Aptitudes vs. Personality Tests
In every high school across the globe, you’ll find all kinds of aptitude personality types: introverts, extroverts, leaders, supporters, detail-oriented, big-picture focusers, group interactors, independent workers . . . you name it – high schools encompass the gamut.
For Jessica Browning, a high school career counselor in North Carolina, helping students understand personality types and discover their interests has always been an integral part of her job. Throughout her career, Jessica has used various personality and interest assessments to help her students establish a foundation for college and career readiness. But when she heard about YouScience Discovery, an aptitude assessment that pairs students with careers that fit their interests and innate abilities, she realized what was missing from all the other assessments: aptitudes.
Aptitudes Help Counselors, Help Students
An aptitude is a natural ability or talent. We all have them. However, many people, high schoolers included, are unaware of what their particular talents are. Most career surveys given to students are based on interests, or personalities. They don’t get down to the crux of the matter, which is — what are you innately good at? And which careers align with not only your interests but what you can actually do?
In the past, Jessica used the Strong-Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs, Do As What You Are, and other free assessments, but they didn’t assess the students’ aptitudes. She says, “It was more statements saying students were good at things, or enjoyed things, or their personality. So, when I was introduced to YouScience and the idea of an aptitude assessment versus just interest and personality, I was sold.”
Aptitudes Uncover Natural Talent
YouScience uses a series of science-based brain games to help students discover their innate talents and abilities. The proprietary algorithm then matches them to careers that align with their unique aptitudes. Students who complete the YouScience Discovery assessment receive a breakdown of how their brain works, a selection of best-suited careers, affirming language defining their strengths (to be used on resumes or college applications), and exposure to career pathways they may not have been aware of beforehand.
Jessica began administering YouScience to her students in 2016. Today, every junior completes the assessment online as part of their college and career exploration. After students complete the assessment, Jessica meets with them to review their results and create a plan moving forward.
“For some students, as they are doing it, it’s validating that this is something they want to go into. I find it successful when they realize their career matches are actually something they’re interested in, because that’s part of the journey. I’d rather them find that out now than start down a path in education and find out they don’t like it once they get a degree and start doing it.”
Aptitude Testing Shows Every Student Has a Path
‘I know what I want to be when I grow up’
As with any high school, there is a subset of students who know exactly what they want to do. They focus their entire educational pathway preparing for their professional career. For these students, Jessica encourages them to use their results to help them build their college applications and professional resumes.
“The first thing is when they look at their aptitudes, I strongly encourage them to bookmark sentences that apply to them. What their strengths are, what’s easy for them, what’s hard, what comes naturally. Then I invite them to click on that bookmark section and see all the wonderful sentences that describe them. This is very helpful for college essays and interviews.”
For many of these students, YouScience is just a confirmation that they’re capable of doing what they already know they want to do. External validation, based on science, provides that extra boost of confidence.
‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’
Along with students who know what they want, there are also plenty who don’t. When asked what they want to be when they grow up, they’re the ones with the terrified deer in the headlight look.
Jessica encourages these students to click through their career matches and look at “a day in the life,” the tasks required, and what kind of education they need. They can research the careers in their profile and determine which jobs would be feasible, intriguing, and fulfilling.
“One of the students’ favorite parts is looking at salary. This is something they need to consider because they don’t know exactly how much money you need to live in certain areas and if you have single income versus dual income. I encourage them to try to look deeper and have conversations with them about what that means. Those are some of the things in the platform I really try to encourage them to take advantage of.”
‘I have learning differences AND talents’
For those students with learning differences, the magic in YouScience is that it allows them to see and know their own capabilities. For many who struggle with confidence or self-esteem, being able to read the positive wording in their profiles that describes their unique strengths, helps them realize their own potential. And that, whether or not they do well in school, there are careers and jobs that align with their specific talents. They get the reassurance that their skills are needed, that they have a purpose. Jessica says, “I do think it gives them the confidence and allows them to dream and have potential options that maybe they hadn’t considered. YouScience does a great job of aligning natural strengths with students’ interests and serving as an amazing tool for the students to continue to explore what’s out there for them.”
Aptitudes + Interests = Success
When it comes to preparing students for the future, personality and interest assessments only take them so far. When you combine interest with aptitudes, through the YouScience platform, students are given a real-life look at what they’re capable of and a glimpse into careers best-suited to their aptitudes. With that knowledge, they can make decisions that will lead to fulfilling life choices.
Connect students to their best-fit pathways, careers, and post-secondary opportunities.
To learn more about YouScience and how this unique platform is changing students’ lives, connect with one of our regional directors.