How to help your student identify strengths and weaknesses during the college admissions process
Self-assessment is an important tool in the life coaching community, but it’s also one of the most practical tools for helping your students and students’ families evaluate their student’s strengths and weaknesses throughout a high school year and come up with action plans that enhance their overall well-being.
Experts in the self-assessment field agree that assessing self is as important as assessing relationships during self-awareness sessions, especially in high school, when students need to strike the balance between developing themselves as individuals while maintaining connections with their peer groups. We spoke with Tom Carson, a career counselor and father to an 18-year-old high school student who began self-assessment sessions this year, and he shared strategies for helping your student identify, assess, and manage strengths and weaknesses.
Bring that journal to self-assessment class:
Self-assessment is a personal and often conversational process, so your student will need to make an effort to come prepared with a copy of their journal as well as a list of questions they would like their teachers to ask. Teachers want students to know what they are assessing so they can see how the process works, but students may shy away from admitting to weaknesses in order to protect their standing. A book about self-assessment is helpful, especially one that helps students talk about their answers in a journal. Carson suggests reading Self-Assessment: Powerful Tools for Demanding Answers and Realizing Your Full Potential, by Edgar P. Spitz, Karen J. Strauss, and Steven L. Dunn.
Back it up with your student’s personality, interests, and goals:
Students will need to explain what they want from their self-assessment before the teacher can begin the process. Students should break down their intentions into three buckets: Intensity, Efficiency, and Inspiration. For example, an introvert might want to focus on refining one aspect of their personality while an extrovert might hope to improve their attention span. Personal success is not something that can be lumped into a simple number: happiness, commitment, or optimism must be thought of as individual traits. Carson recommends that students think about all the skills they need to attain better grades, gain greater knowledge, or establish strong personal relationships, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Giving children and teens a chance to do a self-assessment can make self-awareness about self so much more than just the application of standard self-monitoring practices (i.e., a brag sheet or a homework assignment to fill out at the end of the year). Self-assessment is an essential part of teens’ development because, as students get older, their self-identity becomes more important. It’s important for children to know who they are, what makes them happy, and what drives them.