Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:


Student Moves from Small Town to Northern Va. Seeking Diversity and Opportunity

Student Moves from Small Town to Northern Va. Seeking Diversity and Opportunity

Licia Washington is from Gloucester, Va., and although she has a community college in her hometown, she relocated to attend NOVA. She felt that moving to Northern Virginia would give her more options and opportunities, and she wanted an area with more diversity. 

Licia describes where she is from as “having few thrills and being relatively small, largely uneventful and mainly being a blue-collar area.”

What brought you to NOVA? 
I have always known about the Virginia Community College System, and Rappahannock Community College is in my hometown. The great thing about the VCCS’ guaranteed admission program is that you can transfer and get established at any of the many wonderful colleges and universities Virginia offers. In fact, earning a bachelor's will be less of a financial burden because there are savings in the first two years of higher education by going to a community college. 

When I started taking classes at NOVA in 2020, I got a lot of pushback about going to a community college. I had gotten accepted into many four-year universities, but going to NOVA made financial sense to me! 

I love living in the Northern Virginia area; it is so diverse! I love seeing all the ethnicities and religions that you can imagine. It is great to be in an area that has so much to offer. For the first time, I felt that I didn't stand out, but instead I fit in! NOVA fits that idea of diversity that meets my dreams. 

It is inspiring to live here in Northern Virginia and to see the visible proof of success! It is inspiring that people can live in a single-family home and later advance into a mansion on the same street.

What are you studying at NOVA?
I am studying international politics.

Tell Us About Your Experience at NOVA, i.e., professors you've liked and friends you've met. 
Most of my experience has been online. I have enjoyed learning Arabic here at NOVA from Dr. Khalil Al-Tahrawi. Arabic, I will admit, is challenging, more so than Spanish. But he was very sensitive to students who have never learned Arabic before. He taught at a pace that was on par with the class, and I found him to be very flexible. 

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA? My experience has been online, but I would tell an incoming NOVA student not to be a wallflower. I would tell them to say yes and to immerse themselves in the experience here at NOVA.
You never know what networking connections you will make, so put yourself out there and make the most out of the experience. I feel that NOVA offers as grand an experience as four-year schools do. However, at NOVA, it is more intimate because these connections are so personable.

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring?
I am attending NOVA first with the goal of going to George Mason. My dream is to join the State Department. I eventually want to be a Foreign Service Officer. Right now, I speak Spanish and I was studying Arabic for a little bit. But I will say yes to anywhere I may get placed as a foreign service officer. I like the unpredictability of traveling abroad. When I moved to Northern Virginia, I didn't have a safety net of familiarity and was forced to branch out and spread my wings. 

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.