Roadmap to College: Self-Assessment - What Are My Strengths and Weaknesses?
I love the patterns and complexities of numbers.
I love painting and drawing people and objects.
I love writing stories and analyzing literature.
I love building things and I love the physics of rollercoasters.
I like helping people with their problems.
How would you describe yourself? Are you creative, a problem solver, an analytical person, a planner, a motivator, a teacher? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or even 20 years? How do your family and friends describe your personality? Before you even consider applying to college, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and take a good look at yourself.
Do you excel in math, science, art, music, social science, or humanities courses? By learning more about yourself, your interests, and your preferences, you will be able to make a more informed decision about which colleges best meet your needs.
Some high schools require that you formalize a self-assessment by taking a career or interest inventory before meeting with a guidance counselor, usually in your junior year, to discuss prospective colleges. Most of these inventories evaluate your personality style and assess your preference (not whether or not you’ll be successful) for different types of careers. Many of these assessments are based on the works of psychologist Carl Jung and the mother-daughter team of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, developers of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Some states offer students free services, which combine self-assessment tools with college and career searches, along with opportunities to develop a resume. For example, the New York and California Web sites have links to “The Interest Profiler,” a 20–30 minute online personality assessment tool with potential career matches. The federal government also offers many resources that allow you to explore potential careers, obtain salary information, and identify jobs in high demand in the future. One very useful Web site is www.online.onetcenter.org, which offers detailed career information that is linked to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another useful Web site, www.dwya.com, is based on the very popular career book, Do What You Are (Little, Brown & Co., 2001), and is a great resource for determining your personality type.
Students sometimes take interest inventories and say, “Oh, it didn’t work for me; the test said I was going to be a bank teller or a hairdresser.” What these instruments do is assess your preferences (not strengths) in dealing with people, processing information, making decisions, and organizing your life. They are not foolproof, but they are useful in gaining data about yourself. The checklist below can be used to highlight your strengths and areas for improvement. Getting to know who you are will assist you in writing essays and forming a list of potential colleges.
In the checklist below, use a check to indicate your agreement.
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