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One Step Closer to College

An online program used school-wide gives students a helping hand for the college-app process.

Counselor+Mrs.+Beckler+instructs+a+student+on+the+intricacies+of+the+Naviance+program.+
Counselor Mrs. Beckler instructs a student on the intricacies of the Naviance program.

Counselor Mrs. Beckler instructs a student on the intricacies of the Naviance program.

Rakel Ang

Rakel Ang

Counselor Mrs. Beckler instructs a student on the intricacies of the Naviance program.

Hannah Charity and Dahlys Ang

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The dreaded time for college applications has begun, a byzantine process that often adds quite a bit of stress to what should be an enjoyable year of school, senioritis notwithstanding. 

But not to fret, the program Naviance is there to ease students’ worries.

Beginning in 2011, San Marino High School implemented an online college resource program called Naviance, a college research tool that helps students navigate the intricacies of the college application process. It is introduced to students in English classes freshman year.

“Underclassmen take a series of surveys through Naviance that pertain to career interest, strength, and learning style,” said counselor Mrs. Mollie Beckler.  “These can help them determine what careers match the majors and strengths they are interested in.” 

 Naviance now boasts a new feature called the Super Match College Search.

This feature allows students to input ACT and SAT scores, grades, potential major, size of school, location of school, and many other aspects one must consider in deciding a college. Naviance then creates a list of schools that fit the student’s criteria with the hopes of helping them find a college that will suit their needs and desires.

Even though the Naviance program is integrated into all grade levels, seniors use its features more than anyone else.  

One aspect unique to seniors is the scholarship feature, which gives students more information on applying for scholarships, and which schools offer financial aid for their specific circumstances.

Seniors are also able to learn more about colleges in person when college representatives visit from schools they are interested in.

“When seniors put a college under the ‘thinking about’ or ‘applying to’ tab, they will receive an e-mail when that college is coming for an information visit,” Beckler said, adding that this is the first year that seniors can sign up on Naviance to attend that visit.

Beckler also pointed out two features that students are not utilizing enough, but she considers to be important parts of Naviance, the Scattergram and college connection.

“Juniors are not using the Scattergram enough,” she said. “It is helpful in showing students where they place in a school’s profile as far as test scores and grades and helps them get a feel for what schools are safely within target, and reach.”

Naviance also has a feature that Beckler referred to as the college connection where students will receive a notification asking if they would like to give colleges their e-mail to reach out to them, which allows for direct contact with the college.

“This shows demonstrative interest which is important to a lot of schools. It is how they do a lot of direct marketing, and how they reach out to students,” Beckler said.

Students have a variety of opinions on what makes the program great.

“What I find useful about Naviance is that we’re able to look at different colleges and different GPA and SAT scores of people that were accepted or rejected,” senior Rachael Chan shared.

Senior Grant Holt had a more holistic view.  

“Naviance is most helpful as an ever-ready source of info for colleges that I can access basically whenever,” Holt said.  “Seniors can check college stats, monitor the status of letters of recommendation and applications, and even take a few career tests.”

Naviance does have some unavoidable disadvantages. For one, being an online resource subjects the program to disaster if the internet crashes before a deadline, for submitting applications, for example. 

Another failure of Naviance is not being able to keep up with the ever changing information and deadlines on roughly 3,000 different colleges.

However, Naviance has saved students and families considerable money because all five documents submitted to every college a senior applies to – transcript, letter of recommendation, school profile, school report form, and counselor report form – can now be sent electronically and not through mail, which required extensive copies and postage.

Looking forward, Beckler hopes that one day Naviance might be able to “break down colleges even more by major so that students could see their chances of acceptance with the specific field of study they are interested in,” she said.

Tech savvy students who are more in-tune with the look of an online program want more than just function.

“I think it is not aesthetically pleasing. If it looked better, like the format and everything, I would like to use it more often,” Chan said.

For now, Naviance will continue to provide students who take advantage of this program with endless information about thousands of colleges.  

 

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