The Nuance of Naviance


Photo by: Rhiannan Ruef

Ms. Prentice explains to Mr. Near’s 12th grade class about the the pros of the website Naviance and how it can assist you in your college searches and applications.

Cam High seniors have been introduced this year to Naviance, a college and career readiness program in preparation for their plans post-high school. They’ve even taken time out of their Social Science classes specifically for this purpose.

However, students’ feelings toward the program have remained mostly negative, despite the program’s potential uses involving college applications, career readiness and even teacher  and counselor recommendation letters.

According to its website, Naviance is a program that “helps connect academic achievement to post-secondary goals.” It is also used to help send online applications to any of the colleges a student wishes to attend. It compares and contrasts colleges, class schedules and touring opportunities as well as allowing communication between counselors, teachers and other college and career technicians.

Naviance  was introduced at Cam High in 2011 and is available to everyone at the school but mostly to sophomores as a career exploration opportunity. Naviance is also connected to Synergy, Cam High’s student management system, to help with classes and grades. It’s been used throughout the district for several years.

Mrs. Debbie Prentice, college and career center adviser, uses the Naviance program and helps others to use it. Prentice believes that it has a great many benefits because of how efficient and accurate it is. However, she has also seen her share of issues with it.

“Some problems we’ve had have been that the kids aren’t able to finish the process because counselors have been dropping off of Naviance,” Prentice said.

However, Prentice said it’s a useful system. “There are a lot of benefits to applying to a 4-year college with Naviance. [Naviance’s] benefits outweigh the cons. I think that it is a great system and it will be helpful for the students if they use it right.”

Mr. Chris Quinn, Social Science teacher, is on the fence about whether Naviance is a good program, but views it mostly in a positive light. “It’s a system that has unified scholarship applications for two-year and four-year colleges. It is also built to facilitate communications between counselors, students and teachers,” Quinn said.

The seniors this year are mandated to use Naviance to send in college applications even though many have already sent their applications previously. The students, all seniors, mostly have problems with the unclear instructions throughout and found parts of the program  unnecessary or to hard to navigate through.

But seniors from Quinn’s classes have openly said that Naviance does not help or fulfill any of the requirements the program claims it will. Quinn surveyed each of his classes and the overwhelming majority of more than 100 students said they are unhappy with the program and don’t find it helpful.

“In the previous years, it wasn’t pushed for as much as it is for us seniors,” Janelli Torres said. “Now, we have to apply [to colleges] with Naviance. It’s just a rush to get to colleges.”

“I already know what I’m going to do and I think it’s pointless” Brandon Garza said. This was a common complaint among Cam High seniors in Quinn’s classes.

Some students found a few bright spots however. Meah Espinosa didn’t think the program entirely hopeless.

“I don’t need Naviance to know what my skills are,” Espinosa said, “[However], I think it has a nice search area [for colleges]. If you don’t know much about it, it helps.”

“Every college is just a click away. I can send my letters of recommendation easier and I like the program,” said Faraz Mohsenian.

Quinn echoed his students’ opinions. “Naviance has tremendous potential to excite and prepare students for their future. But right now, it still needs work,” he said.