Naviance can be a useful tool, but only if you know how to use it

Naviance+can+be+a+useful+tool%2C+but+only+if+you+know+how+to+use+it

The college search and careers tabs both provide students with more advanced search options that show schools based on interests, rather than statistics.

Daniella Philipson, Features Editor

If you are a senior who just went through the college process, or are a junior about to start, you are probably all too much aware of Naviance, the online service that tracks GPAs, SAT and ACT scores, and college acceptances from Schreiber students.

Prior to using this program, the guidance department kept the same statistics that Naviance provides the student body with, but in print form on massive spreadsheets.  These files, which were available in one-year increments for every college, was only available to the counselors and parents or students willing to come in, sit at a table in the guidance office, and look through the whole report.  Naviance puts a great amount of information about colleges in one location, making it more accessible.

In addition, all of the information on Naviance pertains to our school.  The historical data available through this tool is important to both students applying to college and to college admissions officers.  The “Application History” space on a university’s page on Naviance collects data such as the number of applicants, acceptances, and enrolling students.  Students can use this information in order to gauge around how many students a given college or university will accept in the upcoming academic year.  For example, if a school is accepting seven of its ten applicants and all seven of those students enroll, that admissions office will likely accept a similar number of students in the next pool of applicants.

“As I’ve said in open presentations, colleges had that type of data for years,” said director of guidance Mr. Hank Hardy.  “When I was a college admissions counselor, I knew all of this information.  The reason that’s important is because if I see that if I’m getting a lower yield than I’m accepting, I might not, as an admissions officer, spend time visiting a low yield school and turn my attention to other schools instead.”

While Naviance is incredible in that it easily provides a myriad of information for students and families in one place, students should learn, like any tool, how to use it properly.

“I felt like, perhaps, there were other factors that should be considered.  When I looked on Naviance, it was before I took standerdized tests.  I was told to look at it a little bit too early and it got me prematurely scared and thinking that certain schools, ones that I didn’t even know much about, weren’t for me.  I don’t think that added stress was necessary. So, it wasn’t necessarily naviance itself, but how I was told to use it,” said senior Rebecca Herz.

Rather than relying on the scattergrams provided by Naviance as the end-all-be-all of college admissions, Naviance may be better used as a strategizing and research tool instead of as an indication.

With the hopes of making the information more accurate and less overwhelming, the Guidance Department may lessen the window of applicants shown from five to four years on the scattergram.

In addition, students should keep in mind that Naviance does not account for the more human aspects of the application such as the teacher recommendation, extracurricular activities, and what college admissions officers are saying will become increasingly important: the “interest factor.”

“Colleges said that they are going more towards an interest factor.  So, what that means is, visiting the campus, is going to be a big thing.  Even just visiting the admissions officer at a college fair will be helpful,” said Mr. Hardy.

While services like Naviance and the Common Application have made applying to colleges far more accessible—since you can now apply to many more schools by simply paying a fee—paying the campus a visit can be placed low on a student’s priority list.  Colleges want to see that applicants are legitimately interested in attending the school in order to have a high yield; this information is where students may want to remain weary of Naviance.

As an applicant using Naviance, it is impossible to know if those accepted who are under the “green area” of the average accepted students on a scattergram are top athletes, legacies, or a superb cellist.