Many seniors this year are running into an unwanted roadblock in the process of receiving letters of recommendation to send to colleges. The program, called Naviance, has been introduced that allows students to search for colleges, allocate their letters of recommendation from their teachers and other faculty members and form college resumes. However, many teachers and students have been unhappy with 3the new program and its interface. The program so far has been described as being very clunky and not user-friendly, problems that faculty members and students did not have to deal with in the past.
According to Principal Kathleen Laurence, the switch to Naviance allows students to organize application materials and allows for administration to get better data on where students are apply- ing and their outcomes. “The idea was that it would be easier, as everything is just in once place for the students too,” she said. “It just had a few little glitches that we weren’t ready for.”
According to College and Career Center Coordinator Leighton Lang, many issues that students and teachers have complained about have not entirely been Naviance’s fault, and the only issues that existed have now been solved. “There are no major issues that have not been solved,” he said. “I think a major issue is that students need to learn how to follow the instructions and do what they are advised to do, because that’s what is manipulating the process.”
However, Lang does not believe that the blame for issues with Naviance can be on students. “The program does need some developmental help, because it doesn’t let you choose what college a kid’s letter can go to,” Lang said. “The student has to do that part on their own. [They have to] select the schools,” Lang said.
Many staff members have been experiencing trouble adapting to and using the new Naviance program. One of these staff members includes computer science teacher Joshua Paley. Paley found that the Naviance program was causing many problems for him and other teachers, and believes that the introduction of Naviance was done unsatisfactorily. “We have had teachers this year that have tried to do submissions and they end up getting tens of emails immediately about errors and there is no guidance on what they should do regarding those errors,” Paley said. “The number of teachers that have complained about this publicly and internally through email is not trivial. And to me, all this is a real problem, and teachers have been given no training prior to using it and really, if Naviance were good, they should not need training. I never got any training on Common App and it worked with no problems. To be frank, if Naviance were written better, it would be easier to use from the first place.”
Paley believes that the change was unnecessary, as the Common App had worked fine. “So my main objection is the school went from something that was clunky software but worked in Common App to something that is also clunky and now introduces problems in Naviance without proper testing,” Paley said.