Naviance frustrates many

It’s the dreaded college app season, and all seniors are scrambling to apply to their dream colleges.

Among the excitement and stress are also numerous complaints about Naviance Family Connection, an instrument mandatory to the process.

Naviance is a college career readiness vehicle for middle and high schoolers that helps connect academic achievement to post-secondary goals, according its website,

“Naviance is a vehicle we use to do college admissions, letters of recommendation, and transcripts for students,” said counselor and Cal’s Naviance expert  Michelle Sampson.

Although it’s a website that’s used nationwide, students don’t like it very much. Some complaints are about the aesthetics of the site.

“It literally hurts to look at [the website],” said senior Leta Bi. “The wings and drop down menus aren’t clear enough, and the website layout is so confusing.”

Because the application process is complicated enough, students wish the site was simpler to navigate.

“It’s not user-friendly at all,” said senior Tony Fu. “There’s too many things to click.”

The college planning site is a little difficult to use, but Cal counselors advise students to utilize it fully.

“Naviance starts in the ninth grade, and we introduce freshmen to career planning and have them do surveys,” said Sampson.

Although counselors deem it useful, many students question why Naviance is mandatory.

“We use it to identify how many students are going to a four-year college,” said Sampson. “I know it’s a pain in the butt, but everything flows better this way.”

Sampson believes that if students used the site regularly, they would get a lot more out of it.

Most schools in the U.S. require letters of recommendation to be sent through Naviance. A few years ago, teachers had to make an adaptation from printing out letters of recommendation to submitting them electronically.

“I think the new way is more convenient. I can use it anytime at home,” said Chinese teacher Winnie Wang. “We save postage too.”

Before, the process was more complicated for teachers.

“I used to have to seal and sign the letter, then mail it for the student,” said Wang.

Naviance also has other useful tools, such as career path surveys and personality tests to help students decide what career field or college suits them best.

Sampson recommends using Naviance rather than paying for private consultants. If students need help with Naviance, any of the counselors on campus can provide assistance.

“It’s a credible program,” said Sampson. “We just have limited time to teach you guys stuff.”