Naviance helps students in post-graduation planning

The Newtonite

[media-credit name=”Alec Mapes-Frances” align=”alignright” width=”200″]
by Amanda Hills
College and career center counselor Sarah Hoffman teaches freshman Tanaja Jordan and senior Armando Ordonrica how to use Naviance. [/media-credit]
Planning your post-high school career can be overwhelming. Getting your desired grades, as well as completing applications, interviews and other requirements can be stressful for some. Guidance counselors at this school have created a tool to help organize and prepare students for the college process: Naviance.
In the upcoming weeks, sophomores will have their first introduction to Naviance. In small groups with their counselor, they will have their first look at the software. Juniors have been meeting with their counselors to receive PSAT scores, as well as talking individually with their Career and College counselors.

Naviance is an online database that collects information about colleges across the country, tracks your progress and compares your test scores to other students, among other features. It also offers alternative options for those who are not planning on going straight to college after graduation.
And, perhaps the most useful component of the site, Naviance maps out a four-year plan for a student’s entire high school career. The idea is that if students keep up with the objectives Naviance has laid out, they should be right on track to make their post-graduation decisions. Counselors at this school agree that Naviance has proven a useful resource for students.
According to Career Center counselor and director Brad MacGowan, this school started using Naviance in 2004. He has watched it improve throughout the years, he said.
“It gets better every year,” MacGowan said. “It is a great way to learn about colleges and keep track of information as a student goes through the application process. It helps with every aspect. It is by far the best software in this field.”
Career Center counselor Sarah Hoffman said she finds Naviance’s college locator to be its most helpful function.
“Being able to search for colleges using specific criteria is the most helpful,” she said. “I also appreciate that students can see how other NNHS graduates have done in the admissions process at a variety of colleges.” This feature can give students an idea of how realistic a school is for them, she said.
Counseling department head Beth Swederskas has seen kids use Naviance in every grade in high school. She explained that it serves a purpose to every student in every grade; it can even be helpful freshman year.
“Freshmen in our Career and Tech Ed. Exploratory classes are exposed to the Career Planner, which helps make them aware of their skills and interests related to the world of work.”
In the upcoming Sophomore Seminars, sophomores will have their first, introductory encounter with Naviance. According to Naviance’s four-year timeline, these seminars will focus on selecting the right courses for junior year.
Swederskas said, “Sophomores are introduced to the personality profile ‘Do What You Are,’ which gives a detailed report of their learning style.”
Come junior and senior year, Naviance is used more rigorously.
Students start utilizing more of its services. Upperclassmen use the program for more specific statistics and information regarding post-high school options.
“As juniors really begin their post-graduation planning, the college search function is quite valuable, as they are able to enter in their preferences for all types of schools and a list will be created based on those events,” Swederskas said.
“Seniors spend a lot of time looking at Scattergrams, which plot a student’s scores in comparison with previous students from this school who have applied to colleges.”
Swederskas praised Naviance for “keeping things organized” for students and counselors, and for giving a “realistic perspective on college admissions.”
But, Naviance is not perfect. One could easily use it in negative ways. Some students may become consumed with Naviance––checking up on it 24/7, going crazy over grade comparisons and college analyses.
Swederskas points out the line between using Naviance for good and becoming too obsessed with it.
She commented that students should not become solely reliant on Naviance. “We can tell if someone has viewed Naviance 300 times at 3 a.m. It should not be the only measure a student takes in order to get into college,” she said.
She explained that you must be aware that Naviance is not the only device that can help you with colleges, and that, furthermore, it does not have a guaranteed 100 percent accuracy rate.
Just because Naviance predicts that you have a low chance of getting into a school, it does not necessarily mean that you will not get in––Naviance should not be used as a singular guide to your future.
Naviance is a highly valuable resource, she said. It keeps students on track and can help them discover and look into all their options.