In a perfect world, each high school student would take an aptitude test before college. Here’s why.
When students graduate high school, they’re assaulted with many life-changing choices. For example, if your student plans to attend college, they must pick a college. When they choose a college, they must then choose a college major.
These choices challenge many high school students, as they often lack the life or work experience to help them make these decisions. As a result, many students worry about making the wrong career choice or picking the wrong college major, and rightfully so.
This is a reasonable worry because choosing the wrong career causes two massive problems:
- Students waste time and parents waste a ton of money.
- It’s incredibly stressful not to have a reliable plan for your future.
Yet, they don’t have to make these decisions blindly. Through a blend of psychological research and advanced data science, students can use state-of-the-art aptitude tests to learn which career paths come naturally to them. As a result, they can avoid careers they’re not wired for and seek jobs that align with their strengths.
This is the first post in a series of articles on how students can use aptitude tests to pick their careers.
What is an Aptitude Test?
An aptitude test is an assessment that measures a person’s natural, inborn abilities (or aptitudes). Sometimes the word “aptitude” is used interchangeably with “talent” and “ability.”
Thus, an aptitude test doesn’t measure personality or interests (more on that later). The students and professionals we work with often use our aptitude testing services to discover the following:
- How students best approach challenges
- How students learn
- How students are most likely to solve problems
By knowing this about themselves, students have a distinct advantage over their untested peers. Here’s how:
How an Advanced Aptitude Test helps High School Students
Broadly, aptitude tests help high school students by saving them a ton of time. By taking an advanced aptitude test, a high school student can know what activities, tasks, and professional responsibilities come easier to them. Using that knowledge, a high school student can strategically plan to research potential careers and college majors in which they’re confident they can excel.
Specifically, a high school student gains the following benefits from taking an aptitude test:
- A data-driven list of career options that use your student’s strengths
- A better understanding of how your student learns
- A break down of which foreign language a student is naturally wired to learn faster
- A recommendation on which musical instruments a student could excel in learning
Armed with these insights, students can maximize their time in college. They can confidently seek opportunities that develop their strengths and prepare them to enter the workforce.
How to Avoid Scammy Aptitude Tests
If you’re interested in aptitude testing, avoid personality quizzes claiming to be aptitude tests. I have nothing against personality tests. Depending on the situation, personality tests can be very insightful and valuable.
However, personality tests don’t measure aptitudes; they measure behavior. For example, many personality tests often measure how shy or outgoing a person is. But, again, while this can be helpful to know, it doesn’t show how a student is predisposed to a career.
For example, a person can be shy and still be an actor or a librarian. On the other hand, another student might be highly outgoing and possess the same aptitudes to make a natural chef or software developer.
Again, I’m not saying that personality tests don’t have value. They do. Yet, when high school students plan their careers, aptitude tests contain more robust measuring tools than personality tests.
What an Aptitude Test Doesn’t Measure
Personality tests aren’t the only assessment that gets confused with aptitude tests. Skill assessments and intelligence tests do as well.
For our discussion, and to set the record straight, know this about aptitude tests:
- Aptitude tests aren’t a test of intelligence.
- They’re not a test of knowledge.
- They’re not a test of skills.
- They’re not a test of personality traits (like being outgoing or shy).
- And they certainly aren’t designed to measure your motivation or creativity.
Using tests that measure these in place of an aptitude test can be disastrous. It might not affect you directly, but it could cause trouble for your student. Keep reading to see how.
The Right Aptitude Test Helps You Avoid Costly Mistakes
Picking the wrong major wastes time and money. With the ever-rising costs of tuition and university fees, you can’t be too careful with planning your student’s college. Sadly, many families prioritize choosing which college their students should attend and not what their students will study once they get there.
This is an expensive oversight.
A High School Aptitude Test Saves Parents and Students Money
College is expensive. Tragically, the cost of college is only rising.
According to a 2022 report by the College Board, on average, a year at an in-state university costs $10,740, $27,560 for out-of-state, and $38,070 for a private college.
While these numbers are alarming by themselves, there’s more. For example, most students don’t finish college in four years.
According to the NSC Research Center, “the average elapse time was 5.7 years for a bachelor’s degree earner.” Thus, changing college majors significantly contribute to this delay in college completion, which means parents and students pay more money (see below).
A High School Aptitude Test Saves Students Time
While not finishing college in 4 years cost more money, it also costs time. I’ve long treasured these words by philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius: “Life is short. That’s all there is to say. Get what you can from the present, thoughtfully, justly.”
While Marcus Aurelius was no college admissions expert, he was right about time.
Time is precious, and wasting time is tragic, especially for high school students. And while a student can be permitted to do their share of goofing around in college, the time they spend in the classes they pay for shouldn’t be a waste.
Changing college majors usually delays graduating by a semester. The classes a student took in the former major no longer count towards their current major. Thus, their graduation is delayed.
Which Aptitude Test Should Students Take?
Our students use the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB). It’s the golden standard of aptitude testing.
While there are other great aptitude tests, the HAB has a few features that other aptitude testing centers don’t.
Among others, the HAB offers three primary benefits:
- Integrated reports that give students the average salaries and marketability of careers
- The freedom to take the aptitude test electronically at home
- Flexibility to not have to take the entire test in one sitting
Career Aptitude Tests for Students
Are you interested in learning more about aptitude testing for high school students?
Schedule a call now to book a free aptitude testing consultation. If you’d like to continue researching, read the next article to understand the benefits a career aptitude test can have on your student.
Trends In College Pricing, 2021, accessed at https://research.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/trends-college-pricing-presentation-2021.pdf
 Time To Degree, 2016, accessed at https://nscresearchcenter.org/signaturereport11/