You are hereHome ›
Northern Virginia Community College
Achieving the Dream strategies to improve new students’ experiences at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) have contributed to steady increases in retention rates since 2004.
The New Student Orientation (NSO)/ Student Orientation Advising and Registration program, and the Student Success course influenced persistence by men, women, and all major ethnic and racial groups.
- Fall-to-spring retention for Fall 2008 NSO attendees was 86% compared with 68% for all of NOVA’s firsttime- in-college (FTIC) students.
- Fall 2008-to-Fall 2009 retention for the same NSO cohort was 70% compared to 49% for all FTIC students.
- Fall 2009-to-Spring 2010 retention for the same cohort was 63% compared to 44% for all FTIC students.
NOVA’s six campuses serve nine affluent and diverse jurisdictions, four counties, and five independent cities, near Washington, D.C. Immigrants from 150 nations reside in the area, which has had many years of population growth. In addition to the federal government, life science companies, financial services, and the health care industry drive the region’s economy.
In Fall 2010, more than half of NOVA’s 49,000 students were racial or ethnic minorities. Seventeen percent were African American, 14% Hispanic, 16% Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, and 4% were non-resident aliens. Fifteen percent of the college’s students received Pell grants.
NOVA’s strategic plan aligns with Achieving the Dream goals. Personnel throughout the college use data-informed decision-making processes and discuss student success.
In addition to improving students’ entering experiences, NOVA is:
- Redesigning Developmental Math. With support from the National Center for Academic Transformation it developed MASTER MATH (Motivating Academic Success Through Effective Redesign of Math). It uses interactive software for modules that students work through with instructors’ guidance.
- Improving the First-Year Experience by having new students participate in community-building experiences, such as peer mentoring.
- Expanding Developmental English Learning Communities to more courses with integrated assignments and cooperative learning.
- The Network
- Get Involved