Procedures and Guidelines

NOVA strives to inform our target audiences and provide a consistent voice and identity. The following documents are designed to help the NOVA community to understand what is recommended, expected and required when using these communication tools.

College Identity Guidelines
Provides you with the basic rules you need to follow whenever you speak or write about NOVA.

Digital Media System Guidelines
Gives you details about the specs you need to follow to create Digital Media slides and the procedures for how to submit Digital Media System (DMS) requests.

Instructional Media
Describes captioning and transcript requirements for instructional media.

NOVA Web Guidelines
Gives you details on how to present and manage Web content for NOVA’s website; it is meant to solidify NOVA's Web presence by increasing connectivity among campuses and centers, divisions, departments and offices and by unifying the College's official Web pages.

Social Media Guidelines
Outlines the various official NOVA social media that are available, the policy for participating in NOVA’s official social media pages/websites and more.

NOVA Style Guide

The AP Stylebook is the official editorial standard NOVA's website follows. The NOVA Style Guide serves as a customized supplement to AP. All content published on NOVA's website must adhere to these references in order to present a consistent voice. (The NOVA home page and Events Calendar are exceptions.)

Achieving the Dream:
When used in abbreviated form ATD is all uppercase.
Example: ATD

Capitalization of Campus:
When used with a specific location the term "campus" is a formal designation and should be uppercase.
Example: Alexandria Campus

Capitalization of College:
When used alone "college" should be lowercase unless it is part of a proper noun.
Examples: he is going to college, the College, Northern Virginia Community College

Capitalization of Words in Headlines and Headings:
All words should be uppercase except: a, an, and, as, at, but, by, for, if, in, of, on, or, the, to

Case Style:
When referencing these college services use the following case style – NOVA all uppercase, one word:

  • eNOVA
  • myNOVA
  • NOVAaccess
  • NOVACard
  • NOVAConnect
  • NOVATrak

Name of College:
Never use "NVCC" when referring to the college; use "NOVA" or "Northern Virginia Community College".

Commas in a Series:
Do not put a comma before the conjunction in a simple series.

Spell out days of the week, abbreviate months.

Lowercase, no dash

All uppercase, it’s considered a reference not an actual word.

Faculty and Staff Web Pages Categories to Include:
Name (hyperlink to their personal NOVA website if they have one) | Discipline | Phone | Email
* Group people by Discipline

FAQ not FAQs:
It is an abbreviation for Frequently Asked Questions (the "s" at the end is implied).

Guaranteed Admission Agreements:
Accepted form with an -s on the end of Agreements, NOT on the end of Admission.

home page:
Two words, not one

More Than vs. Over:      
AP lifted the ruling on the use of "more than" versus "over"; choose whichever term you prefer as long as you use it consistently throughout the same story. 

Do not use titles like Mr. and Mrs. in front of names, and do not use middle initials. The use of Dr. before a name is an exception.

All uppercase; an abbreviation for Portable Document Format. It is a file format that allows a document to be shared among several types of computers without losing its formatting.
Example: Faculty Handbook (PDF); File requires Adobe Reader to open.

Example: Fall Semester 2010; Spring Semester 2010; exception Summer Session (not Semester)

Use single spaces after punctuation. The practice of using two spaces after punctuation was a technique used when text was written on a typewriter. Computers have made the use of two spaces obsolete.

Student ID:
Use in place of the term EMPLID.

Telephone Number:
Use periods between the numbers, not dashes
Example: 703.323.3000

Time Reference:
Use noon and midnight, not 12 noon, 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. Do not use "o'clock." Lowercase and use periods with a.m. and p.m. Use a single dash between times.
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Noon - 5:00 p.m.

Wait List:
Two words

One word, all lowercase