Naviance: Straight From The Source


Image from Naviance Homepage

Noah Cohen


College, college, college. To some high school students, college is just a vague and abstract concept that students envision of their time after their primary education ends. They may have preconceived notions of what they want after high school, but often this idea changes when explored thoroughly through college counseling.

Naviance is a website that all students become very familiar with during their time at Milken. With its ability to keep track of potential college options, analyze grade point and standardized test score averages, and directly contact admissions counselors at any college, the Milken College Counseling and Academic Planning Department virtually revolves around the website. Since 2002, Naviance has been at the forefront of college preparation. While college counselors are most definitely fans of the website, The Roar wanted to get information straight from the source to learn why the website was made, the benefits and drawbacks of its tools, and how students should approach the college process. This interview was conducted over email with a representative from the Naviance headquarters.

What led the Naviance team to create the website and its specific tools?

Naviance was launched in 2001 when our founders saw a need for a way for students to be able to understand their likelihood for admission at certain colleges as well as a way to stay organized throughout the college search. From there, the college searches, career profiles and assessments, and self-discovery was built out. We have been able to expand Naviance so that students can understand who they are and what they enjoy doing at a younger age and then connect that to the classes they should take and the path they need to be on to reach their career aspirations.

What is the single most important tool that all high school students should use on Naviance?

Although there isn’t one single most important tool, my own personal opinion is that students should take assessments such as Career Cluster Finder, Career Interest Profiler, and the Strengths Explorer to understand their strengths and interests. By identifying where they want to end up in life, students can build a path to their future.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of seeing where you “stand” in respect to GPA and standardized test scores as compared with other school members?

If you go into viewing scattergrams with an open mind, there aren’t many drawbacks. Scattergrams are meant to give students one piece of the puzzle when it comes to college searches. There are so many factors that go into college admissions. GPA and test scores aren’t the complete picture. But by seeing where you fall on a scattergram, you can assess whether you should add more colleges to your list, retake the SAT or ACT, or if you’re pretty likely to be admitted to the college. I would encourage students not to be discouraged by scattergrams and to look at them with an open mind.

How closely should students take the analytics of college acceptance numbers when choosing where to apply?

Each college differs in how they approach college admissions. Like scattergrams, analytics of acceptance history are just one piece of the puzzle designed to give students a peek into the profile of students who have been accepted to and attended a college in past years.

What should all students know when they are about to enter the college admissions process?

From my perspective, students should understand that the college search isn’t about getting into the most selective colleges; it’s doing the research to find what colleges fit them the best. There are so many factors – college majors, location, cost, and size to name a few – that students need to make a decision based on who they are and what they want to do in life. Students who choose a college based on personal match and fit are more likely to graduate from that college. But most of all, students should know that they should enjoy their senior year and have fun!! Trust the process and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

What do you think about Milken’s use of Naviance? Any compliments or concerns you have about the website? Let us know in the comments!