By Max Silveira          

In the college application process, nothing is guaranteed — except the colossal amount of work both student and guidance counselors face. Fortunately, Andover High School recently began using Naviance, an online college database and organizer. Naviance is taken for granted by current seniors and sadly sometimes the work of their guidance counselors is too.

Every year around the time the leaves change colors guidance counselors must write many recommendations for students at their school. With the early application process already in full swing, Kim Bergey, an AHS guidance counselor, has her hands full. “Writing college recommendations is something I highly enjoy,” she said, “but it is very time-consuming and it does tend to consume my fall.”

With at least 50 or 60 percent of seniors at AHS applying early, Bergey’s schedule can get busy.  She tries to emphasize something unique about each student in her recommendations. But this can cause recommendations to be time-consuming. “One recommendation can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours,” said Bergey.

That is far from the only time commitment she has to make each day. Bergey admits to seeing upwards of four or five seniors each day “for 45 minutes each.” This greatly restricts her time available for other students who want a class change or need an appointment.

Knowing how difficult the process is Bergey is quick to give praise to the teachers who write recommendations. “I think teachers who volunteer their time to write many recommendations are being extremely generous with their time and we really appreciate [their work],” she said.

While the teachers are a big help with recommendations, one thing seemed paramount to Bergey when it came to the college process. That was the addition of Naviance last year.

“Naviance is amazing. It has changed my life as a guidance counselor,” exclaimed Bergey.

AHS registrar Christine Gould, who has to upload 450 transcripts individually, recognizes the benefits of Naviance, especially now with students applying to an average of eight to ten colleges. “Naviance has made the process much easier,” said Gould.

While the process has been made easier it is still tedious and time-consuming for counselors, something some students fail to realize…but not senior Danny Caveney. “I’m sure it’s a very difficult process,” said Caveney, who applied early action to all of his schools that offered it.

Caveney also notes that the student data sheet is a useful tool for the guidance counselors.