The Ursuline School: Creating Success for College, Career and Life Readiness
“Naviance is more than just a college application platform; it also supports building college knowledge, personal awareness, and social emotional learning.” - Elizabeth Roper, Director of College and Academic Counseling
Located on a 13-acre campus in New Rochelle, New York in Westchester County lies The Ursuline School. Founded in 1897 by the Order of St. Ursula, The Ursuline School is an all-girls, independent, private, Roman Catholic middle and high school. It serves nearly 800 students from grades 6 to 12. We had the opportunity to speak with Elizabeth Roper, Director of College and Academic Counseling, to learn more about how The Ursuline School is using Naviance to best support students and connect with families.
Elizabeth has been with The Ursuline School for 4 years working with students and families to get them ready for college, career and life. She also serves as a soccer coach at the school. When she arrived at The Ursuline School Naviance was being used primarily just for career search, college search and college applications. Having worked at other schools that used Naviance, as well as attending some local user groups and workshops, Elizabeth knew there was so much more Naviance could be providing the school. She and her team began implementing ways to maximize their use of Naviance. The goal was and continues to be to create consistent engagement from freshman year through senior year in Naviance. They also wanted to address family engagement, since many parents did not have their Naviance accounts activated.
Best practices should always be shared so that we can learn and grow with each other and save some time along the way. Elizabeth has shared with us the approach they are taking to ensure there is consistency in supporting all students’ college, career and life readiness needs as well as always keeping parents informed.
In the second semester of freshman year, students get introduced to Naviance. Elizabeth and her team visit classrooms to teach them about what it means to be college and career ready. They then get them logged into Naviance. Freshmen students start with learning more about themselves by taking the Strengths Explorer assessment, which helps them identify and understand what their strengths are. They also begin building their resume so they can keep track of their activities throughout the next 4 years.
We send family (student & parent) communications "NEWS from College & Academic Guidance" beginning 2nd semester of FR year, at least monthly, if not bi-monthly, all other years.
During the freshman student and parent night, the team works to get all the parent accounts activated. If a parent is unable to attend, they send home instructions on what parents need to do. The Ursuline School is able to end the year with all freshman students and parents with an activated Naviance account. Family communications, “NEWS from College & Academic Guidance" begin on a monthly basis starting the second semester of students’ freshmen year (bi-monthly all other years).
During their sophomore year, students take the Do What You Are assessment, which helps them understand their personality type and provides them tips to achieve success in a way that works for them. Students also continue to build their resumes and evaluate their PSAT scores. During the sophomore year students can begin exploring their school’s enrichment programs for college and careers in Naviance. Students are encouraged to explore RoadTrip Nation, which is an archive of video interviews with over 800 leaders in various careers, and Career Key, which helps them see how their personality types match with different careers.
In their junior year, students use SuperMatch to dive deeper into what colleges might be a good fit for them. Students begin signing up for college visits through the use of RepVisits, which is a tool that allows high schools to set up visits from college reps and college fairs easily and quickly. During this year, students are requesting teacher recommendations and exploring enrichment programs for college and careers. Juniors and parents receive a monthly newsletter through Naviance from the counseling office.
During their senior year, students are wrapping up applications to college and making those tough and exciting decisions for where they will go next. The counseling team sends them students and parents bi-monthly emails with deadlines, additional information they may need for graduation, etc. The work done in the last 3 years has built on each year to bring students to a point where they know what they are capable of, what they are interested in, and what the plan is to get there.
Today, most of The Ursuline School’s college, career and life readiness activities are on Naviance, providing a singular, comprehensive place for students and families to access information. Thank you to Elizabeth and her team for the hard work they do to help students reach their potential.