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Special Report

A Guide to Naviance with Ms. Arranaga

Mark Wang

Last year, almost 65% of the CHS student body entered a 4-year college/university. For anyone planning on applying to a private or out-of-state institution, they will be applying through Naviance, an online portal provided for all students. Many students, especially seniors, have expressed confusion regarding how to effectively use this portal. To get more information on Naviance, we Interviewed Ms. Arranaga, the college and career counselor at Cupertino High, about more information regarding Naviance.

Can you tell me about the important features of the Naviance?

I think there are two really important ones that all students should utilize. One is the strength finder because not all of the students know what their strengths are. We paint ourselves in certain ways, but once you take this assessment, it will give you the three top themes [in which] you can see how it relates to specific careers and college majors.

For example, when I took the test [for myself], it said that I was organized, dependable, and confident. And based off these three things, it gave me a list of different careers. And based on these careers, I found the different majors. It was very accurate because from my position, I have to be confident, organized, [and] dependable because if I’m not, I’m not going to send things on time, I’m not going to [be able to] handle 257 applications, so it varies student by student.  It is definitely something that they should utilize as a career resource.

The second one would probably be the college match. A lot of us believe that UC Berkeley and UCLA and Stanford, [and] all top colleges are for us, but all the college reps say that you need to find the perfect fit so there are many, many great schools out there. By doing the college match, you can narrow [the list] by the major that you are interested in, [or] you can narrow it by whether or not you want to go to east coast or west coast, or if it has  specific organization[s] or test accommodations.

When should students get started on Naviance?

Freshman [year] is a good start; you don’t want to overly bother yourselves with Naviance but it’s good to become familiar with it because by the time you become a senior, you’ll know exactly where to go, what to do, and know how to use the resources on there. You can research colleges, kind of see what you are looking at, what GPA you need to have for the specific college that you’re interested in.

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Courtesy of Huffington Post

[During] sophomore year, you might want to look into the different volunteer opportunities and still do the in-depth research on colleges. There are test prep[s] that are individualized and are definitely something to be utilized. You can do it for SAT, ACT, [and] PSAT. I don’t think they should use it as often as the juniors and seniors, but still do a self-assessment once [per] month and do a college search and find a major and do resume building or a to-do list.  

Junior year is one of the tough years in high school [so] it would be nice if they were to look at it every so often and definitely see what other colleges are out there, what interests them, what different careers there are. We have college visits from September through November. We also have different career guest speakers who come in from January through June so students can see that kind of stuff on there. They can sign up for college visits.

What would you tell the seniors about Naviance?

For the seniors, I stress that they take advantage of everything on there primarily because you can build a resume [and go to] the college visits [and] different workshops. I stress often, if not every day, that students should look at it and take advantage of it because college time is very, very stressful especially if you’re balancing school, home, sports, and college applications. So the more you know ahead of time, the better you know about the plan.

What do you think of Naviance in general?

I think it is a great resource for all kids at Cupertino. I went to a high school that performed well, but we didn’t have anything like this. This is definitely something that the district pays for each individual student, and I definitely think that it should be taken advantage of. There are some things [in Naviance] that I wish [would be improved]. Naviance is something that is underutilized here because not everyone knows what it is about. I think that’s changing now these couple of years [because] it’s becoming a little bit more popular. Use Naviance because It helps you find your passion, and it helps pave the path that you want to go wherever you want to go or be.