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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, 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. (Some courses require placement testing prior to enrollment.)
Restricted Programs: Allied Health, Nursing, and Veterinary Technology
Some programs can only accept a certain numbers of students. If you plan to apply to NOVA’s Allied Health, Nursing, or Veterinary Technology programs, you must meet specific admission, program continuation, and program completion criteria. For the Allied Health and Nursing programs, you’ll need to attend an information session. Learn about the Veterinary Technology program here.
STEP 2 Apply for Financial Aid (optional)
You may wish to apply for student financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study. Get details on the Financial Aid Website.
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 Get your Student ID (NOVACARD)
Your first NOVACard is free and 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 caf� and vending locations on campus. It is also required for valid parking permit holders who wish to use the Annandale or Medical Education Campus garages. Learn more about getting your NOVACard.
STEP 5 Take Placement Tests
NOVA does not require SAT scores or 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 developmental 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. To help you prepare for the test, here are resources.
STEP 6 Attend New Student Orientation (especially if you are a recent high school graduate )
(especially if you are a recent high school graduate)
Your next step is to attend a New Student Orientation (NSO) session. At NSO you will be advised, register for classes, learn about available student resources, and get your Student ID and parking permit.
If you’re unable to attend a New Student Orientation, make sure you’re taking the right classes by contacting 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.
STEP 7 Enroll in Classes
May 3: Open registration for Fall begins for all students. To register for classes, use NOVAConnect.
STEP 8 Pay Your Tuition
You will NOT be billed for tuition. Find tuition and payment information here. If you enroll in classes by July 28, payment for all classes is due July 29 by 5:00 p.m. In most cases, unpaid classes will be dropped after that date. Beginning July 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 NOVA’s Tuition Payment Plan before your tuition due date or by 5:00 p.m. the day after you register.
STEP 9 Print Out Your Enrollment Schedule
You can print a copy of your enrollment schedule using NOVAConnect. 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. Print a copy of your enrollment schedule every time you make changes.
STEP 10 Buy Your Books
Take a printout of your class schedule to the bookstore on the campus where the course is taught (books for ELI courses available at Alexandria), or buy your books online. You can also rent textbooks for less than 50% of the cost of purchasing a new 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, visit the online financial aid support center and link to “Purchasing Books” from the menu.
STEP 11 Buy Your Parking Permit
not required at Manassas Innovation Park, Reston Center, or off-campus locations)
Visit the Parking Services website to purchase a semester permit to park in student “B” designated lots. The website provides all the details about parking facilities, enforcement, and regulations. Parking enforcement on “B” lots will begin at 6:00 a.m. following the end of the schedule adjustment period. Watch campus signage for specific dates. Limited hourly parking is also available for those who don’t have a permit.
STEP 12 Activate Your Free Student Email
You must establish a NOVA email account and check it frequently. Our faculty and staff will ONLY contact you via your NOVA email account about class assignments, course announcements, and updates on your financial aid status. You may also be asked to return classwork by email. Get instructions here on setting up your account.
Do you count yourself among one of these groups?
- High School and Home Schooled Students
- Military and 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.