Many significant changes took place the past two years to benefit NOVA students’ ability to transfer all of their credits as required courses rather than electives. NOVA signed guaranteed transfer agreements (GTAs) with Radford, ODU, Marymount, and the University of Mary Washington, in addition to the ADVANCE program with GMU.
As part of the transfer agreements initiative, NOVA created an alumni student liaisons group led by Professor Charles Errico. The group includes students currently attending GMU, Radford, ODU, Marymount, and the UMW. The liaisons are students who graduated with honors from NOVA and will welcome and establish a community of NOVA graduates at their university. Current NOVA alumni liaisons include Davien Armstrong, Radford; Austin Burns, ODU; Joanna Lovo and Mariam Myelle, Marymount; Andrea Luna, UMW; and Gabby Sulkowski, GMU.
Three of the alumni liaisons, Austin Burns, Andrea Luna and Gabrielle Sulkowski, took time to share their enthusiasm for being part of this groundbreaking initiative. “I think this is a great idea and I am excited about being able to take charge, connect people with each other and with resources and help them along their journey,” said Austin. “I plan on using the funds to put together some social events for students at ODU who went to NOVA and I want to help others get involved in the process to establish a solid community here at ODU. I am grateful I was chosen to lead the charge in making this happen and I think that with the help of other faculty and students, we will set the program up for a successful relationship with the two schools!”
Austin, Andrea and Gabrielle met this past week with President Ralls and Professor Errico to discuss NOVA’s commitment to helping our students seamlessly transfer and maintain positive ongoing relationships while they pursue their university and career goals. “I like the idea of a student with transfer experience helping other incoming NOVA transfer students. I love that we (the NOVA alumni liaisons) met to share ideas and support each other,” said Andrea. “I would like to establish a session during orientation for NOVA students, so they know who to contact and have a peer mentor on campus. I want to get T-shirts and have a welcome dinner to get all current and new NOVA transfers together. I look to attract future NOVA students by attending NOVA events and use a social media platform for students at NOVA and UMW to see what events and activities are happening.”
NOVA students who follow a prescribed informed pathway no longer need to transfer early because they fear that their courses are not required at those five universities. These important university partnerships will save our students valuable tuition dollars by completing their first two years at NOVA. Students save up to $52,000 in tuition if they complete their associate’s degree at NOVA rather than starting their freshman year at a state university. Nationally, students lose 17 hours of credit when they transfer from a community college to a university. GTAs and ADVANCE are significant initiatives to counter the national trend, save students from mountains of tuition debt, and decrease the time it takes for them to graduate.
“I’m looking forward to meeting and helping many students as they transition between NOVA and Mason. Both schools are like home to me, and I want to make sure that other students like myself feel comfortable in their new environment,” said Gabrielle. “I’d like to use the stipend money for luncheons and dinner parties, and for T-shirts that represent NOVA alumni. I’d also like to create a club for previous NOVA students. When I first started at Mason I felt intimidated because I felt alone. I know a lot of students have similar concerns, and I want to make sure that they know they have someone who has also been through the transfer process who is happy and willing to help them!”