“The individual who knows his own aptitudes, and their relative strengths, chooses more intelligently among the world's host of opportunities.” Johnson O’Connor
Today’s students are faced with a myriad of career opportunities, making the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?” even more challenging. In addition, today’s technology allows students to envision careers that may not even exist at the moment. For example, artificial intelligence specialist, social media manager and drone pilot are just a few examples of career options that were unheard of decades ago. As students navigate the possibilities, they need all the tools available to determine their career goals.
One of the most well-known aptitude tests, the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), was created based on the work of researcher Johnson O’Connor. O’Connor found that we are all born with natural abilities that make certain activities easier than others. Think about abilities such as spatial relations visualization, concept organization or verbal memory and how they impact your daily activities. When you learn more about your natural strengths in the assessment areas, you can better understand why you are attracted to certain career fields or volunteer activities.
Episcopal’s College Counseling team has been offering students the Highlands Ability Battery for five years now. The team views the assessment as a way to start a conversation with students who are beginning to consider their future more seriously. “The Highlands Ability Battery provides a deeper understanding of who you are,” says College Counseling Director Justin Fenske. “The results should feel right.” Fenske and College Counselor Shandi Fazely both took the HAB. The two say the results helped them understand how they frame their current roles and how they interact with others. They are pleased to help Episcopal students discover the same.
It’s important to know that the HAB is not a determiner of career options, but rather a tool to learn more about innate abilities. In a research report conducted by Dori Stiles, Ph.D. on behalf of the Highlands Company, the author states that “the more closely aligned a person’s job responsibilities are with his/her natural style, the less time and effort he or she expends. In this way, identifying a natural personal style becomes a self-management tool.” Fazely says the assessment helps students understand more about how they work with others and how they get energy from personal interactions. Combined with other data points, this information can help guide the student’s career exploration process.
Unlike college entrance exams, the Highlands Ability Battery is not academic, and no preparation is needed. Episcopal students are invited to take the HAB once between their sophomore and senior years. The test consists of 19 timed assessments which can be taken online over the course of several weeks. Once the assessments are complete, students debrief with a College Counselor to interpret the results. Fenske and Fazely say those results are often confirming, exciting and validating.