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Discovering Natural Abilities and Talents Can Lead to Student Success

The college dropout rate in the United States is shockingly high, at about 40% each year. Several factors play into the dropout rate, but a large part of the problem is that many students are making college decisions and choosing majors with very little information or experience. Many of them feel forced to make these uninformed decisions either on a whim or as a result of the influence of their parents and family members. Other students confidently decide based on an illusion of what they believe college is going to be like but do not actually know what to consider when making a college decision. Either way, it is common for this decision to leave out two of the most important factors that could lead to success and fulfillment - self-discovery and a personal vision.

The Importance of Understanding Your Natural Abilities

Everyone is born with specific natural abilities that make certain types of tasks preferable to others. Of course, anyone can learn to perform tasks and gain skills over time, but this could eventually cause burnout or dissatisfaction. We are all born with innate abilities that make it easy for us to perform certain tasks. Awareness of one's natural abilities and talents can inform students about how they are hardwired in ways that make them distinct. These natural tendencies affect their choices, personal style, preferred work environment, and how they solve problems most effectively.

For example, consider a student who decided to study philosophy at a small liberal arts college. She originally made this decision based on many factors, including the influence of her parent's interests that rubbed off on her and her interest in logical reasoning studied in philosophy. However, she later learned through an effective aptitude assessment that she had strong structural abilities. In other words, she had strong spatial relations abilities mixed with strong creativity and a focused drive toward specializing in unique topics. Through this assessment and a discussion with an experienced college consultant, she thought about these abilities and realized that she had always had an interest in architecture and design. She decided to try a larger university where she could still study philosophy and explore courses in architecture and industrial design. Today, she is a successful architect.

Waypoint's Aptitude Assessment - The Highlands Ability Battery

Understanding one's natural abilities and how they are used in life is the most important piece of self-knowledge available for creating one's personal vision of success and satisfaction in school, work, and life. That is why Waypoint College Consulting now utilizes a highly effective aptitude assessment called the Highlands Ability Battery. This tool is considered by many career coaches and college consultants as the gold standard among human assessment tools.

Rooted in decades of scientific research on human abilities, the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is not a survey that measures preferences but an objective assessment of a student's abilities based on timed work samples and their performance rather than perception. After a student conducts 19 work samples, Waypoint's Principal Consultant, Steve Colley, who is certified in administering and interpreting the HAB, will meet with the student and debrief their results. During this review of the HAB results, Steve will not only show students their natural abilities but will help guide a student toward a personal vision that can help a student decide on their next steps in life - whether that is picking a major, selecting a college, trying out for certain extracurricular activities, etc.

Crafting Your Personal Vision

Understanding one's natural abilities and how they are hardwired provide powerful guidance for students trying to figure out what they want to do in life. However, this is just a part of the whole person, and people are too complex to be defined by just a few factors. Our holistic approach takes into consideration other critical factors in a student's life within the context of their natural abilities, such as their interests, values, family, goals, and other aspects of the Whole Person Model. We guide students to develop a personal vision that takes into account the "Whole Person" and applies it to the decisions they are trying to make for their next transition in life.

The information gleaned from the HAB is very insightful and eye-opening to many students. This great tool can help college-bound students declare the right major, select best-fit colleges, and identify career paths that will deliver lifelong satisfaction.

For more information on the Highlands Ability Battery or to schedule a consultation, please contact Steve Colley at or visit our scheduling page. You can also see our other college consulting services that help students and families navigate college planning, financial aid, scholarships, the admissions process, and other items on our Services Page.

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