Naviance skews seniors’ expectations

Naviance skews seniors' expectations

Scott Novak, Opinion Editor

On the surface, Naviance seems like a great site for students to keep themselves organized during the college process, but what they don’t know is that it also messes with their self-esteem.

Sure, students can sign up for colleges visiting JC with a simple click and lists of colleges a student is applying to can be organized according to interest. The site also keeps track of all college and scholarship deadlines which is handy.

Naviance is a program implemented last year by Guidance.  It is designed to aid seniors and juniors in beginning their college search and application process.  Students log on to their personal accounts on this website to look at college information.

However, Naviance also displays the chances of admission, creating a graph including all of the past JC students who have applied to that college. It displays those students’ grades, with SAT scores sitting on the x-axis and GPAs on the y-axis of that graph. A green dot means that the student was accepted, while a red x signifies rejection. As helpful as this seems, this may inflict more harm than help upon seniors.

Ideally, students should apply to each college with a sense of confidence. Financial considerations aside, even if a college is competitive, what have students got to lose by at least trying?

Seeing that a JC student has never been accepted to Stanford in the past six years can crush self-esteem that is essential for dealing with the stress that comes with applying to colleges. Students may begin to feel as if they’ve already been rejected before they even apply.

On the other hand, Naviance can also give students a false sense of security. If the graph shows that almost everyone has been accepted to a certain college, the student may not bother to apply to other places.

Besides creating a sense of anxiety or superiority that inevitably comes from comparing oneself to others, the Naviance graph unintentionally reinforces the idea that students are mere test scores. This concept is toxic to anyone’s feeling of self-worth.

People are much more complex than their test scores make them out to be. A graph cannot accurately measure who someone is, and colleges do not base their decisions solely on the incomplete picture of a student portrayed by test scores. How someone acts and what activities they’re involved in say far more about a person than a 4.0 GPA.

For JC students, Naviance should just be used as a means of organization, and students should not feel the need to compare themselves to others and feel discouraged by the graphs.  They are more than what Naviance may say.

Scott Novak is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com