For the second year in a row, incoming students have taken the Gallup StrengthsFinder test to learn more about themselves before beginning college.
Tamara Long, dean of admissions, has spearheaded the strengths movement on campus since taking over new student orientation in 2015.
“I am super passionate about strengths,” Long said. “So when I was given orientation last year, I knew I wanted to add it.”
Prior to attending NSO, students are sent an access code to take the StrengthsFinder test. After they complete the test and are able to view their strengths, they also have access to a detailed report of what each of their strengths mean. The university pays for each test taken, which Gallup lists as $15 a piece.
“Strengths are a way of looking at what’s right with people,” Long said. “It’s a way students can see that they have something to offer, and I think it gets people past surface level conversations quicker.”
Since 2015, strengths have been used across campus from the residence halls to the classroom. If you walk down any dorm hallway on campus, residents’ strengths are displayed outside of their doors. Some Cornerstone professors devote one day a week discussing how students can use their strengths to learn and develop better study habits.
Strengths will also be a key part of the new centralized advising model. Long called this the “appreciative advising model”, and advisers will be able to see areas students are best performing to help them make decisions about major or class choices.
“We want to help students focus on what is good and what’s right for them,” Long said.
Long estimates more than 60 percent of campus has taken the Strengths test, and two years down the road, all students on campus will know their top five.