Utilizing Assessments to Help Our Students

Post by Hanna DeBruhl, Career Coach at Columbia College


There are all kinds of assessments in the world; you can find one on almost any topic.  There are career, personality, and psychological assessments.  Assessments began being used in the 1920’s particularly to help select people for the armed forces.   Today companies and organizations use assessments to determine if potential employees are a good fit.

As career coaches we assess students everyday on a number of factors as well as administer career based assessments to them each year. Assessments look at skills, interests, values, work environment, personality, and talents. This information helps students understand themselves better.  The job of a career coach is to help students apply this information to future internships, jobs, and careers or connect the dots.  Students need to have an understanding of the purpose of assessments and career coaches provide them that understanding.

It is vital to take time to meet with students and go over assessments with them so they have insight of what it means for them and what it means for a potential employer.   Students need to be educated on how to use assessments to their advantage and be the best they can be.  When students know their true color is gold, or their Holland Code is SCE, then they know the best work environment is a structured, organized, and  allows them to work with others. When students possess this information, they will make better informed career decisions and be successful. Students can also discuss this information in interviews when answering questions such as tell me about yourself or are you a team player.   It helps career coaches know students and assist them in the internship or job exploration process.  Coaches will know what types of organizations will be a good fit for students.

Career coaches should administer more than one type of assessment to students. All students are different and will not need the same type of assessment. Career coaches should choose assessments for students based on what the student wants to learn or know about themselves better.  Here are a few that multiple campuses administer each year.

  1. Holland Code- This assessment looks at the type of work environment a person would work best in. It is quick and easy, and students like that.
  2. True Colors- This is more of a personality assessment that helps students learn about themselves and others. It can be utilized to discuss how to communicate best with a wide variety of people.
  3. Myers Briggs – Myers Briggs has been around for multiple years, it is a very thorough and in depth assessment. It is also one of the most accurate personality tests.
  4. Kuder Assessments- Kuder Assessments are broken down by student’s grade levels- elementary, secondary, and post -secondary. Kuder assessments look at strengths, interests, and values.
  5. DISC- DISC is used mainly in the business world, but has been a good resource on college campuses. DISC like True Colors helps students learn about others and how to best communicate with people different from them.

All of the assessments are valid and have credibility.

Students should understand that as informative as assessments are, they are not everything.  People can change based on growth and development, life experiences, and life changes.  If a student’s true color is gold one year, and green the next, it is okay. Students do not need to label themselves, but take away the information they were given.

Assessments are best used as a tool to educate students about themselves and others. It assists them in career exploration focusing on what makes them unique.     Assessments also provide students with information they can use in interviews and self-promotion. Career coaches should focus on assessments that meet the needs of students and help them succeed.

Hanna DeBruhl Hanna DeBruhl has been in the the career development field for almost 10 years. She is a certified Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) and currently serves as a career coach at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina. Hanna prepares students for the workforce through on-on-one coaching, classroom presentations, and on-campus workshops on various career topics. Previously, Hanna worked as a career specialist on the secondary level, teaching career exploration courses and connecting community speakers to educate students on various career fields and job opportunities. Connect with Hanna on Twitter @HannaDeBruhl | LinkedIn | Personal Blog

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