By Catherine Van Weele
For Novato High seniors, college applications are right around the corner and everybody seems to be talking about Naviance. However, most students don’t really know what exactly this mystery website is all about.
The purpose of Naviance is to serve as a college and career readiness platform for students going into post-secondary education. Naviance hosts a range of resources that help students prepare for their futures.
“Naviance is already set up for all the students,” Career Counseling Advisor Mary Grillo explained. “No fee, it’s free.”
Naviance is funded by Novato School Fuel for 8th graders and high schoolers within the Novato Unified School district, costing $26,000 every three years.
To access Naviance, students type in the first two letters of their first name and their full last name as the username, and use their 10-digit student ID for the password.
Once logged into the site there is an about me tab. Under this tab, students can find a resume builder which they can input their extracurriculars and the program will organize it for you. There are also assessments which students can complete to find majors and career paths that may be compatible with their personality and interests.
The most useful tab is the colleges tab. There are several links there, including searching for colleges, adding them to the list of colleges you're applying to, application deadlines and requesting letters of recommendations from teachers and counselors.
Information on the colleges include student demographics, tuition and other costs, a list of majors, and a scattergram. The scattergram is used to compare current students to previous Novato High students who have applied to that school, in relation to GPA and standardized test scores. It shows which students have been denied, waitlisted, or accepted.
There is also information on a wide range of scholarships, in addition to a matching tool that will match students to scholarships based on gender, ethnicity, and GPA.
The Common App can also sync with Naviance. Common App is an online application that can be sent to a number of different colleges that participate in this program.
“It makes the program much more organized,” Grillo said. “Naviance tells me whether you did the Common App or not. And in the counseling office can send your transcripts electronically with your high school profile.”
Naviance is also used to complete the senior survey. This survey is used for the school to record what colleges students are attending as well as information of the financial aid they received.
“It does a senior survey and helps me a lot. It’s all electronic,” Grillo said. “It’s easier to do it online. I used to do it pencil and paper before I did it online. Now it calculates everything for me.”
Despite having many great resources, many students are unfamiliar with Naviance. Senior Molly Gibbons voices her frustrations
“I feel like I know what it is but I don’t know how to use it,” Gibbons said. “I don’t think it's terrible, I just think it's confusing. So if you don’t give a tutorial, people are going to misuse it and it’s kinda too high of stakes to mess up. Those things are really important for our future.”
Many students feel as though there is little understanding of the entire college process. Some have suggested for the school to set up an event for students to learn about Naviance and the entire college application process.
Once students become familiar with Naviance, they often appreciate what is has to offer.
“Naviance is an amazing website that is organized and concise,” said senior Gabriel Garcia. “Overall, Naviance has it all, it’s like Niche and Aeries combined. I love it!”
Grillo believes students would better be able to utilize Naviance if she was able to meet with them all four years to explain the benefits that can be reaped from Naviance. She already tries to share information on Naviance with teachers so they can relay that information to the students.
While students in the past have seemed to figure out the college process just fine, it seems as if it would be less stressful if students were fully informed on the application process.