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College Comes Ever Closer

District gives freshmen Naviance accounts, and middle school, Woodbury students may follow

For+the+first+time%2C+freshmen+have+Naviance+accounts.+%E2%80%9CIt+made+me+realize+that+college+is+just+around+the+corner%2C+in+a+way%2C%E2%80%9D+said+freshman+Kate+Hahnenberg.
For the first time, freshmen have Naviance accounts. “It made me realize that college is just around the corner, in a way,” said freshman Kate Hahnenberg.

For the first time, freshmen have Naviance accounts. “It made me realize that college is just around the corner, in a way,” said freshman Kate Hahnenberg.

Astrid Braun

Astrid Braun

For the first time, freshmen have Naviance accounts. “It made me realize that college is just around the corner, in a way,” said freshman Kate Hahnenberg.

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Freshmen got a head start on the college process by being introduced to Naviance recently.

Naviance is an online college application service that students use to identify colleges they want to apply to and submit their applications. Students, teachers and parents can access the program through shaker.org in the resources tab.

The application offers students extensions that can contact their guidance counselor, search colleges, make and check off goals and take personality tests.

Each student has a personalized account, and the district pays the fee, Guidance Department Chairwoman Eileen Blattner said. Until this year, students established their accounts during spring of their sophomore year. 

“The annual cost is pretty steady, at or below about $20,000 a year,” Scott Stephens, director of communications, stated.  “The district paid $19,435.76 total for the 2017-18 school year.” 

Blattner explained that freshmen received their accounts earlier than previous grades because the district recently purchased them and is planning to expand Naviance to younger grades each year.

“It would even be useful for the seventh and eighth graders, and even sixth graders. There are surveys in there that help you figure out learning styles, surveys that help you figure out what career things you might be interested in, stuff about yourself,” Blattner said.

Students of all ages express different views of the program.

“Since Naviance enumerates a college’s average GPA, ACT scores, SAT scores, etc., I was able to use those statistics as a way to gauge my projected probability of admission to certain colleges,” former Shaker student Alexandra Harris (‘16) wrote in an email.

“I use it to check the likelihood of me getting into a college, scholarships and my GPA,” senior Marjorie Shaw said.

Although upperclassmen use Naviance often, some younger students don’t see the need to use it yet.

“I’m a sophomore, so I’m not applying for college yet,” said sophomore Patrick Wise, who is familiar with the program, but has never used it. “So I don’t really know very much about it,”

“They’re introducing it to us earlier so we can get a head start on colleges and get prepared for how our life is going to be,” freshman Gabbi Fortin said. “I think it’s important for students our age to learn more about the job they want.”

Some students complained that the website looked outdated and is not always current.

“It very rarely updates,” said Shaw. “It wouldn’t update my GPA all of last year, or my ACT score until recently.”

Younger students who rarely use the website agree. “It seemed kinda dated. For me, it was kinda hard to understand. I had to keep asking which buttons to press to get to certain things,” Hahnenberg said.

The website displays the old Shaker logo, which is from the old Shaker.org website made in 2005.

“They could update it, but just because it’s older doesn’t mean we’re incapable of using it,” Fortin said.

But overall, students seem satisfied with the application.

“It was an integral tool in helping me understand which colleges were statistically within range for me, which then helped form a balanced list of safety, match and reach schools,” Harris said.

Said Hahnenberg, “It made me realize that college is just around the corner, in a way.”

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College Comes Ever Closer