Highlights the student's preference toward willingness and enjoyment of pursuing learning opportunities, regardless of how much diﬃculty they might experience.
Highlights the student's preference toward a willingness to try new things.
Highlights the student's preference toward an inclination to work on assignments in a timely manner and emphasizes the point at which a student chooses to start work rather than when the student ﬁnishes work.
Highlights the student's preference to adjust to unexpected situations and changing circumstances.
Highlights the student’s preference to monitor and control his/her/their thoughts and actions, and what he/she/they say to others.
Highlights the student’s evaluation of the appropriateness of responses to everyday situations.
Highlights the student's preference to engage in supportive behaviors and emphasizes empathetic qualities that enable productive collaboration with others.
“The Snapshot is a wonderful piece of information to see where your child is right now. I think that’s exciting as a parent to see what my child is just getting going, or what they are going to grow into as they move into an independent school.”
“We feel we have a better idea of who our kids are. The content of our conversations evolved.” Lakeside School (WA) discusses how the Character Skills Snapshot ensures a more holistic admissions process.
The Snapshot’s framework stems from extensive research drawn from and conducted by:
To maintain security, a new form of The Snapshot is developed every academic year. Every item on The Snapshot undergoes rigorous pilot testing that involves multiple stages. For example, the 2017-2018 Snapshot form was pilot-tested on 12,000 students prior to its launch.
The Character Skills Snapshot is a noncognitive assessment tool that measures character skills (initiative, intellectual engagement, open-mindedness, resilience, self-control, social awareness, and teamwork).
There is a plethora of literature that suggests character skills are important for success in school, work, and life. It is one goal of independent schools to foster these skills in their students. Learn more about character and assessment on this NAIS page authored by David Holmes.
The Enrollment Management Association collaborated with admission directors, heads of schools, and teachers from more than 56 independent schools to develop The Character Skills Snapshot. Assessment development experts from the Educational Testing Service wrote some of the questions, and others were written by teachers and admission professionals from independent schools. It has been through rigorous pilot testing with approximately 12,000 students enrolled in or applying to independent schools across the country. Listen to a podcast with Dr. David Holmes, cofounder and codirector of the Institute on Character and Admission, and Meghan Brenneman, Ed.D., Director of Character Assessment Programs for The Enrollment Management Association, at the bottom of this page.
The Character Skills Snapshot is administered online in a student's home or other location with internet service. It is not available on mobile devices and is not given at schools.
There is no cost for The Character Skills Snapshot if a student registers to take the SSAT; registration will be available through the student's SSAT account. If a student does not register to take the SSAT, the cost is $35.00.
For Crossroads School in Santa Monica, the admission entry point at sixth grade is particularly challenging. With applicants coming primarily from public schools, there is significant price sensitivity and less of an orientation to the value of an independent school education and the admission process. In addition, the information the admission team receives about students varies widely, depending on whether the student is coming from a public school or private school.
Eric Barber, director of enrollment management at Crossroads, believes The Character Skills Snapshot will help level that playing field. It will also help us “differentiate our admission process from the competitor schools, in that we really are showing that we care about the entire brain and the entire kid, because that's who we are as a school.”