Getting through the college application process can seem like a daunting task. However, the high school’s guidance department is making the process easier, both for students and their parents. The past few years have seen improvements in the timeline and the tools used to prepare students for applying to college. Starting in middle school, students are now introduced to Naviance, the in-depth college planning software.

“We introduce students to this software in middle school to assist with their transition to high school,” said LVHS Assistant Principal Rebecca Gottesman. “We have seen the benefits that come with exposure to viewing the college requirements. There is also great value in recording activities and awards throughout the years and most importantly, students see the value of participating in extracurricular activities and emerging as student leaders. By the time they are juniors, they have a record of all of their activities, community service, jobs and more.” Gottesman said beginning the process in middle school alleviates a portion of the stress that comes from trying to create a comprehensive resume in their senior year.  

Recently, the guidance department provided training sessions for parents on how to use the Naviance software. Bringing the whole family into the process makes it easier for everyone, Gottesman said. Parents were taught how to search for colleges based on their child’s grade point average, desired location, desired school size and more. “It is important for parents to be part of the process for many reasons, including the possibility that their children often don’t know the details on the finances or how far away a parent wants them to travel,” she said.

Additionally, the workshops highlighted Method Test Prep, the free online SAT and ACT preparation program that the school utilizes through Castle Learning. The weekly lessons take users through practice questions and provide tips and tricks. Parents were given temporary accounts for Naviance and Method Test Prep to create a hands-on experience. Going through the motions exposed them to many features of these programs that they can use with their children throughout middle school and high school.