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Naviance reforms application process

By Roxanne Glazier
Published: November 2009

Teachers at South now have the option of sending students’ college recommendations through Naviance, a website that facilitates the college-application process.

Instead of photocopying, mailing, and signing several forms, teachers can now log onto Naviance and upload their recommendations and forms directly on the website. From there, forms can be sent to any of the 350 colleges that use the Common Application or the 700 other colleges connected to the system.

Although Naviance has been available for a few years, the difficulty of setting the system up has prevented South from using it until now.

According to College and Career Counselor Barbara Brown, not many high schools have begun using it yet.

So far, 35 teachers have sent recommendations online, and 50 percent of seniors have requested an online recommendation.

“It took a while to get started, but the teachers who are using it are telling me that they love it, Brown said. “It’s much faster.

Many teachers feel that sending recommendations through Naviance has been very effective.

History Department Head Marshall Cohen worked with Guidance Department Chair Robert Pomer to test out the system. According to Cohen, at first there were a few minor glitches, but they fixed them without major problems.

“With any kind of computer system you’re going to have small problems, Cohen said.

Teachers must take time to learn how to send recommendations online, but Cohen believes that “down the line, it will be easier.

Science Department Head Charles Hurwitz sent his recommendations by mail this year, but plans to try the new system in future years.

“The students told me about their recommendations before Naviance was all set up, so I had already done them, Hurwitz said.

Cohen sent the majority of recommendations through Naviance and was very pleased with the system. According to Cohen, once everything was set up, the process was more efficient.

“You can email students directly from the Naviance site if there are any problems, Cohen said. “One school didn’t take the Common App [so I emailed the student right from Naviance].

With the new online method, students no longer need to prepare envelopes. Although students now only need to approve the recommendation release online, some still prefer the paper method.

“I prefer that recommendations be submitted by mail, senior Lily Strassberg said. “If the electronic system proves to be easier, then that will be great for next year’s seniors. I just don’t want to be the one to pilot it for them.

Senior Isa Geltman agreed with Strassberg. “[The] new system has great potential to make process a lot easier, but I didn’t want the system to mess up, she said.

Pomer, however, believes that submitting applications online will decrease the number of mistakes.
“Sending recommendations online reduces the likelihood of paperwork getting lost in transit, he said. 

According to Pomer, recommendations sent via mail go from the teacher, the main office, postal service, the university mailroom, and the admissions office before finally arriving simultaneously with hundreds and even thousands of other pieces of mail.

“It is amazing that they are as accurate as they are, but the electronic delivery is seamless, directly from the teacher to the student’s application file, Pomer said.

As of this year, only teacher recommendations were set through Naviance; however, in the future, transcripts and counselor statements may also be sent online.

Although South is technically able to send these things online now, it will probably be another two to three years before the school tries the program, Pomer says.

“The transition is slow, but it’s the way of the future, Brown said.

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