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First -Time Students

If you are a first-time-to-college student, ages 17-24 (including high school/homeschool/GED graduates), you need to Start Strong at NOVA.

First Year Advising - New Students

Ages 17-24

  1. Take the English and Math placement tests before registering for classes.

  2. Complete New2NOVA and attend a required Registration Lab to meet with an advisor and register for courses.

  3. Enroll in the required one-credit College Success Skills course (SDV 100 or 101) during your first year, preferably during your first semester.

  4. Register for developmental courses during your first semester, if you tested into developmental courses.

  5. Activate your NOVA email account.

    • To protect your privacy, instructors may only use a student's official NOVA email address.
    • You will receive updates on course changes and other pertinent information through your NOVA email account.

Important Notice: Students cannot activate their VCCS student email until they have enrolled for classes. All fees must be paid before students can access their email.


  • Complete the New2NOVA program prior to attending the Registration Lab.
  • Complete both the English and math placement tests prior to attending the Registration Lab.
  • Check your NOVA email account regularly, especially the night before your scheduled orientation session.
  • Think of questions you want to ask and write them down so you don’t forget.
  • Be open to developing and clarifying your goals.

Your First-Year Advisor will:

  • Help you identify and refine your academic goal.
  • Help you choose the appropriate program and courses for that program.
  • Help you connect with the appropriate resources.
  • Assign you to a faculty advisor who can best help you prepare for your transition.

Your Faculty Advisor will:

  • Require you to make an appointment.
  • Help you to navigate the academic requirements.
  • Expect you to ask questions.
  • Be available during office hours.
  • Help you prepare for graduation.

For answers to your questions about the Six Policy Changes, check out the FAQ booklet.