice Dream



Remember the Milk (Android) (iOs)

Brain Focus

Asana (Android) (iOs)


Apps for Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders

CommBoards Lite- AAC Speech Assistant

MoodPanda (Android) (iOs)





Apps for Stress Management



10% Happier

The Mindfulness App

My Life

Tips For Success as You Gear Up for a New Semester

As fall semester is fast approaching, some of you are beginning college for the first time, some are continuing on your current track, and some are returning after a break in your studies, or to begin a new area of study altogether.  Adjustment is the word as you move through your college experience, particularly during these unprecedented times.

Below are some tips to support your efforts for a success semester:

Prioritize your attendance: There’s no principal’s office in college, and you will not find many people clocking your time.  However, don’t cheat yourself by skipping class; you’ll miss out on lecture material, fall behind due to procrastination, and miss out on real-time connections with your classmates.  Protect your investment (remember, you’re paying) by showing up for class!

Avoid late work/make-up assignments and exams– Try to complete your work timely; make-up assignments and exams are difficult to schedule for both you and your professor, can compound your work in other courses, and may lead to the development of the poor habit of pushing things off.  Time management is imperative for your success!  If you need accommodations, apply early and openly communicate with your professors should an emergency arise.

Do your own work!– Plagiarism is not only an academic integrity offense, but it robs you the opportunity of showing off your abilities.  Be careful not to just change words around from a source; this is known as turn-of-phrase plagiarism, and is still considered cheating!  Always cite your sources.  Tutoring is available for free through NOVA, and includes paper reviews.  Having a late night?  Don’t fret! Tutor.com offers 24/7 tutoring services accessible through CANVAS.

Put down that phone– Even the best multi-taskers can get distracted by their phones.  Make sure to get the most of your lectures by putting your phone down; you won’t miss vital information, and will convey to your professor that you care and are paying attention.  Excessive use can impact your sleep and mood; too much social media time is liked to depression and anxiety symptoms.

Utilize academic advising– Check in with your advisor at least once a semester to make sure that you are taking the classes you desire, and that they follow the track of your degree or certification program.  They can also help you if you need to change or decrease your case load.  Academic advisors can inform you about extracurricular activities and other interests, and how to fit them into your schedule.

Join extracurricular activities– To round out your college experience, it’s a great idea to heck out and engage in clubs and campus activities.  Consider connecting with campus clubs and organizations, and joining the Virtual Student Union, which will allow you to forge relationships with your fellow students (and they make great résumé builders).

Stay healthy– Eat a healthy diet, get adequate sleep, and move your body!  Establish a routine in your school schedule and in your personal life, and maintain mental wellness through taking breaks, maintaining boundaries, and checking in with family and friends and expressing your feelings.  Resources for a variety of wellness needs are provided through the NOVACares office.  You can also reach out for help with concerns you have at NOVA by submitting a NOVACares report.

You are embarking on a remarkable journey to validate and expand your potential through higher education; display your talents and skills.  High fives to an awesome fall semester!


Stuck at Your Computer? Quick Break Ideas

Now more than ever, the pandemic has us stuck in front of our computers to engage in school, work, social contact, and taking care of duties like bills and grocery shopping.  As sitting and engaging with your computer too long is detrimental, frequent breaks are necessary.

It is recommended that for your eyes, you should follow the 20-20-20 rule:  Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer 20 feet away for 20 seconds to combat eye fatigue.  Micro-breaks are two minutes or less, and are quick way to take a physical break from your computer (and chair) to help your back and other muscles engaged when sitting.  Rest breaks are advised every 30 to 60 minutes to give you the fullest benefits of renewed energy by stepping away from the computer, physically and mentally.

As you know, too much of anything can be harmful, so here are some tips to get your away from your computer for a break!


  • Stretch!  Bend over and touch your toes, reach your arms above your head and touch your palms…just move!
  • Pace around your home to get the blood moving
  • Grab a healthy snack; berries, fresh veggies, kale chips- explore your fridge and cabinets
  • Send a thank you email, or leave a review for a recent purchase
  • Tidy your workstation- toss those stray Post-it notes, take your dishes to the sink, and do a little sanitizing
  • Do nothing for 2 minutes; if you touch your keyboard or mouse, you’ll have to start over!
  • Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee
  • Add a bullet to your bucket list

Rest breaks:

    • Take a quick walk; you can even sneak in a quick call to a friend or family member
    • Take a 15 minute nap; you’ll wake re-energized to get back to work
    • Listen to an inspiring TED talk to motivate you to keep going
    • Watch the opening sequence of a late night show; you’ll get a quick news recap and a few chuckles!
    • Sit outside and observe nature, take in the sounds and sights
    • Take a dance break!  Put on your favorite artist, or give a new one a try

Tip of the Week: Choosing a Major

Tip of the Week: Choosing a Major

As the semester is coming to an end, many are faced with the approaching decision of choosing a major. This decision can be a stressful and scary one. Let’s reflect on a few tips to help you in this decision process:
1. What are your interests? Take some time to think of what sparks joy in your life and what you are good at! We are more likely to succeed and excel in our careers if we have a passion for it driving us.
2. What values and beliefs are important to you? Working in a field that reflects your core values and beliefs is a vital factor to your overall happiness. Take time to write down important values that are essential in your career path.
3. Ask for help. It is always okay to ask for help. Ask your academic advisors, family, and friends their advice. Those who know you know well are there to help inspire, and motivate you to find your academic passion.
4. Use your electives to spark interest. Take advantage of your electives to find your areas of interest. Taking a wide variety of electives can help you narrow down your field of interest. You never know until you try it!
5. Volunteer in your community. Taking advantage of volunteer opportunities in your community is a great way to network and familiarize yourself in different lines of work. Not to mention it will look great on your college applications and resumes!
Choosing a major can be a difficult decision but there are resources out there to help you right here at NOVA! Visit the Advising and Counseling page at https://www.nvcc.edu/advising/index.html for counseling support for career, transfer, retention (academic success) and disability issues.
Or email AcademicAdvising@nvcc.edu (emails are answered within 24 hours).
Or chat online directly with the Live Chat link to talk with a viral advisor here: https://www.nvcc.edu/virtualadvising/index.html

TIP OF THE WEEK: Back to School Study Tips

With Fall 2019 semester now in full swing, the academic load can be overwhelming. Let’s take a moment to determine how we can make this a successful semester! Consider the following as you go about your everyday:
1. Stay Organized: Keep a detailed calendar for both your academic and social calendars and make sure they do not collide. Setting reminders in your phone and/or using sticky notes is a great method to staying on track.
2. Time Management: This may be the most important skill you master in your NOVA career and beyond. Prioritizing your work load is essential to your success! Make sure you set aside an appropriate amount of time for your class load each week in accordance to your work life. While you may be taking on a lot this semester, may sure you make time for self-care!
3. Don’t Cram or Over Study: As tempting as staying up until 3a.m. to study for that test may be, studies show that last minute cramming only leads to undo stress, sacrificed sleeping and ultimately poor test performance. Instead let’s practice time management discussed above.
4. Unplug & Disconnect: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be a great source for staying in touch with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances, however, it can be a huge distraction. In your appointed study hours consider turning off all social media accounts and focusing on the here and now.
5. Find Your Comfort Zone: It is all about finding what works for you. Whether it may be the quiet library, the busy coffee shop, or the local park with distance sounds of nature. We all operate different and finding the place to focus your mind is essential to your studying success!
6. Take a Break: Sometimes the work load can seem overwhelming. Take a break! Sometimes walking away from a tough paper you are writing or a stressful test you are studying for can give you a fresh perspective when you walk back to it. Allow yourself to clear your mind and regain focus.

We hope you can find these tips helpful in your NOVA success. Additional resources can be found at: https://www.nvcc.edu/novacares/resources.html
If you need additional support, feel free to email us at: NOVACares@nvcc.edu

What do “Counselors” at NOVA do?


NOVA Counselors:

Counselors are professionals who are available to assist you in your educational career and life planning. They can help you to make effective decisions and to deal with problems that you may be facing while attending the College. Nature of Counseling and Advising Services:

It may be appropriate to meet with a counselor for one or more of the following issues:

  • Adjusting to college and managing the new academic environment
  • Academic advising and declaring a major
  • Disabilities that impair functioning in class
  • Temporary personal issues impacting academic performance
  • Uncertainty about career or academic major
  • Brainstorming strategies to be successful and to effectively manage concerns
  • Clarifying program and transfer requirements
  • Tools for effective communication and decision-making

Do I Need an Appointment?

In most cases, you can receive services any time through walk-in advising. If you require special services the front desk can help arrange an appointment with a specific counselor.


Mental Health Referrals:

Students who need more intensive or ongoing services should discuss referral options with their counselor. Often students who have health insurance can find reimbursable mental health options in the community. There are also a few options for non-insured students, or for students who do not have mental health coverage on their insurance plans.

Other resources for mental health referrals that you can access include:

  • 211 Virginia: Dial 2-1-1 to get referred, or visit


  • 24 hour Sexual Assault Services Hotline: 703-338-0834,


  • Ulifeline: