Helping your student transition from high school to college can seem like an overwhelming or intimidating process. There are many unanswered questions, new things to learn, and uncertainty of where to go to find answers.
The Vista Central: Welcome & Admissions Center is here to help both you and your student with that transition. Our Enrollment Advisors are here every step of the way to provide answers to those questions.
Below are some key items that will be important to know as you make the transition.
Parents want to make sure their students will receive the best education possible. Northwest Vista College is proud to say that we have been voted the #1 Community College in the state of Texas and #6 in the nation, placing NVC in the Top 10% of Community Colleges nationwide.
At NVC, students come first, and our focus on building a collaborative learning environment guarantees that students will receive individualized attention from instructors and support from their peers. Students will be surrounded by faculty and staff who will encourage and guide them through every step of their journey.
Students and their families are encouraged to visit our school during their enrollment process. We invite you to come tour our campus, meet with an enrollment advisor to ask questions, or use our computer labs to complete your steps if you need assistance or do not have computer access at home.
One of the biggest changes between high school and college is the level of information that parents and guardians have access to. As a high school student, parents are the owners of the student's academic record.
However, per the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) , college students, even if they are still minors, are the owners of their own academic records, and schools are legally unable to share information with parents.
However, students can grant parents or guardians access to their academic record by filling out the FERPA consent form. The parent and student must both sign the form and both provide a photo ID.
The form may be submitted in person to our Records Office, located in CCC 100, or you may email the form, along with a copy of a photo ID for the parent and the student, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Student Information Release Policy / Confidentiality of Records
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) permits release of Directory Information without a student’s consent unless a student makes a written request to withhold the information. Students may request their information not be released by completing the Request for Nondisclosure Form and submitting it to the Admissions and Records team.
The Alamo Colleges District designates student Directory Information as:
- Academic plan
- Enrollment status
- Dates of attendance
- Previous education agencies/institutions attended
- Degrees received
- Awards received
Social Security numbers are not Directory Information.
The Alamo Colleges District must release students’ addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters.
Students are encouraged to complete their enrollment steps early to be ahead of the game and ready to sign up for classes when registration opens. There are some important deadlines to be aware of throughout the process, such as:
- Apply Texas application deadlines
- Financial Aid priority deadlines
- Registration open and close dates
- Enrollment management periods (times self-registration is not available)
- Payment deadlines (students who do not pay for classes on time will be dropped from those courses)
Click on the links below and scroll down to "Important Dates and Deadlines" to find specific deadlines based on the time of year and your student's application term.
Submitting an application to Northwest Vista College is only the first step of the enrollment process. There will be a few other items that students will need to submit prior to registering for classes.
Below are some key items to know about the enrollment process.
Exploring Possible Pre-Majors
When students fill out their application to Northwest Vista College, they will be asked to select a "School" and then select a major.
The "School" will be their NVC Institute: the umbrella under which their pre-major will fall. NVC's five institutes are:
- Creative and Communication Arts
- Health and Biosciences
- Science and Technology
- Public Service
- Business and Entrepreneurship
It is important that students know they will not be "locked in" to the major they choose and will always have the freedom to change it down the road. However, at the time they apply, if students are still undecided, we encourage students to select the closest option to the major they are considering the most strongly.
Students who are completely undecided may use the option "Liberal Arts" under "Creative and Communication Arts" as a general degree plan they can follow to complete their basic courses until they've settled on a major.
Complying With Bacterial Meningitis Requirements
Texas State Law requires that all students under the age of 22 to submit proper documentation showing they have received the bacterial meningitis vaccination within five years. Alternatively, students can submit waivers to be exempted from the vaccination. Students and parents should carefully consider all options before making their decisions.
Learn more about the law, vaccination options, and exemptions on our website.
Attending New Student Orientation and Registering For Classes
The most exciting part of the enrollment process is registering for classes! Students are always excited to be able to pick out and sign up for their classes.
First Time In College Students
Once students have completed all of their enrollment steps, they'll be eligible to sign up for New Student Orientation, which is where they will meet with a Certified Academic Advisor and register for their first semester classes. This orientation is mandatory, and the purpose is to introduce students to the concept of a certified advisor, teach them how to register for classes, and help them select the courses they'll need to get started on their degree plan.
Transfer students, after completing all of their enrollment steps, will complete a short online orientation that will prepare them for their first meeting with a Certified Academic Advisor. This advisor will help them review their credits from their previous institutions to help students understand how their credits will transfer. They will then assist students with selecting courses for their intended major and/or transfer institution, depending on the student's goals.
For many students, one of the first questions they are told to ask about college is "How am I going to pay for school?"
Learning about tuition and fees, scholarships, and financial aid opportunities can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Below are resources for different types of financial aid and payment options to help guide you and your students through the process.
We also encourage our students to reach out to our Enrollment Advisors or Financial Aid office with questions so that we can guide you through the process.
Vista Central: 210-486-4125
Financial Aid Office: 210-212-5266
Our college also hosts financial aid workshops on the first Saturday of most months, where students and their families can sit down and receive step-by-step assistance with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This workshop is part of our Wildcat Preview Day, an open house where students and families are encouraged to visit our campus to learn more about our college. You can RSVP online at the link below.
Financial Aid Resources
Scholarships Pay Tuition Out Of Pocket FAFSA Application Registration Deadlines Veterans Benefits Payment Deadlines Active Duty Benefits Tuition and Fees
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions that parents often have as their child begins their college journey.
ACES is the student portal that all Alamo Colleges District students will use to complete their enrollment steps. AlamoNAVIGATE is part of ACES that provides students with personalized status updates on their enrollment process. Students can access AlamoNAVIGATE directly through ACES or through the Navigate mobile app, and they can also configure text message notifications. Look for the graduation cap icon inside ACES to access AlamoNAVIGATE.
For current students, ACES is also used to:
- Access the student's school email
- Register for classes and view the student's schedule
- Pay for classes (set up payment plans or pay full balance)
- Access the student's financial aid checklist to complete eligibility requirements
- Access Canvas for all online courses (and some face-to-face courses)
- Update personal information like addresses, phone numbers, and emergency contact information
- Request enrollment verification letters
- View unofficial transcripts and order official transcripts
Northwest Vista College is proud of our campus safety record. To provide a safe environment for our faculty, staff, and students, our campus is equipped with Emergency Blue Light stations that are placed in the parking lot and across campus so that our students can always access them in the event of an emergency.
Students can also sign up to receive text message, email, and phone call alerts in the event of an emergency, and they can add additional phone numbers, such as a parent's phone number, to their account to receive the alerts as well. All students need to do is opt in through their ACES account.
The Alamo Colleges Police department has its own dispatch service with its own emergency phone numbers. Students are encouraged to program these numbers into their phones for easy access in the event of an emergency. Although students may still call 911 directly, contacting the Alamo Colleges District department directly will ensure a faster response time.
Non-Emergency Number / Lost and Found
Non-emergency services include assisting students when their cars won't start, if they've been locked out of their cars, or need an escort to their vehicle.
Though it is not required, parents are encouraged to attend New Student Orientation with their students! Your support is integral to your student's success, and they'll appreciate knowing that you are there.
However, there will be parts of the orientation that parents may not be able to participate in, in order to allow our students to feel comfortable working with their assigned Certified Academic Advisor.
Supporting your student throughout their transition process is all about finding balance between encouraging and helping them and allowing them to grow and and develop into self-sufficient young adults. While it's important to be there to support them, we want to encourage and empower students to tackle challenges on their own as well.
First and foremost, students need to be an active participant in their education. It is important that students know they will always have resources on campus in the form of faculty and staff who want to support them, but we also want to encourage and empower students to seek knowledge and solutions on their own.
Students should know that as enrolled students, all official communication to the student will be sent to their student email. Notices will no longer be sent to their personal email address. Students should check their student emails daily to be up to date on any important notices they may receive from Student Life, the Business or Financial Aid Offices, their Certified Advisors, or even their instructors. The email can be accessed from their phone or mobile device.
Students should also be diligent about scheduling appointments with their Certified Advisors in order to establish their degree plans and verify their progress. The earlier students meet with their advisors, the sooner they will be able to register for classes once registration opens, giving them a better chance at securing the classes they want on the schedule they want. Late registration may lead to less desirable schedule options.
Students are also encouraged to take advantage of administrative and academic resources that are provided for them on campus, resources that have already been paid for in their tuition and fees. These resources include:
- Mental Health Counseling
- Classroom accommodations
- Academic tutoring in English, Math, Writing, the sciences, Speech, and more
Transitioning from high school to college can be a frightening and intimidating process, but it's also meant to be fun and exciting. However, through the entire process, it is important that your student knows they will always have support on campus.
Your student will have a Certified Advisor assigned to them based on their pre-major to best guide them through their pathway.
They'll also be able to network with offices like our Wellness Center, which provides access to licensed, professional counseling services free of charge, and our Access Office (Disability Services), who can make accommodations for students who meet the eligibility requirements and require accommodations such as extra time for testing, priority seating for vision impairment, extra copies of notes, or other services.
The small class sizes at NVC makes it easy for students to have open lines of communication with their instructors to receive the support they need. They'll also have access to academic tutoring services, and some instructors may even offer extra credit for students who visit the tutoring labs!
One of the first and most important questions your student will be asked is "What do you want major in?"
This is a very important decision to make, and students often feel pressured to have an answer right away or feel they can't change their minds. They may also feel overwhelmed in making the decision and need help exploring their options.
Your student will have an assigned Certified Academic Advisor who will be able to help them navigate their career options, and they'll also able to work with our Career and Transfer Services team, who can introduce them to resources like career fairs, resume building opportunities, and mock interviews.
Additionally, students will also take a course during their first semester called Student Development that will help them explore their potential career field and options for majors. This course is required of all First Time In College students but is often one of students' favorite classes because of its unique nature in helping students navigate their educational and career pathways.
Your student also has access to a tool called Career Coach, a localized tool that can help them find local job opportunities, information about their prospective career choices, and statistics about growth in those fields.