Sophomore College undergoes changes: students explore strengths and skills

In order to give sophomore students more direction between their first year and years as upperclassmen, the university has elected to use StrengthsQuest to help them find their focus and strengths. StrengthsQuest, an assessment of one’s strengths and talents that provides help with best utilizing your capabilities, was developed by Gallup and is available to all sophomore students who are interested in taking the assessment.

“The sophomore college is really based on addressing what people call, “˜the sophomore slump,” said David Tuttle, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “We’ve had interest in StrengthsQuest [because] of the implication it has for career discernment and leadership, and we feel those are important.”

StrengthsQuest is an online program that allows students to submit their responses and come away from the assessment with a better understanding of their strengths based on these responses. It goes on to define how a particular user might use these strengths to their advantage in achieving their own goals.

The creator, Gallup, is a performance management company which helps organizations and individuals achieve their goals in the most efficient manner possible. Various departments at the university have used StrengthsQuest for some time, as departments have used it for professional development.

In 2011, residential life student staff, members of the Greek Council, members of the Student Government Association, and others were trained to use StrengthsQuest in order to better understand the best dynamics for their teams and organizations.

The benefits of StrengthsQuest contribute further to the mission of Sophomore College, which aims to help students with opportunities unique to their year, such as preparing to study abroad and declaring a major. It also helps students better understand their capabilities to best utilize those strengths with later work in teams or as employees and leaders.

“We feel that our sophomores have transitioned into the university community and have the maturity to explore StrengthsQuest,” said Becka Bovio, coordinator of student programs.

StrengthsQuest was chosen as a program for the Sophomore College as opposed to first years because of its potential for helping students better understand their possible paths and goals. While it was considered for first-year students, it was decided that they already have a lot to adjust to and take in, and they would not benefit as strongly from the use of the program. StrengthsQuest seeks to improve individuals’ understanding of themselves and allow them to express these strengths to others, teach them to better analyze themselves and use this knowledge to make better decisions for their abilities.

Many hope this translates into better discussions in future leadership positions, as well as with interviews for internships and future job positions.

“StrengthsQuest is to help them better understand working with others and really compliment their own skills,” Tuttle said.