Aptitude assessments for high school students help lead to better career planning. Personality-only evaluations just don’t tell the full story. They leave out students’ natural abilities—the things they’re born to do well and will be satisfied doing every day. The best insights come from using both interest and aptitude assessments for high school students and others.

What is an aptitude?

An aptitude is a natural talent or ability to do something. Aptitudes—unlike interests—don’t change. According to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, aptitudes are set by age 14. Before then, they’re still forming and may change.

Everyone has aptitudes. They’re innate—people are born with them. It’s like being right- or left-handed. You’re born that way. And like trying to do things with your left hand if you’re right-handed is hard, doing things that you’re not naturally talented at is hard too. It can also be exhausting.

How understanding aptitudes helps students plan for their future

Students discovering their aptitudes early is key to making the right college and career choices. Students who know their aptitudes can make smarter decisions. They can take high school classes that they’re interested in instead of because they have to. And they can enter college or a career planning on a future they’re confident knowing they’ll find fulfilling.

It’s known that 80% of college students change their major at least once. Some change majors as many as six times. When students plan their future based on their aptitudes, they know which career is right for them and are more likely to stick with a major.

Denmark Technical College in South Carolina has been using aptitude assessments for students for two years. It’s already seen a decrease in the number of students changing majors according to Denmark Technical College President and CEO Dr. Willie L. Todd, Jr.

And sticking with one major can reduce total college costs a lot. And if a student picks a future that doesn’t require college, they can have that confidence too. Thirty-six percent of jobs in 2020 didn’t require a college degree.

High school students benefit from knowing their aptitudes

High school students are often surprised at how accurate their results from an aptitude assessment are. Most are excited to look at classes and careers that play to their aptitudes too. Knowing how their minds work and what strengths they have lets students know who they are and what they’re capable of. It opens their thinking to focus on their potential.

And that helps students answer, “What’s after high school?”

Aptitude-enabled education for students

YouScience® offers an aptitude-enabled education tool used by school districts throughout the US. Schools use it to better prepare students for college and career readiness. The tool is YouScience® Aptitude & Career Discovery. It’s an aptitude assessment. It uses a series of nine science-based brain games and an interest survey to uncover a students’ aptitudes and interests.

After taking the aptitude assessment, high school students see careers that align with their aptitudes and interests.

YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery was designed for middle school and high school students but can be taken by anyone at any age.

After taking Aptitude & Career Discovery, a senior at a high school in Minnesota said, “Taking the YouScience survey was very eye-opening! It showed me many careers that I didn’t know existed. Some of them, I never thought I would be interested in. YouScience provides easy-to-read outlooks on thousands of careers.

“This was helpful to me because I really had no idea what I was interested in. The careers that came up after answering all the questions were not generic. There was a wide variety of different things to explore! I would definitely recommend taking YouScience if you are unsure about what you want to do in the future! In addition, my teacher is extremely helpful in going over everything, making the future seem less overwhelming!”

What YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery shows students and educators

Students who complete YouScience Aptitude & Career receive a report of their results that shows them:

      • How their mind works and how they process information
      • Their innate strengths based on their aptitudes
      • Real-world in-demand careers that match their aptitudes and interests as well as any certifications they’ve earned.
      • Potential future employers who need their aptitudes and certifications, if applicable
      • Post-secondary school options including technical, 2-year and 4-year options
      • Affirming language to use on resumes and college applications

Individuals can take Aptitude & Career Discovery online in class or at home. Many schools start using YouScience as early as the sixth or seventh grades. Each student, with the guidance of a teacher or counselor, uses their results to explore different careers and plan out their education and career pathways.

YouScience breaks down the aptitudes it measures into two main categories.

Personal Approach aptitudes

Personal Approach aptitudes reveal how someone approaches work on the job, in a class, or in personal endeavors.

      • Timeframe Orientation affects the kinds of goals a person sets and how they approach those goals.
      • Personal Vocabulary conveys how a person exchanges ideas, expresses opinions, and relays information.
      • Work Approach indicates how someone thinks about, processes, and performs work tasks.
      • Interpersonal Style is how someone initiates interactions and replenishes mental energy.

Core Driver aptitudes

Core drivers are the aptitudes that best predict effectiveness and contentment at a particular type of work—in a job, class, or elsewhere. They’re the natural gifts people feel driven to use. The Core Drivers in Aptitude & Career Discovery are listed here:

      • Visual Comparison Speed is a measure of visual dexterity, which is how quickly and accurately someone processes visual information.
      • Idea Generation shows if thoughts flow in several directions at once or single ideas follow a more linear pattern.
      • Numerical Reasoning reflects the ability to logically process complex mathematical problems.
      • Inductive Reasoning shows how information gathering and how someone problem solves —how quickly and intentionally conclusions are drawn.
      • Spatial Visualization is the ability to look at a two-dimensional figure and visualize what it will look like expanded into three dimensions.
      • Sequential Reasoning is a problem-solving ability that reflects how someone arranges information mentally in a logical, linear order.

How Educators benefit from YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery

Aptitude & Career Discovery for high school also has a set of analytics and academic advising tools. They help school administrators, counselors and teachers guide students to appropriate high school curriculum, including Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways, potential future employers, internships, apprenticeships, and post-secondary education options.

Educators benefit by knowing their students’ aptitudes and interests, but especially their aptitudes. Knowing gives educators resources to better prepare students for learning as well as post-secondary education and a career.

Teachers who’ve used YouScience Aptitude & Career Discovery note an increase in engagement with students who are normally uninterested in their classes and education in general.

David Wilson, a computer science teacher at The BlueCross Technology Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, commented on YouScience. He said, “From my perspective, YouScience provides a way to encourage kids specifically that plays to their strengths. It gives people who are teaching CTE an ability to know the students in front of them. It can drive instruction and help drive a student’s personal direction in life. When it really comes down to it, we all want our students to be successful, but we’ve not listened to them and taken the time to get to know them in such a way that would help them define their own success. I think YouScience helps do that.”

Bottom line

Educators dedicate their time to preparing the future workforce for college and career pathways. And it’s critical for them to assess both aptitudes and interests. Helping students connect what they’re learning in the classroom with real-life possibilities inspires engagement, confidence and a blueprint for successful, passionate professionals.