Utilizing Naviance

Utilizing Naviance

With all the letters and brochures sent out daily by colleges attempting to lure in prospective students, it can be hard figuring out where to start. How can you find the colleges that are right for you when they all have lush green lawns on the glossy fronts of their brochures? Naviance may be just the tool that will help you pick which sunny lawn you’ll be playing Frisbee on for your college years.

What is it?

Naviance is a website meant to organize the college application process by connecting your school counselors directly to your college search in one place. Not only can you find and organize your college choices here, but you can also begin a career planning search through some of the helpful links.

The Good:

While Naviance has some features that can be found on a number of other websites, there are a few things worth checking out that could make your search process much easier. The best thing about this website is probably the connection it provides between you and your counselor – once you add colleges to your favorite colleges list, they can see what you’re interested in and post links and reminders for the pesky paperwork you need to fill out for your school’s guidance department. You can even see a list of the colleges that have upcoming visits to your school.

Also notable is your ability to compare up to ten colleges side-by-side, using data specific to students accepted from your high school. You can see where you stand in categories such as GPA, PSAT, SAT, as well as seeing your school’s acceptance history to different colleges. And if that wasn’t cool enough, you can see a nifty scattergram plot that can give you an idea of where you lie among the students from your school who also applied. It lists every applicants’ GPA and SAT scores on a graph and marks whether or not they were admitted. You then see your GPA and SAT scores on the graph so you can compare.

The Bad:

Naviance is only as helpful as the time you put into it. It’s up to you to poke around the website and click on the links or fill out the planning lists. All the resources are there for you to explore, but the site won’t help you plan the admissions process without you regularly updating it.

You’d likely have to be a little obsessed with organization to need to use all the planning tools featured on Naviance. But for those of you who have access to the site, it could make life a lot easier if you invest some time into it. At the very least, the website can help you narrow down the thousands of colleges with a questionnaire that picks some options using a wide range of criteria, from the basics like acceptance rate and location to your more specific requirements, like minority composition and sports offered. (What better tool to help you find the schools that offer skydiving, rodeo, or arm wrestling?)

For those of you whose schools haven’t signed up with Naviance, a few easy Google searches can help you find some guest codes to mooch off of other lucky high schools who have signed up for this program.