Students cringe at it. Parents embrace it. Welcome to the Family Connection website, better known as Naviance. Since the site was introduced to the school three years ago, the school administration has been doing its best to get students to fill out many forms and surveys on the site in the hopes of improving the college search process. However, Naviance is far from the wonderful college search tool it has been advertised as.
Even Naviance features that are specific to the school only need to be utilized a couple of times. For instance, there is the college visit schedule that lists the dates and times of colleges that are visiting the school. In addition, the scholarship search feature is commonly used by College Career Center coordinator Kristin Joseph, to match students with local scholarships. The students who choose to use this option will probably find no reason to come back to it after the first time.
“There’s not much we need [Naviance] for in our daily life,” senior Avneet Takhar said. “There are many features you only use once, like the quizzes, and that’s it. Maybe if they sent out reminders, put up a calendar of senior events or college deadlines we would use it more often.”
Many features that students use regularly, such as reminders of college admissions deadlines and SAT dates, are absent from Naviance. Even the college search feature that is much more accurate and specific to the school is flawed.
Students hoping to judge their chances of getting into a certain college by comparing themselves to other LAHS graduates will often find themselves disappointed. The scattergrams that plot acceptances and denials in relation to SAT scores and cumulative GPA only show graphs for schools that a large number of LAHS students have applied to. This encourages many students to outsource their college search to sites such as collegeboard.com.
“I like using the scattergrams, but most of the schools I’ve applied to, no one else has applied to, so the scattergrams aren’t really useful for me,” senior Max Butensky said.
What will most improve Naviance in the eyes of the student body is time. The current Sophomore Class is the first class to be using Naviance from day one at school. The mandatory tutorial meetings that were used to get students acquainted to Naviance in its first year are long gone. And with more time, more data will be entered into the acceptance and denial history the school’s graduates, increasing the usefulness of the scattergrams and other college search tools in Naviance.
But even in time, Naviance will be a flawed tool unless changes are made. No matter how early it is introduced to each student, Naviance has few functions until senior year.
Many features in Naviance that are mostly untouched by the school staff could easily be put to use, such as the messaging feature as a way to send reminders to students. The document library could also be used much more as a way for students to easily access documents, even if they aren’t related to college applications. If the administration wants students to get involved with Naviance outside of counselor meetings, it’s time for them to take such initiatives so that Naviance can be used to its full potential.