When applying to colleges that use the Common Application, your Common App account and Naviance ine connected to allow transcripts and letters of recommendation to be directly sent to each college.
Additionally, this tool assists with FERPA compliance and waiver applications for teachers and counselors.
FERPA and Recommendations
As part of your college application process, you may encounter a question asking whether you would like to waive your right to see letters of recommendation. This is the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) waiver. Students need to understand what this entails.
Many colleges utilize FERPA to ensure that letters of recommendation are written by only those recommended, preserving the integrity of these letters from being written by someone other than themselves. If you choose not to waive FERPA, schools could reject your application or force you through another round of recommendations before accepting.
To prevent this situation from unfolding, students should discuss FERPA and letter of recommendation requests with teachers and counselors ahead of time. Also important is giving enough time for teachers to write these letters – at least four weeks is recommended – although some teachers may have limits on the number they will write for sure students.
Matching or connecting Naviance and Common App simplifies the college application process for students. By linking their accounts, they will be able to submit transcripts and letters of recommendation directly from Naviance; additionally, matching Common App accounts will automatically transfer any colleges that they list on Common App to Naviance’s list of colleges.
Students can sync their Common App account with Naviance by PowerSchool so both systems can share data. Naviance provides students the same functionality when they list colleges they’re applying to on the Common App; their lists will automatically sync over. Transcripts, letters of recommendation, and fee waivers can now be automatically submitted to all colleges to which students are applying – eliminating the need to send forms individually to each institution. Counselors can find a video tutorial that guides their students through this process – perfect for sharing with their students and families posting to counseling websites or social media accounts, or embedding into Family Connection welcome messages or custom HTML pages!
Letters of Recommendation
Most colleges require one or more letters of recommendation for admission. These should typically be submitted either via The Common App’s college-specific supplement or Naviance eDocs, depending on your school’s protocol. If applying to schools that use The Common App, if possible, link your Common App account with Naviance by selecting the “Colleges I’m Applying To” button and inputting your Common App email address – this will bring over all the colleges from The Common App into Naviance application making it easier for your teachers to submit letters of rec.
Be sure to ask teachers and guidance counselors you trust early in the year for recommendations, as their time may become limited if left until later. When approaching them for support letters, be courteous and remind them of the submission deadline.
When asking for a recommendation letter, be specific in what information they include. A resume copy could help them recall critical achievements or skills they might not identify otherwise.
Ask your recommenders to meet with you in person or via Zoom to discuss writing your recommendation letter. By meeting face-to-face or virtually, your recommenders can be more candid when sharing their views about you – giving your application the boost it needs! It also allows you to share details about yourself and provide context about which colleges you’re applying to.
After meeting with your recommenders, follow up by phone call or email to ensure they’ve submitted your letter of recommendation. Suppose they haven’t, send a polite reminder a few days before the submission deadline with offers of assistance if needed. Once your letters of recommendation have been submitted, thank each recommender for their time and support – they will appreciate receiving this acknowledgment and may ask about which colleges you were accepted into!
If you are applying to colleges that use the Common App, there is an option available to you to request a fee waiver. To do so, navigate to your “Profile” and then the “Common Application Fee Waiver” subsection of your profile page and provide valid reasons why you believe a fee waiver would benefit your case (it could be your family making less than the FRPL, enrolling in GEAR UP/Upward Bound programs, etc). A letter from your counselor or another school official corroborating your case will suffice.
Once you’ve submitted your Common App profile, Naviance will automatically add it to your Colleges I’m Applying To list. UC applicants must add them manually once their portal opens on November 1. All other documents (transcripts and letters of recommendation) can be uploaded directly using eDocs by their counselors or teachers into Naviance.
If your students are having difficulties submitting forms into Naviance, encourage them to contact their high school counseling team; they may have an answer for this problem.
Helping your students link their Common App accounts and Naviance profiles can save them time and stress in the long run, ensuring their FERPA forms and letters of recommendation automatically go out. We have created a video tutorial to explain this process – feel free to download, share, or embed this tutorial within Family Connection welcome messages or custom HTML pages if they need extra guidance navigating Common App and Naviance! To stay informed on more ways we can support students on both fronts, sign up below!