Deans implement new college planning software

Casey Kim

In order to improve the college search process, the upper school deans introduced College Kickstart, a software for college planning and career assessment. The Class of 2020 will be the first class to utilize the program, Upper School Dean Celso Cardenas said.

“[The deans] have been talking about College Kickstart for probably over two years,” Cardenas said. “We wanted to ensure, before we rolled it out, that it was something that would be useful to our community.”

Students will have access to the new program along with Naviance, the current software in place for the college application process, Cardenas said.

“Naviance is still going to be our go-to in terms of the application process itself and for getting documents out, so we’ll still rely on it heavily for seniors,” Cardenas said. “But I think now as we move to implement College Kickstart, it’s going to be our focus for juniors to make sure they have a good tool that offers a lot more function, a lot more data and is a little easier to understand. It’s really going to enable them to dive into the college search process.”

The deans have decided to implement College Kickstart because Naviance may sometimes be misleading, as the program can not process certain significant factors, such as hooks, Cardenas said.

“There are some limitations on how you can search, what you can search and data that enables students to have a good sense of where they fall into terms for admissibility of these places,” Cardenas said.

Jack French ’20 said that he is glad that the software is tailored to reflect data specific to Harvard-Westlake, which will help him to yield more accurate readings.

“I think it’s cool that [College Kickstart] is essentially the same as Naviance, but instead of using national data it uses our data and is more focused on Harvard-Westlake,” French said.