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A New Student’s Guide to Getting Started at NOVA

NOVA has an open door admission policy. This means that any high school graduate or person 18 years of age or older with the ability to benefit can take advantage of the many academic opportunities we offer. In addition, some high school and home schooled students under age 18 can earn college credit through NOVA with appropriate approvals.

STEP 1      Apply for Admission

If you are attending NOVA for the first time, or if it has been three years or more since your last class at the College, you must submit an Application for Admission. Apply online at www.nvcc.edujust click on the box that says “Apply Online.” You can also print out an application form online or pick one up at any of our six campus locations.

If you apply online, your application can be processed within 24 to 48 hours. If you apply in person or by mail it may take longer. Once your application is processed, you are automatically admitted to NOVA and can begin registering for classes.

Restricted Programs: Allied Health, Nursing, and Veterinary Technology

Because space is limited, NOVA's Allied Health, Nursing, or Veterinary Technology programs can only accept a certain number of students. If you plan to apply to one of these programs, you must meet the specific admission, program continuation, and program completion criteria outlined in the Programs of Study section of the NOVA Catalog in print or online, or go to Medical Campus for details.

STEP 2         Apply for  Financial Aid (optional)

To apply for student financial aid (including grants, loans, and work-study), see the Financial Aid section.

STEP 3         Consult Your NOVA Catalog

The NOVA Catalog describes the College’s degree and certificate programs, provides detailed course descriptions, and outlines official college policies. You can pick up a free copy at any campus Student Services Center, or access the Catalog online.

STEP 4          Take Placement Tests

NOVA does not require SAT scores and other entrance examinations for admission. However, you may need to demonstrate the required levels of reading, writing, or math for the courses you wish to take. Test results will show whether you need remedial courses to prepare you academically for college-level work.

If you scored 500 or better on both the Critical Reading and Writing portions of the SAT exam; or achieved a minimum combined score of 21 on both the English and Writing tests of the ACT; or scored 95 or higher on the TOEFL iBT within the past two years, you may take ENG 111 without further testing. If you already have a degree from an accredited U.S. college or university you do not have to take the English placement test. If your program requires a math course, you are encouraged to take the math placement test early, so you can more easily plan your courses.

Placement tests are offered at all campus Testing Centers at no charge. You will need to bring a photo ID card and your NOVA Student ID number. Allow approximately two hours for each test. Be sure to brush up on your English and math skills before taking the placement test. Click here for resources to help you prepare for the test.

STEP 5         Attend New Student Orientation (especially if you are a recent high school graduate )

Your next step after applying as a new student is to attend a New Student Orientation (NSO) – Visit the Orientation website for information At NSO you will be advised, register for classes, and obtain other important information such as available student resources, your Student ID and parking permit

Contact Counseling Services
To make sure you’re taking the right classes, we encourage you to contact Counseling Services at your preferred campus early, either by appointment or walk-in advising. Students with disabilities can meet with the counselor for disability services; financial aid and veterans advisors are also available. Find Student Services Centers here.

STEP 6          Enroll in Classes

April 1- Registration for Summer 2013 begins for all students. Use NOVAConnect to register for classes. Mailed or faxed schedule planning worksheets cannot be processed.

STEP 7          Pay Your Tuition

You will NOT be billed for tuition. Click here for tuition payment information. If you enroll in classes by April 28, payment for all classes is due April 29 by 5:00 p.m. In most cases, unpaid classes will be dropped after that date. Beginning April 29, the tuition for any classes in which you enroll is due by 5:00 p.m. the next business day, or those classes may be dropped.

You are financially responsible for all classes for which you register. If you decide not to take a class, you must drop it through NOVAConnect or visit a campus Student Services Center to withdraw officially; otherwise, you will be charged for that class and may receive a failing grade.

If you wish to pay your tuition in installments, you must enroll in the NOVA Payment Plan before your tuition due date, or by 5 p.m. the day after you register. Click here for more information on the Payment Plan.

STEP 8         Print Out Your Enrollment Schedule

You can print a copy of your schedule using the NOVAConnect. Be sure to check for errors and verify that you have enrolled in the courses that you want and that all tuition and fees have been paid. If there are any errors, contact a campus Student Services Center immediately.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to print a copy of your enrollment schedule every time you make changes.

STEP 9          Buy Your Books

Take a printout of your class schedule to the bookstore on the campus where the course is taught (ELI available at Alexandria), or buy your books online. You can also rent textbooks for less than 50 percent of the cost of purchasing a new printed textbook, either in the bookstore or from the store’s website.

If you have received a financial aid award large enough to cover tuition, fees, and books, see Using Approved Financial Aid to Buy or Rent Textbooks.

STEP 10          Buy Your Parking Permit (not required at ARL, RES, or off-campus locations)

Any student, full or part-time, who wishes to park a vehicle in the student parking lots ("B" lots) on any campus during any semester, including summer, must pay a fee for a parking permit. Parking enforcement in “B” lots will resume for the Summer Term at 6 a.m. on June 4. Parking regulations are enforceable 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Permits can be purchased online beginning May 1. Your permit will be mailed to you, but you can print a temporary 21-day pass from the website to use immediately. Check the Parking Services website for the current charge per semester. To use the parking garages at the Annandale and Medical Education campuses without any additional charge, you must have a NOVACard ID as well as a valid parking permit. Hourly pay parking is also available in at all campuses if you do not have a current permit. Click here for more information.

STEP 11        Get Your Student ID Card (NOVACard)

Your first NOVACard is free, and is valid for two years. It serves as your library card and, with the addition of cash at a NOVACard machine, it can be used for copying, printing, and purchases at designated café and vending locations on campus. The NOVACard is also required for valid parking permit holders who wish to use the Annandale or Medical Education Campus garages. Click here for more information about the NOVACard.

STEP 12        Activate Your Free Student Email

You are required to set up a NOVA email account. Our faculty and staff may ONLY use your official NOVA email address to contact you about class assignments, course updates, and updates on financial aid status. You may also be asked to return your work by email. Click here to view instructions on using your account.

Do you count yourself among one of these groups?

  • High School and Home Schooled Students
  • Members of the U.S. Military
  • Military Dependents
  • F-1 Students
  • Senior Citizens
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Visiting College Students
  • Washington, D.C. Residents

If so, please click here for further information.