The Skills

A student’s character deserves the same attention as his or her cognitive ability in the assessment process. The Enrollment Management Association’s testing and research team developed The Character Skills Snapshot alongside 56 independent schools, pilot testing over 12,000 students.

The Snapshot is an online assessment taken during the independent school admission process. It is designed to measure essential character skills deemed prevalent among independent school missions and which schools seek to nurture in their students: initiative, intellectual engagement, open-mindedness, resilience, self control, social awareness, and teamwork.

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This skill describes the student’s 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. Representative behaviors:

  • Starts working on assignments early
  • Does not do things at the last minute



Intellectual Engagement
This skill focuses on the student’s enjoyment of and willingness to pursue learning opportunities, regardless of how much difficulty they might present. Representative behaviors:

  • Enjoys challenging assignments and tasks
  • Likes to learn more about topics of interest

Open Mindedness


This skill describes the student’s willingness to try new things. Representative behaviors:

  • Is open to trying new and unfamiliar approaches
  • Does not avoid trying new activities or foods



This skill highlights the student’s ability to adjust to unexpected situations and changing circumstances. Representative behaviors:

  • Readily adapts when plans change
  • Is comfortable in stressful situations

Self Control


This skill focuses on the student’s ability to monitor and control his or her thoughts and actions, and what he or she says to others. Representative behaviors:

  • Thinks carefully about what he or she says
  • Thinks things through before making a decision

Social Awareness


Social Awareness:
This skill describes a student’s ability to recognize the appropriate ways to interact with others. Representative behaviors:

  • Adapts behavior based on the particular context
  • Attempts to resolve conflicts and act appropriately




This skill highlights the student’s ability to engage in supportive behaviors and emphasizes empathetic qualities that enable productive collaboration with others. Representative behaviors:

  • Attempts to comfort friends when they are upset
  • Tries to resolve conflicts between people in a group