Naviance Now Available for Teachers

Brian Deutschmeister

Beginning this school year, Naviance, an online counseling program that helps students investigate college options, is undergoing changes. These changes will mostly benefit teachers submitting letters of recommendation.
Previously, Naviance was only available to students applying for colleges.
“[Naviance] keeps everything organized,” said senior Isabel Crystal. “You have a list of colleges, and for each college, it tells you about their deadlines, and from there, you can request transcripts and teacher recommendations. It has everything you need for applying to college all on one site.”
Until this year, recommendations would have to be submitted by mail with students providing addressed envelopes and stamps to teachers writing their letters. Now, through Naviance, all teachers have to do is write the recommendations online, and the counseling department submits them with the students’ application to the college.
“The college application process was always a pain in the neck,” says English teacher Elizabeth Coleman, one of the first teachers to use the new technology. “I love writing letters for students, but hate having to make a million copies of the letters, filling out all the forms, and worst of all, licking the envelopes! Then I would always have colleges who would lose the letter and I’d have to repeat the process again. It could definitely be frustrating.”
History teacher Daniel Valentine has also embraced the new letter of recommendation process.
“With Naviance, I log on, and all the students show up on the screen. I can click on the student’s name and write the letter for that student,” says Valentine.
Although Valentine sees the benefits of Naviance, he still has some doubts.
“I dislike that the fact that everything is electronic with Naviance,” Valentine says. “It’s like Facebook. Once you go digital, you have a lot less control on who sees it.”
English teacher Candace Keller also has concerns.
“One thing I don’t like about [Naviance] is that sometimes I know personal things about students. I will put that in the recommendation because I think it’s useful for colleges, but I don’t want the guidance department reading those things,” says Keller.
When Naviance was first introduced to the high school in 2008, it was a program for students to sign up for college visits and request transcripts. Over the course of three years, Naviance has added to the program, allowing students to submit applications electronically and teachers to submit recommendations electronically.
“We wanted to plan out slowly how to implement everything and get a good understanding of how everything works before throwing it all out there,” says Timothy Donahue, an assistant principal and director of counseling. “You can expect to see more new features to Naviance over the next few years.”