We all want our kids to live happy fulfilling lives.
But how do we help them find their purpose, choose a career? I wanted to give my boys some direction so I sought out aptitude assessment for them. I walked out of our aptitude assessments with a new understanding of how my son’s are wired. It was such powerful information, I felt drawn to bring this type of assessment to local families (and improve the process to make it more personal).
So what makes this aptitude assessment different from career tests your children might take in school?
Most assessments rely on subjective information provided by your child. They answer questions about their interests, how they like to work, what they think they are good at. These exercises are helpful and all part of the self exploration process. The problem is that we don’t always know what our strengths are! If you are good at something, you might not realize that it is a strength, you may assume that everyone thinks that way. This assessment asks you to perform tasks within a specific time on a variety of problem solving and memory activities. It gives you a score in each area and places your score as low medium or high when compared with the tens of thousands of others who have taken the ability battery.
What kind of information do you learn from this assessment? The tasks are designed to determine what your strengths are in several areas, including your learning channels. It also gives you information about how you prefer to solve problems and tells you have an aptitude for hands-on work, a talent for design, or if you feel more comfortable in the world of words and ideas. Finally, the personal style information it provides is different from other personality assessments.
What did I learn about my children that I didn’t already know?
When I went through the ability assessment with my oldest son, he had narrowed down his options but was deciding between some type of engineering or a business degree. Both choices seemed reasonable and I was not sure how to help him decide. The assessment made so many things clear for us. His strengths in the areas of spatial relations theory and visualization, as well as design memory and short time frame made Engineering and Computer Science natural choices for him. Furthermore, the assessment revealed that he is a “specialist” vs a “generalist” meaning he has a unique view of the world, prefers to work in his own way, and wants to become an expert in one subject vs being a jack of all trades. Did this all make sense to me, yes. Did I know this before he took the assessment, not really. Could he still get a business degree? Of course, but it made more sense for him to specialize in one subject and then move into the business side, or perhaps even own his own business. Strong specialist types will struggle with a general business degree that doesn't allow them to learn a lot about one subject. We also discovered that he is more introverted than we realized. Learning about what Introverted really means (NOT shy and quiet) made me understand him so much better.
My other son’s aptitude assessment revealed talents in a variety of areas. This didn’t mean he is “smarter” than my other son, just that his abilities aligned with a variety of options. This makes the decision more difficult, but just realizing this helped us realize why he was having a hard time with his decision. It also prompted him to choose a field that offered variety and growth. He is likely to feel dissatisfied if he is not using all of his driving abilities, so he needs to be aware of this, keep his life rich with hobbies (in his case music and exercise) and be open to changing careers along the way. A further dive into his personality type, interest and values has led him to the field of psychology. He knows he will have options to explore different areas of psychology and then specialize in one, as well as conduct research, provide counselling and possibly teach one day.
My personal results from the aptitude assessment were so enlightening.
I had already decided on my next career step before taking the Highlands Ability Battery, but this process made it very clear to me why I found my current position challenging. My consultative problem solving style and short time frame explained why I loved evaluations and consulting with teachers, but why my day to day therapy sessions were not as fulfilling.
Early in my career, my husband encouraged me to take on the role of manager of the speech department at the facility where I worked. I remember feeling guilty that I didn’t feel drawn to this next step on the career ladder, but thought I should challenge myself. I got the job and I struggled through the parts of the job I hated and learned a lot. Years later, I took this assessment (and explored my personality type ) and discovered that my ability profile and personality style was not well suited for management! The relief swept over me and I realized I’ve felt like a failure for years for not having talents that many of my peers have. Now I know how I’m wired and can capitalize on my strengths and not waste any time feeling badly about not succeeding at other roles and tasks!
Now I am in a position to help others discover their natural strengths and explore their personality type. My business partner and I opened True Compass. Our process includes aptitude assessment as well as tests that explore personality, interests and values. The work suits my personality and aptitudes, and I am thrilled to be able to provide this information to clients so they can make informed choices.