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In the last post, I covered how I’ve been using Naviance with my junior son to help him develop a long list of colleges to research and (later) a short-list of schools to which he will apply. This week, I want to share some of Naviance’s other great features.

In the Career Module, students can explore different types of careers and discover majors that may be of interest to them. While it’s not necessary for a student to be certain of their major before entering college, it’s always fun to imagine the possibilities. The “Career Cluster Finder” and “Career Interest Profiler” are simple assessments which help a student discover career matches based on activities of interest, personal attributes, and most-enjoyed subjects. The results of the assessment include the student’s strongest fields of interest and those of lesser interest. Students can also view matching careers and career clusters that may be of interest to them based on the results of the assessments.

Career clusters are a way of grouping careers with common features and skills. Careers in the same cluster typically require similar education and training. Exploring careers as clusters can be a useful way to find a good career match, especially if a student has general areas of interest but is not sure which specific careers match these interests. Students can link to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to research their career interest, including information on job duties, required education and training, pay and benefits, and future outlook for job growth.

I have found that this is a great exercise for a high school student! Encourage your child to add possible careers to their “career list” in Naviance, but don’t worry if your child can’t decide on a specific major; many students change their major at least once during their college career! If students do not know what they would like to major in, using the tools in the Career module can help them narrow down their choices. In addition, these exercises can help a student better understand how their high school coursework prepares them for certain types of careers and majors.

Under the About Me tab, there are additional tools for your child to use. Students can set goals and reminders for tasks that need to be completed, and there is a useful function that helps students create a resume. Students can use templates to create a well-formatted resume, listing honors and awards, activities and clubs, volunteer and service, and outside jobs.

The MyPlanner section serves as a great reminder tool and online “to do” list for students, helping them stay organized and on track throughout the entire process. If you have access to Naviance as a parent, this is a great place to keep track of your student’s progress through the application process without having to nag.

Finally, one of the most helpful features of Naviance is that the program allows your school’s guidance counselor to communicate with students directly as they move through the college application process. Students can request transcripts, school reports, and letters of recommendation from their school counselor, all through Naviance. In addition, Naviance integrates with the popular admissions application portal, The Common Application, simplifying the application process on the high school end. To be able to use that functionality when applying to colleges, students need to sign up for the Common App with the same email address they use for their Naviance login.

If your child’s high school subscribes to this software platform, I encourage you to dive in and join your child in his or her journey to college. Whether developing a college list based on a student’s academic and career interests, tracking applications throughout the admissions process, or comparing admissions rates at the colleges on your child’s list, Naviance is a valuable college planning tools that help students and families make informed decisions and stay organized during the college process!

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Written by Jan Combs
Jan Combs is a college finance expert at College Coach. Before joining College Coach, Jan was Director of Financial Aid at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Boston University.