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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week Eight Notes

Using Course Planner in Naviance

As you know by now, Naviance is a relatively comprehensive web-based program that the EOS Guidance Department uses when presenting issues related to the three components of a developmental guidance program - social/emotional, academic, and post secondary issues.  Students complete surveys on-line, conduct research on career and college options, prepare for the SAT, and plan for their futures in a variety of ways.  One such way is through a component of Naviance called "Course Planner".  Here's how it works.

Students (and parents) can access "Course Planner" by logging in to their accounts and clicking on the "Courses" tab in the menu bar.  Under "My Course Plans", click on "manage my course plans", then open the "add a new plan", and click on the "create a new draft plan".  From there, you'll see several four-year plans available and each is based upon the kind of schools - defined by competitiveness (how difficult it is to be accepted - the lower the percentage of students accepted, the more competitive it is) - that a student may wish to pursue.  By clicking on any one of the plans, you will see the types of courses available to choose from that will comprise a four-year plan of study compatible with the kinds of competitive schools for that particular category.  For example, a student interested in attending a highly competitive school would click on that plan and see that the majority of courses from which to choose would be at the "A" level.  What is not taken into consideration are the grades that a student earns in these courses.  Rather, the strength of the four-year plan is based upon the rigor of one's course selections.

A design flaw that Naviance has not yet corrected relates to the schools of interest that are listed below the "meter" that measures rigor.  For example, a plan that may be appropriate for admission to ECSU may not be sufficient for acceptance to UConn, even though Naviance is indicating otherwise.  For more accurate feedback, students should speak with their counselors and use the "Colleges" tab for more information as well.  Still, Course Planner may be very useful in the course selection process when taking into consideration post secondary aspirations.  It's about planning for what's ahead and knowing what you need to do in order to get there.

Federal Law Requires Colleges to Provide Real Cost of Education

A federal law is about to go into effect (October 29) that will require all college websites to provide an online tool called a net price calculator that is intended to give a more accurate estimate of real costs for students and families.  An article appearing in USA Today last week describes this law and its intended effects.  What it's not meant to do is provide "sticker shock" but rather a more realistic - albeit, estimated - view of costs for attendance.

A website managed by the federal government that's labeled College Navigator - National Center for Educational Statistics (available in "Helpful Links" below as well) already provides a good deal of this information.  Using these tools may reveal that some schools which may appear to be out of reach may, in fact, be affordable if sufficient financial aid (based upon need) is provided.  At any rate, the time invested in using these tools may reap the net effect of finding affordable options for higher education.

EDocs Program Allows EOS to Send Transcripts Electronically

The EOS Guidance Department began using a program last year called Naviance eDocs that delivers electronic transcripts and admissions forms to hundreds of colleges, including every Common Application member institution.  In all, there are now 1545 schools throughout the country that use this program, including most all of the popular schools pursued by EOS students. 

By using this program, EOS is reducing the use of paper and postage while expediting the delivery of admission materials to their intended destinations.  And the program is free.  It makes sense - and saves several cents in the process.

A reminder - with most all college applications now submitted online, it's imperative that seniors notify their counselors when submitting their applications electronically.  The EOS Guidance Department otherwise has no way of knowing that students have done so.

Opportunities

The Princeton Prize in Race Relations recognizes students who are helping improve race relations in their schools or communities.  Winners of the prize are awarded up to $1000 and invited to Princeton for an expense-paid weekend symposium on race.  For more information, visit www.princeton.edu/pprize.

Northeastern University is offering a program called "2011 Women in Engineering Day" on Friday, October 28th.  The program is a great way for female students who are interested in engineering to learn more about Northeastern's program.  Call 617.373.3402 for more information.

Seniors - be sure to check the "Scholarships" section in Naviance for an updated list of opportunities.

Articles of Interest

A few new articles are presented here that may be of interest to you.  One argues that how we learn is more important than our innate capacity to learn (The Science of How People Learn) in determining how much we actually do learn.  Another argues that we should forget everything we've been told about good study habits (Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits) and that research points to more effective methods, and a third instructs parents how not to parent their children (12 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids).  The last piece is a twist on parenting advice - one worth reading.


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