Naviance and the College Admissions Process

By on June 11, 2011

This is a post by Andre Tarquinio, a rising senior at St. John’s HS in Shrewsbury, MA. Naviance is a website used by many high schools to compare students in their school to former graduates. This post summarizes the uses of Naviance and its importance in the college admissions process.

High school students always want to know how colleges look at applicants from their school. Naviance takes this element out of the process by showing the  statistics of previous applicants from your school to particular colleges. Naviance gives a student the best possible academic comparison that they can get. However, the college process is complex and Naviance only provides data for one piece – GPA and SAT scores. Here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of Naviance:

Naviance Strengths

  • Comparison – It allows students from 1 high school to compare their GPA, SAT scores, and strength of schedule to graduates of their school.
  • Expectations – Students can view the average statistics of students who were accepted to any particular college from their school.
  • Graph Projections – Naviance provides a graph for each college projecting the students chances of being accepted based on accepted students from their school over the past 3 school years. The graphs provide different data points with SAT scores on the X-axis and GPA on the y-axis. Each applicant’s data point is either green, red, or blue which tells the students if the applicants were accepted, denied, or wait-listed respectively. The graph also places a point for the student showing where they stand compared to these former applicants. This gives students a good idea of their chances of being accepted to schools of their choice.
  • Rank Your Colleges – Naviance allows students list their college choices and rank them from First Choice to Low.
  • Links - Once a list is made Naviance provides links to the colleges websites, ways of contacting the schools, and information on college visits.

However there are some drawbacks to Naviance that students must consider when using it as a resource:

Naviance Weaknesses

  • Limited Graphs - In its graphs, Naviance only takes into account SAT scores and GPAs while excluding the strength of schedule from the equation.
  • Specifically Academics – Overall Naviance is specifically an academic website and students must remember that extracurricular activities, college essays, and interviews are a big part of the application process as well.
  • Don’t be Intimidated – The stats provided for some colleges may look intimidating and convince students not to apply there. Do not let this happen. Remember because Naviance only uses the average stats of accepted students which may not be an accurate representation of a particular student.

Naviance is a great tool that all high schools should provide for their students who are searching for colleges. But for those who don’t have this resource, go to your guidance counselors and ask them if they can sign your school up for it. All students should take advantage of the information and allow Naviance to help them in their search for a college.

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