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Applying Talents in Academics

To help you determine how you can best apply your greatest talents toward strengths in academics, Gallup has collected feedback from thousands of top-achieving college students. Through interviews, focus groups, case studies, and surveys, we have gathered insights about how these successful students perceived and applied their most powerful talents in several areas of academics.

Now, it’s time to take a look at strategies that can help you use talents in your Signature Themes for achievement in various aspects of your academic life. Once again, locate and examine the strategies that are customized to your Signature Themes. As you do this, you may want to consider the items that are already helping you achieve and those that may help you achieve at an even greater level of excellence.

These insights and action ideas can help you apply talents to achieve in various aspects of your academic life.

Achiever

General Academic Life
  • Set at least one clearly defined and measurable goal for each of your courses at the beginning of the term. Document your progress toward every objective in an academic-achievement journal.
  • Identify the most important fact, philosophy, concept, or law you learn in each class each week. Notice recurring patterns. Pinpoint discoveries.
  • Set one or two “stretch” targets, such as earning a specific grade-point average, winning honors status, or being named to the dean’s list.
  • Ask to review papers, projects, research studies, or tests of several students who consistently earn higher grades in a class than you do. Try to equal or surpass one or two things they do.
  • Seek opportunities to apply several of the ideas and concepts you have learned. Address groups and conduct demonstrations so others can benefit from what you know.
  • Ask each of your professors to clarify their expectations for your performance. Emphasize that you intend to exceed the minimum course requirements.
Study Techniques:
  • Review your goals-achievement log. Look for evidence that you are progressing toward your objectives. Outline the steps you took to acquire one particular skill or master one key concept.
  • Pay close attention to your body clock. Decide when your mind is most alert. Use this insight to your advantage when scheduling time to study.
  • Decide whether your productivity, efficiency, and ability to retain essential information increases when you study with a tutor, a classmate, a group, or alone.
  • Observe classmates to discover who shares your commitment to hard work. Form a study group composed of individuals who invest time, effort, and energy in scholarly pursuits.
  • Reach consensus as a study group about attendance, starting and ending times of meetings, strategies to eliminate distractions, and the sharing of class notes.
  • List everything you must do to prepare for a test, complete a project, conduct research, or finish an assignment. Prioritize activities. Set a deadline for each one. Then methodically carry out your plan.
Relationships:
  • Intentionally nurture friendships with people who are as driven as you are.
  • Talk to students taking advanced-level courses in your major field. Ask them to describe the choices they made in the past that contribute to their success today.
  • Realize that your natural inclination to study for as long as it takes inspires other achievers. Learn the names of these individuals. Add them to your study buddy network.
  • Seek opportunities to work with professors on research projects, laboratory experiments, and writing for publications.
Class Selection:
  • Choose challenging, effective classes taught by instructors who have reputations for helping students reach their educational goals.
  • Sequence the order in which you take classes. Each term, enroll in one course that is more demanding than any you have ever taken. Repeat this process each semester.
  • Recruit diligent, serious, and earnest students to register for the same demanding classes you are taking. Realize that you will challenge one another to excel.
  • Sign up for classes that cover unfamiliar topics. Understand that you are motivated by challenges.
Extracurricular Activities:
  • Join clubs that have members who share your strong work ethic.
  • Advance toward your academic and career goals by enrolling in rigorous classes, volunteering on campus, performing community service, working part time, and participating in intramural or extramural sports.
  • Elect to join organizations where your accomplishments will be recognized. Choose groups with goals that align with your own. Insist on establishing deadlines for reaching each objective.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Activator

General Academic Life

  • Initiate classroom discussions. Suggest topics. Take sides in debates. Help your fellow students learn faster and learn more.
  • Find the answers to questions that you anticipate the instructor will ask on upcoming tests and quizzes.
  • Instigate conversations with your peers outside the classroom. Center these on topics related to a recent lecture given by your instructor or a visiting professor.
  • Take charge of small-group conversations, projects, presentations, and experiments. Distinguish yourself by transforming plans into tangible results.
  • Waste no time finishing the first draft of a writing assignment. Immediately seek feedback from a teaching assistant or your professor. Incorporate some of their constructive suggestions in your second draft.

Study Techniques

  • Lead study groups. Participate in the life of the mind. Urge members to share their best ideas. Give timid individuals permission to explore topics, raise questions, and work on projects.
  • Jot down one or two key thoughts as you read an article, story, or the directions from a project. Use these insights to shape the group’s discussions.
  • Draw quiet individuals into conversations, debates, planning, and discussions. Call on them by name. Probe when they respond to questions with one- or two-word answers.
  • Read ahead to prepare for class lectures. Compose two or three questions not offered in the textbook to ask your instructor. Intentionally change the classroom atmosphere from one of passive listening to active participation.
  • Stay physically active to remain mentally engaged in your studies. Eat. Pace. Take breaks to stretch. Test your ideas with your study group. Press for their honest opinions.

Relationships

  • Surround yourself with individuals who are restless to start working on projects and assignments. Associate with people who welcome and respond to your directives.
  • Identify classmates who automatically know when the time for planning has expired and the time for action has arrived.
  • Initiate conversations with professors outside the classroom. Make appointments with them to confirm expectations, clarify course requirements, and establish deadlines.
  • Volunteer to chair group discussions, facilitate brainstorming sessions, or spearhead projects. Observe your classmates’ relief at not having to be in charge.

Class Selection

  • Choose a major field of study about which you are passionate. Realize your success hinges on your being fully engaged. Opt for courses that involve hands-on activities, lively verbal exchanges, and interesting experiments.
  • Check the course syllabus for information about projects, field trips, extra reading, and independent study options. Avoid classes that restrict your pace and methods. Honor your need for speedy results and changes of pace.
  • Attack your assignments immediately. Refuse to procrastinate. Turn in your work ahead of schedule. Enjoy the satisfaction of being done. Analyze how you avoid the pitfalls of “analysis paralysis” and excessive preparation.
  • Persuade your professor to give you permission to invent your own assignments with the understanding that they must satisfy the course requirements and learning objectives.

Extracurricular Activities:

  • Join clubs and try out for athletic teams with jam-packed rosters of events. Avoid groups with a reputation for meeting a lot but accomplishing very little.
  • Volunteer for activities such as constructing a Habitat for Humanity® house, serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister, acting in community theatre productions, conducting nature walks, running to raise funds for worthwhile causes, or coaching a youth team.
  • Be the change agent for a stalled project. Study the original action plan. Determine why momentum was lost. Convince group members they can put the undertaking back on course. Recruit several energetic individuals to help implement the new initiative.
  • Campaign for an office in campus government. Influence potential voters to cast their ballots for you.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Adaptability

General Academic Life

  • Live in the moment. Calm yourself before an exam with positive self-talk. Recall your personal history of dealing with surprises on tests.
  • Leverage your ability not to feel overwhelmed by multifaceted assignments. Document three to five instances during the day when you successfully juggled competing tasks.
  • Understand that you can balance academic demands with social commitments, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs. Describe how you managed to make progress on all fronts last week.
  • Challenge yourself by taking courses that involve experiments. Compare your flexibility to that of various classmates. Notice how you make adjustments to produce desired outcomes.

Study Techniques

  • Analyze your study habits. Do you plan and then improvise as circumstances change? Or do you improvise minute by minute rather than plan?
  • Choose study partners who are serious yet share your easy-going, relaxed work style. Avoid individuals who are tense and anxious. Make a list of potential study buddies.
  • Look for irony, humor, and the unexpected in your studies. Stimulate your own and others’ thinking by discussing the relevance of each discovery.
  • Make notes about how your study habits vary depending on the situation. Ask yourself these questions: Do I need the pressure of a test or deadline to force me to study? When am I most likely to ignore intriguing distractions? Least likely?
  • Designate places to which you can retreat when you need to give your full attention to your studies. Choose venues where the potential for interruptions and extraneous noise is significantly reduced.

Relationships

  • Surround yourself with individuals who, like you, pause to take in the world’s loveliness as it appears. Identify people who automatically put aside what they are doing to watch a sunset, listen to rustling leaves, or enjoy the arts.
  • Help classmates, coworkers, and friends overcome difficulties that stymie their progress. Capitalize on your ability to take things as they are rather than rail against life’s surprises.
  • Encourage some people to turn to you when plans must be modified or altogether scrapped. List the people who realize you are approachable and responsive.
  • Invite one or two highly organized and time-conscious people to become your study buddies. Discuss ahead of time how they can help you be more efficient. Explain how you can infuse fun into their studies.

Class Selection

  • Follow your interests when choosing classes. Keep your options for a major open until you have explored several disciplines. Partner with an advisor who can help you accelerate your decision-making process to avoid additional tuition costs.
  • Register for more classes than you intend to take. After the first week of class, drop elective courses you find uninteresting.
  • Transfer out of classes taught by instructors whose teaching style bores you. Transfer into the classes of professors who stimulate students’ thinking.
  • Take advantage of the drop-add period. Note the date by which you must complete this process without risking a failing grade or loss of money.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join organizations that sponsor events that demand flexibility in terms of planning as well as execution. Capitalize on your ability to monitor and adjust.
  • Convince teammates of the importance of not fighting change. Outline the benefits of letting go of the original plan in order to try a new process.
  • Recall two or three instances where you successfully redirected the emotional energy of people paralyzed by unexpected news or sudden changes in the group’s plans.
  • Consider participating in extemporaneous speech tournaments or improvisational theater. Play to your ability to capitalize on each moment.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Analytical

General Academic Life

  • Examine data, collect facts, and read material for discussions. Anticipate problems. Ask questions to discover others’ perspectives on issues. Clarify your own position.
  • Reduce situations, problems, opportunities, projects, assignments, and debates to their key components. Stay two to three steps ahead of everyone else’s thinking by pinpointing cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Deduce the consequences of someone’s decisions, inaction, and pronouncements. Use logic to trace the effects of scientific breakthroughs, ethical lapses, and legal judgments.
  • Prove to your classmates that there is an equal and opposite reaction to every action.
  • Read assignments before class. Find information to support or discount the position taken by the author of the textbook.
  • Reinforce your understanding of the subject matter by reorganizing and expanding your classroom notes. Insert subtopics and sub-points.

Study Techniques

  • Notice the subtle nuances of a subject. Question the authors’ conclusions. Flag topics for scrutiny. Refuse to accept blindly whatever appears on the printed page.
  • Assess why you do quite well in one course but not as well in others. Evaluate your study habits, note taking, listening, capacity for asking questions, and reading comprehension.
  • Draw “mind maps” to illustrate the placement of each element of a theory or aspect of a concept as well as a story plot. Investigate until you logically link facts or numerical data with results.
  • Record questions as you read. Ask: “What is missing here?” “What questions should the author have answered?” “What biases are evident and not so evident?”
  • Make sense of discussions. Write what you heard and said. Identify comments, conclusions, and arguments that lack supporting facts or data.

Relationships

  • Break down situations. How is the same set of facts likely to be interpreted by someone older than you? Younger than you? From a different cultural, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, or racial background?
  • Identify your biases before taking sides on an issue. Evaluate your own thinking before challenging others’ biases.
  • Incorporate into your study group individuals who thoughtfully assess the value of information, details, research findings, evidence, people’s comments, and events.
  • Refrain from saying what is on your mind until you have figured out everything. Realize that this reduces the tension between yourself and others.

Class Selection

  • Select professors with reputations for presenting lessons in a logical, sequential manner. Avoid instructors who present a confusing jumble of unrelated ideas, facts, theories, illustrations, or philosophies.
  • Select courses that will use your talent for critical thinking. Be open to the sciences and mathematics as well as literature, history, and the arts.
  • Consider the soundness, validity, and reliability of information presented in your textbooks and by your professors.
  • Dismiss erroneous statements, flawed theories, and illogical conclusions, as well as prejudiced opinions. Risk being the solitary voice of reason.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Gravitate to organizations known for their commitment to the use of logic and reason.
  • Volunteer to serve on campus committees charged with proposing recommendations to key decision-making bodies such as the student senate, the school board, and the state legislature.
  • Join the debate team. Delve deeply into the chosen topic. Fully research both sides of the issue. Prepare logical arguments from both perspectives. Continue to build both cases to clearly define strong positions.
  • Accompany an athletic coach to scouting and practice sessions for a week. Identify three to five ways you can combine your love for a particular sport with your analytical abilities. Consider plays the team could run, or the types of physical talents required for the various positions.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Arranger

General Academic Life

  • Note all assignments, tests, and appointments on a calendar. Use your planner to coordinate your personal and academic activities.
  • Read all directions prior to taking tests. Allot appropriate time to each section of the examination.
  • Be prepared to stop working on a current project and begin a new one in case the situation changes.
  • Keep all notes related to a topic on one page. Make them easily accessible for studying, test taking, and research papers.

Study Techniques

  • Prioritize your studies. Identify the most important tasks based on deadlines, percentage of final grade, and difficulty. Balance your workload.
  • Underline, highlight, and take notes in margins of books. Summarize main ideas.
  • Pick locations where you can study. Figure out why certain environments are better for particular subjects.
  • Schedule study breaks to clear your mind. Check on other projects, or make phone calls.
  • Break each study session into distinct modules. Plan time to read, write, work on projects, eat, sleep, exercise, and socialize.

Relationships

  • Recognize that you can change your personal agenda to meet others’ demands. Ponder how you adjust your living and working environment to help others reach their goals.
  • Assemble people to work on major class projects and prepare for exams. Name the ways you help your study buddies distribute and redistribute learning tasks.
  • Create opportunities for group members to teach each other.
  • Plan activities to mark the end of projects and success on exams.

Class Selection

  • Help your instructor plan class projects. Volunteer to assemble needed supplies. Distribute materials to students and collect them at the end of class.
  • Figure out ways for your classmates to manage their workloads so that they complete projects on or before the due date.
  • Suggest independent study options to your advisors and professors. Design your own curriculum.
  • Examine the course catalogs from other schools in the vicinity. Substitute some of these courses for ones on your degree or certification plan.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Orchestrate your study time so that extracurricular activities can fit into your schedule.
  • Get involved and stay busy. Mix non-academic projects, appointments, meetings, and tasks into your day or week.
  • Coordinate routine activities, special events, trips, parties, and projects for your teammates.
  • Mix and match the talents, knowledge, skills, and experience of your classmates to launch a project, move toward a goal, or produce desired outcomes.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Belief

General Academic Life

  • Write an academic mission statement for yourself. Integrate your core values, such as a leaving the world better than you found it, curing AIDS, ending violence, or affirming the dignity of each human being.
  • Discover ways to weave your core values into routine classroom assignments. Write and speak about topics directly related to your beliefs.
  • Read about individuals who stood up for their convictions in the face of resistance. Determine who inspired these people to dedicate their lives to great and noble causes.
  • Debate an issue like: “Money is the true source of happiness.” Argue for and against this proposition. Ask yourself, “How was my position strengthened when I could incorporate my beliefs into the argument? How was my position weakened when I had to defend the opposing point of view?”

Study Techniques

  • List your top three to five beliefs on a piece of paper you can use as a bookmark. Filter whatever you are reading and hearing through the lenses of these core values.
  • Assess whether you are allocating enough time to classes, projects, and assignments that add meaning to your life.
  • Suggest alternative topics for reading and research to your professors. Match your preferred assignments to one or more of your core values.
  • Form a study group of individuals with whom you share one or more important belief. Ask each member to describe how these core values contribute to his or her success as a student.

Relationships

  • Tell your classmates and professors about the ideas, causes, and projects you are most passionate about.
  • Encourage others to tell you when your intensity inspires them and when it overwhelms them. Maintain an ongoing dialogue to ensure that they understand you.
  • State what you believe is right and wrong. Help others grasp what you value and why you value it.
  • Notice instances when you willingly inconvenienced yourself to come to the aid of a specific person or group. Ask, “Which of my core values drove this behavior?”

Class Selection

  • Enroll in ethics classes. Learn to evaluate the rightness of decisions in fields such as science, medicine, business, government, religion, and environmental protection.
  • Risk advocating your beliefs in class discussions as well as conversations with classmates and instructors.
  • Choose courses taught by professors known for their strong beliefs, even when their values clash with yours. Realize that considering the values of others can help you refine your own.
  • Select classes that challenge you to clarify, reinforce, defend, and live out the guiding principles of your life.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Figure out ways to spend quality time with your family. Make a point of going home or calling to show you are thinking of them on birthdays and special holidays.
  • Consider running for a campus office. Build your campaign platform on values-oriented issues that matter greatly to you. Inform potential voters about what you stand for and why.
  • Practice speaking a foreign language by helping a refugee family adapt to their new country and its customs.
  • Serve meals at a local homeless shelter. Deliver Meals on Wheels®. Take time to visit with each shut-in.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Command

General Academic Life

  • Ask probing and pointed questions during discussions and lectures by professors. Realize that your questioning mind accelerates your learning.
  • Take charge of your college education. Play the lead role in shaping your degree or certification plan. Refuse to leave these decisions to an advisor.
  • Challenge facts presented in textbooks, the media, and class presentations. Critique your instructors and classmates. Search for the truth.
  • When a particularly interesting class discussion is ended due to time constraints, express to your professor your wish that he or she would continue the discussion in an office visit.

Study Techniques

  • Join study groups known for debating ideas, theories, and problems.
  • Use your Command talents to clarify rather than intimidate. Understand that some clear-thinking individuals may become flustered under pressure.
  • Give your instructors feedback about what you most enjoy and benefit from in their classes.
  • Develop hypotheses and thesis statements that you must defend in writing or oral presentations. Recognize that you are more engaged when you must build a case to support your ideas.
  • Play devil’s advocate — that is, argue the opposing view — for fun and benefit when the opportunity arises. Warn people that you like to draw others into debates.

Relationships

  • Assume the leadership role in groups, especially when you have knowledge, skills, expertise, and experience others lack.
  • Notice which classmates rely on you to ask the professor questions. Provide this service for those who are intimidated by the instructor’s knowledge or demeanor.
  • Study your mannerisms, vocal tone, and content of your messages when talking with authority figures. Pinpoint how you present yourself as a person worthy of their time and undivided attention.
  • Explore ways that you can serve others by giving orders and making demands. Identify individuals who are comfortable and content following your lead.

Class Selection

  • Select classes that require you to plan your own curriculum. Acknowledge your desire to make your own academic decisions.
  • Take classes in which you are expected to voice your opinions, argue, draw conclusions, take sides, and make recommendations.
  • Choose classes taught by instructors who take a position and demand that students challenge it.
  • Enroll in courses with professors who are secure enough to welcome your combative learning style.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Gravitate to organizations in which you can envision yourself being a key decision maker.
  • Realize that you threaten some people with your forceful style.
  • Opt to participate in activities where you must persuade people to embrace your ideas, plans, solutions, or philosophies.
  • Join groups in which you are expected to sell products and services, solicit donations, and raise money.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Communication

General Academic Life

  • Participate in class discussions. Enhance your own and others’ comprehension by talking through the key points.
  • Respond to questions with thought-provoking answers.
  • Illustrate scholarly concepts with real-life examples. Help others learn in the process.
  • Capture your audience’s interest by telling stories to amplify an idea, concept, theory, scientific law, philosophical point, ethical quandary, or historic event.

Study Techniques

  • Converse about the subject matter until you fully understand it.
  • Tell others about your solutions, theories, concepts, and ideas before presenting them in class. Acknowledge that this is how you refine your thinking.
  • Notice how your classmates rely on you to engage the professor in dialogue. Realize that you are quite comfortable doing this.
  • Entertain your study group with anecdotes that make history, mathematics, science, languages, or the arts come alive in their minds.

Relationships

  • Take the pressure off quiet, timid individuals by doing most of the talking.
  • Cheer up people with accounts of your own and others’ humorous escapades.
  • Plan at least four meetings each term with professors who are good listeners. Take advantage of the fact that they expect you to do most of the talking.
  • Express your philosophical views, goals, pet peeves, and opinions so others can learn about you as a person.

Class Selection

  • Take classes from professors who encourage students to interrupt lectures to share stories or offer examples that amplify a concept.
  • Select classes in which you will be graded for participation in class discussions.
  • Register for courses that require you to make presentations.
  • Enroll in theatre arts, speech, and communications classes.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Affiliate with a speakers’ bureau in which the members address campus and community groups.
  • Try out for the speech team. Concentrate on dramatic interpretation to hone your storytelling skills.
  • Audition for plays even if you are not a theatre major.
  • Campaign for elected office, or be a candidate’s spokesperson.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Competition

General Academic Life

  • Regard grades as your scorecard. Invest more effort in classes where the results of tests, papers, and projects are posted for all to see.
  • Monitor your grade-point average by the week, month, or academic term. Compare your class ranking to that of your closest rivals. Realize that striving for the highest GPA leads you to excel.
  • Clarify how professors weight class participation, final exams, presentations, laboratory experiments, and research projects. Continuously monitor your grades and class standing.
  • Study your opponents — that is, your classmates. Identify each one’s strengths. Evaluate their study strategies. Continually compare your results to theirs.

Study Techniques

  • Seek out highly competitive people and study with them. Know that you will push each other to learn more, faster. Figure out how to manage the inevitable undercurrent of tension that will exist.
  • Pit yourself against a fellow student to increase your chances of being the first person to finish the paper, test, or project.
  • Establish measurable and meaningful academic goals. Use these to force yourself to reach the highest levels of productivity, mastery, or quality.
  • Identify the best students in your classes or major area of study. Investigate what they routinely do to be number one.
  • Quiz your professors about their criteria for earning the highest grades in their classes. Explain that you aim to understand the material better than anyone else in the class.

Relationships

  • Intentionally surround yourself with competitive people.
  • Aim to know something special about every person in the class by the end of the first month. Use these insights to your advantage when you vie against them.
  • Help classmates understand that you are hardwired to have the last word in casual conversation, classroom discussion, or formal debate.

Class Selection

  • Apply at universities and departments within universities where admission standards are highly competitive. Make sure that objective, meaningful, and measurable criteria are used to deter-mine who is selected.
  • Take advanced-level classes to enhance the odds of winning important academic scholarships, grants, internships, and fellowships.
  • Select instructors who encourage rivalry between students.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Try out for the debate or speech team. Audition for a play, first chair in a section of the orchestra, or a featured dancing role.
  • Play competitive sports. Risk being a walk-on to win a spot on an athletic team.
  • Check your department’s bulletin boards for opportunities to enter contests. Gravitate to contests sponsored by student and professional organizations in your major area of study.
  • Run for leadership positions such as student senate, class president, club officer, or sorority/fraternity chairs. Campaign to win.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Connectedness

General Academic Life

  • Ask yourself, “What life lessons am I supposed to learn today through my studies and the challenges they present? What is at work here that is much more important than passing a test or getting a good grade?”
  • Search for linkages between your coursework and what you’re being called to contribute to the entire human family today and in the future.
  • Examine how your life is inextricably tied to those of people in other parts of the world and from the past. Name as many of these connections as you possibly can.
  • Find ways to build bridges of understanding between classmates as well as between students and their professors. Realize that you’re motivated to show people how world events and close-to-home circumstances bind each individual to all humankind.
  • Start each day by reading an inspirational verse or a piece of scripture from your faith. Sit in silence with these words for 10-15 minutes. Open yourself to surprising discoveries about how to best approach your studies and other people.
  • Keep a journal. Let your ideas and feelings flow freely. Write without editing. Find purpose and meaning in your personal and academic life.

Study Techniques

  • Pray for guidance before you begin studying. Ask that your mind be freed of worries and distractions. Implore yourself that you can truly trust that all will be well.
  • Concentrate on your breathing before starting a test, making a presentation, or working on a project. Spiritually unite yourself with students around the world who are facing similar challenges at this very moment.
  • Silence competing scholarly demands of your life by practicing daily meditation. Master the art of letting go. Embrace the art of living in the present moment.
  • Be mindful of the abundance of good things. Realize that more than one student can earn a good grade or receive the professor’s approval.
  • Energize your body, heighten your awareness, and soothe your soul with inspiring background music. Create a calm environment in which to study, work on projects, solve problems, re­search, write, and prepare for exams.

Relationships

  • Converse with individuals who realize that life is a complex web of interdependence among all human beings, living things, events, and inanimate objects.
  • Share with curious observers how and why you can remain calm in the midst of uncertainty, losses, successes, defeats, progress, and setbacks.
  • Help others understand that you view all life as a continuous, ever-widening circle without beginning or end. Explain how every thought, word, and deed impacts people far and near.
  • Bring ideas, projects, and relationships full circle. Tie together loose ends. Describe how your experiences and studies benefit individuals and all humankind.

Class Selection

  • Enroll in comparative religion studies. Better understand today’s news events by comparing and contrasting the beliefs of the world’s great religions.
  • Find colleges that offer courses in the study of dreams. Look for listings in the departments of psychology, religious studies, and theology.
  • Select history classes in which you can research events through the lens of conflicting religious doctrines and principles held as truth by some groups.
  • Register for theology, philosophy, and ethics classes to broaden your thinking. Integrate what you learn into other coursework.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Consider meeting with a spiritual advisor every four to six weeks. Describe instances of being keenly aware of the “invisible hand” of a life force, higher power, or God acting in your life. Be attentive to patterns and recurring questions.
  • Get involved in campus groups and ministries to nurture your faith tradition or introduce you to new forms of spirituality.
  • Opt for nontraditional school vacations. Volunteer to build a Habitat for Humanity® house, travel to a third-world nation to help in a medical clinic, clean up an inner-city neighborhood, or work with urban families to plant a neighborhood vegetable garden.
  • Mentor at-risk students during the school year. Become a reading tutor for adults. Teach English to immigrant and refugee families. Record books for the blind. Serve as a camp counselor for handicapped or terminally ill children.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Consistency

General Academic Life

  • Seek professors who set the same clear expectations for everyone in the class. Make sure that you know exactly what is required to earn the grades you desire.
  • Learn precisely how class participation, research, laboratory work, presentations, and examinations will be factored into your final grade for the course.
  • Inform others that routines are important to your success. Explain how they lend an air of familiarity to all the coursework in your major area of study.
  • Finalize your entire degree or certification plan as early in your collegiate career as possible. Each term, double-check your plan to ensure you are in compliance with graduation requirements.
  • Express your belief that everyone deserves the same opportunities to earn good grades on tests, projects, research papers, or experiments. Help professors and classmates understand why you become upset when someone is given special treatment.

Study Techniques

  • Anticipate what you need to do to earn the grade you want in each class. Set up and adhere to a study routine. Realize that you excel when your life has a rhythm to it.
  • Make a habit of studying at the same time each day. Designate a specific study area and equip it appropriately. Replenish supplies on a specific day of the week.
  • Establish predictable and uniform patterns for doing different kinds of assignments, such as writing, researching, calculating, and rehearsing speeches.
  • Heighten your awareness of how much time you require to complete each assignment. Honor the ways you study best rather than mimicking those of successful classmates.
  • Balance all the facts when conducting research, making a presentation, or writing a report. Seek to remove biases by being objective.
  • Create study rituals that suit your thinking and learning style. Read ahead. Write down questions to which you want answers. Highlight key ideas, steps, and concepts. Take notes on note cards, in a spiral notebook, or in computer files.

Relationships

  • Understand that your predictability makes you a valuable study buddy. Partner with classmates whose need for routines and processes mirror your own.
  • Inform people about your need for uniformity. Help them understand how they can benefit from consistency.
  • Recruit some classmates and professors with enough patience to help you recognize the need to make changes in procedures, study patterns, and routines.

Class Selection

  • Identify similarities and differences in your professors’ teaching styles. Choose classes taught by instructors whose approach matches your learning style.
  • Avoid taking courses from professors who play favorites, change assignment requirements unexpectedly, and fail to abide by the rules they set at the start of the term.
  • Make a list of courses of study that naturally incorporate routines, processes, and procedures. Consider specific science, mathematics, accounting, music, engineering, and law programs.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join clubs and teams known for their adherence to practice and rehearsal schedules.
  • Help with special events that have a long history of doing things the same way from one year to the next.
  • Assume accountability for monitoring compliance to rules for membership drives, fundraising, and contests.
  • Volunteer to maintain the records of an organization. Ensure that accepted procedures are followed in meetings, and reports are properly submitted.

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Context

General Academic Life

  • Associate with individuals and groups that specialize in the study of specific events, personalities, and periods in history.
  • Create a historical frame of reference for whatever you study. Research political, natural, military, and religious events of that period. Delve into the lives of contemporary leaders, scientists, artists, explorers, and philosophers.
  • Supplement required reading for classes by locating other credible sources of information. Don’t let your thinking be limited to the professor’s syllabus.
  • Understand that you are attracted to institutions of learning with a rich history and a long tradition.
  • Seek opportunities to study with reputable, recognized, and knowledgeable historians who also are master teachers.
  • Attend lecture series in which leading figures of your time speak about their experiences in global leadership, diplomacy, military affairs, business, science, or the arts. Prepare questions to pose during the Q&A sessions or book signings.

Study Techniques

  • Hypothesize your own theories for specific historic events. Rely on public records, surveys, correspondence, and legislation to develop a study brief.
  • Consider your own history of test taking. Identify your best performances. Spot patterns. Prepare for today’s examinations by replicating study techniques that have worked for you in the past.
  • Overcome obstacles placed in your path by a professor by conferring with former students of this individual. Ask questions to learn from the experiences of individuals who excelled.
  • Complement your reading and research assignments with additional sources of information, such as recorded speeches, transcripts of court proceedings, or vintage interviews with key figures and their contemporaries.
  • Record interviews with individuals who lived through significant periods of history, such as the Great Depression, wars, terrorist attacks, political scandals, and boom times.
  • Find photographs, paintings, drawings, blueprints, news film, videos, costumes, recipes, historical reproductions, almanacs, and costumes to bring a historic epoch to life.

Relationships

  • Help people understand that knowing about their past experiences — personal and academic — will help you feel comfortable working with them on projects and in study groups.
  • Decipher your methods for building a historical basis for your relationships with specific family members, friends, teammates, classmates, instructors, and coworkers.
  • Ask professors about themselves on the first day of class. Inquire into their influences as children and their academic backgrounds. Read their master’s theses, doctoral dissertations, books, articles, lectures, and speeches.
  • Attend class reunions. Reminisce about your school days with former classmates, faculty, and administrators. Pose questions to discover what individuals have done with their lives since graduation.

Class Selection

  • Choose classes taught by professors who examine cause-and-effect relationships between the actions of historic figures and the consequences they produce. Avoid history courses that require nothing beyond rote memorization of facts, names, and dates.
  • Enroll in classes that allow students to study original documents and artifacts. Review the syllabus for information about field trips to museums, battlefields, archives, and theatrical productions based on historic events.
  • Register for courses such as comparative religion, geography, economics, science, philosophy, and the arts to better understand the root causes of today’s wars, alliances, financial policies, treaties, and trade agreements.
  • Opt for classes in which you can write papers, make presentations, re-create past events, or impersonate historic figures to fulfill course requirements.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join a genealogy society or club. Trace own or someone else’s family tree.
  • Serve as the historian of your fraternity, sorority, honor society, or campus organizations.
  • Collect and archive memorabilia from events throughout the years. Volunteer to work with the campus historian to gain hands-on experience.
  • Form a book club whose members read and then discuss autobiographies, biographies, history books, or even historic fiction.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Deliberative

General Academic Life

  • Attend all lectures and class sessions — make sure you don’t miss anything. Be thorough in your preparation for a class by reading ahead and reviewing class notes to avoid being caught off guard.
  • Before visiting a professor during office hours, prepare thoroughly by making a list of items and questions you wish to discuss.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your counselors to be well aware of your options and to make sure you are on track.
  • When you receive a class syllabus, highlight the due dates of readings, assignments, papers, and tests. You may feel more comfortable knowing everything that will be required of you.
  • Always be well prepared for class. You will feel more comfortable and confident talking in class when you are sure of the validity of what you have to say and the completeness of your thoughts.
  • When taking a test, go through the questions slowly, concentrating on the ones you are most sure of first. Address the others later so that you have time to complete the exam.

Study Techniques

  • Know your reading pace, and set aside plenty of time to finish reading assignments. Take notes on what you read, and study your notes for exams.
  • Work extra problems just to be sure you understand the material.
  • If you work best alone, study on your own before engaging in group discussions. This will allow you to reinforce what you have learned with the group, without needing to rely on the group.
  • Form questions as you study, and make sure you have answers to them before taking an exam.

Relationships

  • Choose friends who have academic goals similar to yours, so you reinforce one another in your serious pursuit of studying.
  • Make frequent visits during office hours to develop relationships with one or two professors or teaching assistants whose advice you feel you can trust.
  • When forming study groups, be selective about whom you study with. Choose responsible, serious people like yourself who will be well prepared and focus on the task at hand.

Class Selection

  • Before choosing a class, look at the class syllabus, check the number of books, and learn more about the professor. Don’t be caught off guard on the first day of class.
  • Double check with your advisor to ensure that a class meets the requirements that you need.
  • You are most comfortable in classes where you are well aware of expectations, where the discussions are serious, and where the time is used well. Before you enroll in a class, get the opinions of peers who have already taken the class.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Look carefully at the many organizations or clubs that you might join to pinpoint those that pique your interest. Attend a couple of meetings to narrow down to one or two that seem to fit you best.
  • Rely on your own judgment to know the types of activities that will be most enjoyable to you. Purely social activities without further purpose will most likely feel like a waste of time to you.
  • Look for job opportunities and internships in which you will be recognized for your seriousness and your ability to raise ques­tions about decisions that are made.

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Developer

General Academic Life

  • During lectures, take down facts that are new, enlightening, interesting, or humorous. Share your observations with others from the class.
  • Reflect back to what you have learned from a certain professor and how that has impacted you in your life.
  • Motivate yourself by tutoring or helping someone else in the class to understand concepts you have gained from the lecture, the reading, and the discussion.
  • Keep an ongoing list of your key learning experiences. Track your own progress and growth.

Study Techniques

  • Explain to a friend, fellow student, teaching assistant, or professor what you have learned from a book, lecture, or other source.
  • Form study groups in which you can teach others as well as learn from them.
  • Identify a few classmates on whom you can rely to be your study partners.
  • Pretend that you are going to explain to others what you are trying to learn. This will help you retain more information and improve your comprehension.
  • Try studying by yourself first, to understand the information, then help others if they need it. One of the best ways to reinforce your learning is to teach others.

Relationships

  • Always have one or more mentors, and let them know what they add to your life. Consult them regularly.
  • Help your friends choose developmental experiences.
  • Coach friends who have a specific goal or focus in mind (such as running a marathon or losing weight). Encourage them in their progress.

Class Selection

  • Enroll in classes with group projects, specifically those that include community service opportunities.
  • Join tutoring and discussion groups in which you can learn from others by discussing and explaining concepts.
  • Choose a major that highlights your ability to develop the talents of others, such as education or psychology.
  • Choose classes with a field-studies component that involves working with people. This will provide an opportunity to see tangible growth experiences of others and observe how what you learn can be used.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Become a tutor or a mentor. Find a role in which you can strengthen your own academic abilities while you help others improve.
  • Start a club or community service project in which you can help other achieve.
  • Use your ability and passion to help others by joining organizations that will allow you to exercise your talents in helping others succeed. This will allow you to feel good about what you do and learn from your experiences. For example, consider becoming a mentor or peer counselor, or join community service organizations.
  • Consider becoming a counselor in a dorm, where you can provide an environment that facilitates the growth of other students.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Discipline

General Academic Life

  • Schedule all assignments, exams, and papers due for the term.
  • Clean and organize your living space before any major assignments are due or before an examination period.
  • If you are in a self-paced class or a class with minimal structure, develop your own structure to ensure that you meet the class requirements.
  • Don’t be afraid to color-code tasks on your calendar and your textbooks or notes. This will help you focus and prioritize what you are learning and doing.

Study Techniques

  • Before starting papers, talk to instructors to find out what they expect and how they will grade the papers.
  • When you come across an unfamiliar word, finish the sentence, look the word up, then reread the sentence.
  • When preparing for a test, get organized. Collect all notes, have terms defined and facts highlighted and/or listed, and have possible questions available.
  • When you are working on a paper, it may be best to make an outline, breaking the topic down into parts that you can work on individually.
  • Use your discipline to stay ahead in reading assignments. Go over your lecture notes within 12 hours of taking them.
  • Make a list of all academic tasks that you need to complete for the day. Check items off as you complete them.

Relationships

  • Find some friends who are as organized as you are. You will not disappoint each other.
  • Be the organizer for your friends, giving them friendly calls to remind them of when and where you are meeting for dinner, a movie, or other get-togethers.
  • Delight in a partnership of planning a trip or fun event with a friend. Write down each detail so that the event will meet expectations for both of you.

Class Selection

  • When choosing classes, arrange them in a way that allows studying during the times that you are more productive. Be realistic.
  • Give top priority to classes that you must take for graduation requirements for your major.
  • Choose professors who structure their courses and have clear expectations.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Volunteer to be a timekeeper for an event. Your accuracy will be appreciated.
  • Join a group in which you can use your organizational talents to help plan some major events, breaking down tasks to ensure that deadlines will be met.
  • Organize a monthly or quarterly “clean up” on your living floor, in which people clear away excess papers, files, clothing, etc. Play some music, and arrange to have food brought in to make the task more appealing and fun for others.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Empathy

General Academic Life

  • When studying a particular author, seek personal experiences and writings that help you identify with his or her thoughts and emotions.
  • Whenever possible, write papers about people. This activity will engage your natural ability to pinpoint individual perspectives.
  • Keep a journal in which you reflect on what you learned from other people and their passions, fears, joys, and other emotions.
  • You will sense when friends are academically frustrated in courses you are taking. Let them know that you realize what they are feeling, and continue to encourage and support them.

Study Techniques

  • As soon as you have an idea, write it down, including your feelings about it.
  • When you read, identify how you can relate the emotions of the characters to your own or those of people you know. This will make the material come alive for you and help you remember the meterial better.
  • Ask yourself what the professor wants you to understand about the material, then try to master those aspects.
  • When you’re in a study group, be aware of the emotions of the other members. Help bring those feeling into the open so that others in the group can be aware of the feelings of others and you can keep your focus on the task ahead of you.

Relationships

  • Discuss issues that are on your mind with your friends. You are usually there for them. Allow them, likewise, to be there for you. Share your feelings with them, because they may not be able to identify feelings as easily as you do.
  • Use your Empathy talents when conflicts arise at work and other group settings.
  • Be careful not to let those you support overwhelm you. Just as it is important you be there for your friends and family whenever they need you, it is crucial that you keep your academic goals a priority.

Class Selection

  • Think about a major such as education or psychology, which could provide frequent opportunities to use your empathy in your future career.
  • Choose professors who are known for their empathy as well as for their academic expertise.
  • Classes that involve reading novels will provide you with an avenue to immerse yourself in the emotions of the characters and to learn from their approaches to situations.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Become involved in activities, clubs, or organizations that will help you feel like you’re making a difference with individuals through your empathy.
  • Consider working with children to help them to better understand their own feelings and sort through their emotions.
  • Position yourself as a confidante for one or two people. Many students feel overwhelmed at school; you’ll understand and help them get through the difficulties they’re facing.
  • Because you’re nonjudgmental and understand the feelings of individuals, you’ll be a welcome addition to most groups.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Focus

General Academic Life

  • Use your focus to link class-related assignments to the knowledge and self-management skills you’ll need to be successful in your future career.
  • Use your focus to help groups stay on track in classroom discussions or meetings.
  • If you feel an assignment has no practical value to you, develop one that better fits your goals, and request permission from your professor to use it. Explain the potential benefits.
  • When working with others in a small group, help them see how the pieces of a project fit together to accomplish the overall objective.

Study Techniques

  • Before studying, list everything you’ll attempt to learn during that time period.
  • Before writing a paper, outline the main points you plan to address.
  • Although you can concentrate for long periods of time, regulate yourself to avoid working to exhaustion.
  • Schedule your work in a way that allows you to focus your full attention on one assignment or project at a time.

Relationships

  • Talk to two or three experienced people you admire. Determine some specific strengths they possess, and ask them about their greatest talents and the knowledge and skills they acquired through the years to create these strengths.
  • Choose to associate with successful people. Ask what they focused on to become successful.
  • Identify an alumnus who’s in a career that interests you, and spend time with that person to determine how he or she benefited from the college experience.

Class Selection

  • Select classes that will help you fulfill your long-term goals.
  • Select classes that have defined direction and objectives.
  • Choose professors who are known for staying on track.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Look for an internship in an area related to your career goals.
  • Select class-related and extra-curricular activities related to your career goals.
  • To build on your Focus talents and not “spread yourself too thin,” be selective in the range of activities you are involved in.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Futuristic

General Academic Life

  • Take risks to gain new insights, even if they are out of your comfort zone. Set academic goals to project yourself into a successful future.
  • Challenge professors with your “What if?” thinking. Encourage them to project beyond to what “might be” in 10, 15, or 20 years.
  • Know what is expected in each of your classes so you will be able to plan your college years. Visit your academic counselor regularly to keep stretching your thoughts.
  • Associate with others who enjoy philosophizing about the future.

Study Techniques

  • Try to truly understand what you’re studying; don’t just memorize. Always relate what you’re studying to where you see yourself in the future.
  • Write a description of your desired future, and post it where you will notice it frequently. Look at it often, and connect what you are learning to where you want to go.
  • Take exams seriously and prepare thoroughly. Treat them as steps toward your future.
  • Join a group in which you can lead others to create new visions of the future.

Relationships

  • Talk about your goals and dreams with your friends, family, and professors. Their awareness of your objective will be a motivator.
  • Surround yourself with people who will be instrumental in attaining your aspirations. Form strong relationships that can last a long time.
  • Encourage younger people who are interested in the same things you enjoy.
  • Don’t let other people’s negative comments about your dreams dissuade you from reaching toward them.

Class Selection

  • Choose classes that will apply to your career goals.
  • Pinpoint professors who are futuristic in their thinking, not those who merely maintain the status quo.
  • Risk taking a class that will push you to the edge in your thinking.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join a committee that has a forward-thinking leader who can stretch you beyond day-to-day events.
  • Look for internships that will challenge your thinking and help you reach beyond your current level.
  • Keep others in your committee or group focused on what can be, frequently sharing the vision that you see.
  • Join a group that believes that it can have a positive effect on the future.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Harmony

General Academic Life

  • Seek opinions and ideas from experts. Their insights will help you formulate your own beliefs and philosophy.
  • You perform best in an environment where people listen to one another and seek to understand each other, rather than force their ideas on one another.
  • You add a calmness or agreeableness to any group.
  • If the professor frequently changes assignments and due dates in the middle of the term, seek reasons for the changes and share them with classmates, rather than joining the dissension of others.

Study Techniques

  • Bounce ideas off others whose thinking you respect. They may be able to help you clarify your own ideas.
  • Read with an open mind. Give the author a chance to explain himself or herself. Find agreement between the author’s ideas and your own, and expand from there.
  • When you are reading something controversial, try to find something you can agree with. Begin your study and analysis there.
  • When studying in a group, help others see where their viewpoints are congruent.

Relationships

  • Pick out an expert in each important area of your life and consult with them every eight to ten weeks.
  • Fill a mediator role with your friends.
  • Choose friends who carefully listen to one another and who are truly at ease together.

Class Selection

  • You will achieve, learn a lot, and enjoy classes in which you learn practical skills and obtain practical knowledge.
  • Choose classes in which there will be a minimum of controversy.
  • Avoid confrontational, aggressive professors. They might make you so uncomfortable that learning in their classes will be difficult for you.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join a multicultural group, and seek the commonalities within it. You might enjoy helping the members get to know and appreciate one another.
  • Volunteer at a senior citizens’ home, and help them enjoy some activities together.
  • Find a group of people who seem to truly have fun together, who have a lot in common, and who work to make one another happy and support one another. They could become your best friends.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Ideation

General Academic Life

  • Take on leadership positions in projects that will allow you to share several ideas and use your creativity.
  • Take on an independent research project in which you can generate and explore numerous ideas.
  • Work with a professor in developing a research project, and contribute your creative abilities. You probably will have many ideas to offer.
  • Your mind may wander. You can use this to your advantage by letting your thoughts flow freely in class, as long as you think about the subject you are studying.

Study Techniques

  • As you read an idea, use it as a stimulus for your own further thought and creativity.
  • As you study, think of different concepts, and invent new ways to present the materials in writing or in graphics. This will invigorate your mind as well as the minds of others.
  • Allow yourself ample time for thinking. If you rush through a reading assignment, you are less likely to be engaged with it.
  • Brainstorm with your friends about topics you are studying. Let your mind “go wild,” knowing that you can sort through the ideas later.

Relationships

  • Surround yourself with friends who are responsive to listening as well as probing you about your ideas.
  • Choose a mentor who has the courage to support you in your ideas and who will also challenge you to explore them even further.
  • You love to generate ideas. Find a partner who would enjoy helping implement your ideas.

Class Selection

  • Choose classes that involve creative projects rather than simple exams and term papers.
  • Some classes might not seem to encourage creative expression because of their subject matter. Recognize that you can use your Ideation talents to create new and stimulating ways to learn.
  • Select classes taught by professors who enjoy diversity of ideas.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join a group that values and stimulates creative ideas.
  • Involve yourself in a project that allows you to use your creative talents, such as general writing, news magazines, newspapers, journals, graphics, or painting.
  • Help revive a struggling group. You will have several ideas to restore life into the group. Also consider starting a totally new group and generating several ideas about projects in which it might become engaged.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Includer

General Academic Life

  • In small groups in class, try to get each student to participate. Ask him or her for opinions.
  • Ask shy people to walk to class with you.
  • Research people of different cultures in your community. Invite some of these people to attend a community or university event with you.
  • Attend lectures or speeches by guest speakers of different nationalities. Introduce yourself to others attending the session, drawing them into a conversation with you.

Study Techniques

  • Study with other people. If someone in the group is not talking, try to bring him or her into the conversation.
  • Invite someone who is shy but intelligent to study with you.
  • Start a small study group of people who seem more hesitant to talk, and include a couple of more verbal people as well.
  • Search out books on the culture of a prominent ethnic group in your community. Use your new information to help include some people of this culture in activities in which you participate.

Relationships

  • Expand your relationships to have a diverse group of friends with whom you participate in activities.
  • You can adjust to many types of people and help them feel welcome. Invite others to your social activities.
  • Welcome new students to your dorm or living space. Many people assume that others will just make themselves at home. You help them feel a part of the group.

Class Selection

  • Sign up for classes in which you will learn more about the uniqueness of particular groups of people. Use this information to help them feel included.
  • Select classes in which the professor tries to involve each student.
  • Select classes that promote diversity.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Your ability to help others feel like part of the group will make you a valuable member of student organizations and service groups.
  • Help tutor those who do not have the social or economic privileges you have. Develop or participate in programs that promote diversity.
  • Volunteer to help with a cause such as Special Olympics.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Individualization

General Academic Life

  • Build on your curiosity about people by observing the different ways in which people learn and process information.
  • Read, read, read about people. Their uniqueness fascinates you.
  • Constantly observe those around you, seeing how your talents make you similar to each other, yet different.
  • Study various cultures. Their uniqueness will intrigue you.

Study Techniques

  • Establish a study group with people who possess a wide variety of talents and perspectives, thereby expanding your own horizons and viewpoints.
  • As you read a novel, take notes about how the author vividly sets up the uniqueness of each character.
  • Note how your style of learning, studying, writing papers, and taking tests compares to others. You will learn about some of the natural differences between people.
  • As you read about well-known people, make a chart listing specific differences among them. This will hone your observation talents.

Relationships

  • See the great talents in people, and encourage people to follow their own dreams. Help them understand and maximize the power of their talents.
  • Help your friends and classmates see and appreciate the uniqueness in each other.
  • Create small support systems, using your Individualization talents to determine who might benefit from another’s insights.

Class Selection

  • Enroll in classes about people, such as literature, sociology, and psychology.
  • Choose classes that promote discussion, bringing out varying beliefs from students.
  • Choose professors who allow students to make choices regarding their own learning.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Be a mentor. You will pinpoint people’s unique qualities and encourage them to follow their own paths.
  • Seek peer-counseling opportunities that make use of your ability to know each person as an individual.
  • Keep a journal that includes specific observations about individual people. Write some feature articles about people on campus for the school newspaper.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Input

General Academic Life

  • Save all notes and books from previous classes to create a personal library.
  • Schedule time for seeking information that goes beyond what is required for your classes. The library and the Internet will be valuable in your search.
  • You enjoy gathering information, possible even from reading a dictionary or encyclopedia.
  • Start a filing system for interesting and potentially useful articles you have read.

Study Techniques

  • Give yourself research deadlines within your overall timelines for completing papers. Without them, you might continue to read and read, never feeling like you have enough information.
  • To continue making progress and stay on track while doing required work, put sticky notes on areas you wish to go back and look at.
  • Prioritize the most critical information to study. Otherwise, you might become distracted by other information that fascinates you but is not as relevant.

Relationships

  • Share your information with friends. Determine who would be interested in each bit of information, rather than giving all information to everyone.
  • Seek out professors who would be interested in knowing what you are learning and will find it stimulating to hear about the questions you are generating through your investigations.
  • Be aware that the more you know, the more likely it is that others will seek you out for information and see you as highly credible.

Class Selection

  • Select classes taught by professors who are well read and who keep up to date on the latest research in their fields.
  • Select classes that help you increase your general knowledge base. That would include classes in which research is valued.
  • Select classes in which class discussion is valued and in which you can share your ideas and the information that you have gleaned.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join groups in which you can use your knowledge, such as community discussion groups, book clubs, and pre-law society mock trial groups.
  • Become involved in extracurricular activities that further your learning, such as science clubs, language clubs, or literary organizations.
  • Study about fascinating places to travel. Gather information, and go!

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Intellection

General Academic Life

  • Ask questions and seek answers in discussions and lectures.
  • Research subjects that interest and intrigue you.
  • Contemplate academic goals and endeavors.
  • Make your education even more effective by following your intellectual curiosity. As you allow yourself to ask the questions that naturally come to you, you will refine your approach to learning and studying.

Study Techniques

  • Take time to think and plan before writing a paper or performing an assignment.
  • Study to understand and learn, not just to memorize.
  • Take part in study groups that allow you to verbalize and further define your thoughts.
  • Practice presenting ideas that matter to you.

Relationships

  • Get to know your professors, and engage them in discussions.
  • Try to meet people who share the same interests, and create intellectual conversations with them.
  • Surround yourself with intellectually stimulating people, and confidently converse with them. You can contribute to their lives as well as they can to yours.

Class Selection

  • Take classes that promote intellectual and analytical thought.
  • Choose professors whose reputations indicate that they demand careful thinking.
  • Study course syllabi to know how much thinking you might have an opportunity to do.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Join clubs that allow you to be part of stimulating conversations.
  • Read and collect books that pique your curiosity.
  • Attend conferences and debates about the subjects in which you are most interested.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Learner

General Academic Life

  • Keep a journal in which you reflect on what you learned from your classes and other experiences.
  • Read outside material that is related to your courses. This approach will not only impress the professor; it also will help you develop a better understanding of the subject.
  • Exceed expectations. Do more than the syllabus requires of you.
  • Look at every situation as a possible learning experience. This approach will help you become aware of what you do well and where you need help.
  • Always ask, “What did I learn from this?”

Study Techniques

  • Join study groups that challenge you.
  • Study in an environment that allows you to get into a “study mood.” This approach allows you to get the most out of your studies.
  • Figure out questions that will be asked, and practice answering them in preparation for discussions and exams.

Relationships

  • Identify classmates who share your thirst for knowledge, and get to know them.
  • Have lots of conversations on subjects you are passionate about with people who are interested in learning.
  • Build relationships with those from whom you want to learn.

Class Selection

  • Choose challenging courses that will broaden your knowledge base in important areas.
  • Enroll in college honors and departmental honors classes.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Choose on-campus jobs that will provide learning experiences, such as working as a professor’s assistant.
  • Don’t restrict your learning experiences to the classroom. Engage in activities in which you can expand your knowledge about subject that interest you most.
  • Find opportunities to work with faculty and teaching assistants to make your college experience more meaningful. It will deepen your understanding of intellectual topics, concepts, and principles.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Maximizer

General Academic Life

  • Consider specialized programs that allow you to refine your talents.
  • Find mentors — and be one.
  • Study success. Find out what made famous scientists, historic figures, and great innovators successful. The greatest outcome of college can be your insights into what makes people, societies, cultures, and groups successful.
  • Select a college or university that offers leadership opportunities in which you can maximize the talents of others.

Study Techniques

  • Read wherever you feel most comfortable — the library, the coffee shop, or home.
  • Discover your best way to learn, and stick to it.
  • Determine ways to manage any weaknesses in your study habits.
  • Study the most of what you do the best.

Relationships

  • Make a point of helping your friends use their greatest talents to the fullest.
  • Help your friends recognize the talents and strengths in others.
  • Associate with people who appreciate your talents as well as their own.
  • Meet regularly with mentors and role models for insight, advice, and inspiration.

Class Selection

  • Pick elective courses that will provide opportunities to develop new strengths and hone your existing strengths.
  • Choose your major on the basis of your greatest talents and your personal mission. In what area of study do you have the greatest potential for strengths?
  • Seek classes taught by professors whose teaching styles best match the way you learn.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Find an internship or a job in which you can apply your greatest talents and your existing strengths.
  • Involve yourself in mentoring or tutoring.
  • Join organizations that have missions related to development.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Positivity

General Academic Life

  • Help make learning fun.
  • Share praise when appropriate.
  • Help classmates laugh and relax when needed.
  • Contribute to exciting class discussions.

Study Techniques

  • Invite study partners who are as upbeat as you.
  • Encourage others to enjoy their assignments.
  • Think of fun, even silly, ways to remember things.
  • Make learning fun for yourself and others by throwing study parties.

Relationships

  • Express your positive attitudes about life to others.
  • Transfer your energy into everything that you do.
  • Let positive emotions reign, and avoid those who are guided by negative, destructive, and defeating attitudes and practices.
  • Choose friends who love life as much as you do.

Class Selection

  • Take classes that you find exciting and meaningful.
  • Select courses led by professors who have positive approaches.
  • Investigate what others with a lot of positivity say about the courses you are considering.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Play or support team sports in which can you enjoy cheering others on.
  • Actively seek out extracurricular activities that might be fun.
  • Pump energy into clubs you join.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Relator

General Academic Life

  • Create various lines of communication with friends in your classes, such as verbal, phone, and e-mail, and help each other when one of you has to miss a class.
  • Seek out advisors, counselors, and professors who demonstrate genuine interest in you as a person.
  • Seek out fellow students with whom you can play a mutual tutoring, learning assistance, and support role.

Study Techniques

  • Form study groups for midterms and exams with close friends.
  • Discuss class lectures with friends.
  • Study with friends who have goals similar to yours.
  • To increase your comprehension of reading materials, share what you have learned with friends.

Relationships

  • Share knowledge with others and build a support network.
  • Become a mentor and always have a mentor.
  • Get to know professors who take an interest in you. Their involvement in your college experience will create a sense of belonging and stimulate your intellectual development as well as your academic achievement.
  • Develop a college lifestyle through which you share your academic progress and performance with people who care about you, both inside and outside the college environment.

Class Selection

  • Do your best to meet the professors who teach the classes you are considering.
  • Choose classes that friends are taking. Your relationships with them will heighten your engagement in the classes.
  • Select classes that encourage friendships and belonging.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Become involved in campus organizations that foster friendships.
  • Join organizations that your friends and you have agreed upon.
  • Consider community and humanitarian work that you can rally your close friends to be a part of too.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Responsibility

General Academic Life

  • Prepare for the term by listing the dates of all tests, projects, and papers.
  • Ask professors and successful students to show you what an “A” paper and an “A” essay look like.
  • Think about what it would mean to be a truly responsible student. Work toward that standard in a progressive manner, taking one step at a time.
  • Strive to always work ahead. Read ahead and work problems before the professor has presented them in class.

Study Techniques

  • Discover what “doing it right” means to each of your professors.
  • Schedule specific study times for each of your classes, and assume full responsibility for investing the necessary time, talents, and effort.
  • As you do your reading assignments, highlight the key vocabulary words, main ideas, and characters.
  • Make choices about class assignments as soon as possible.

Relationships

  • Choose friends you trust.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Consider having a circle of friends who are older than you.

Class Selection

  • Choose core classes or those required by your major first.
  • Select professors you trust.
  • Opt for courses in which you have choices to make about your learning.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Wisely consider how much time you can devote to clubs and activities.
  • Run for an office only if you have the capacity to fulfill it as you would like.
  • Select organizations that stand for the same values you do.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Restorative

General Academic Life

  • Read the syllabus when you get it, and attack assignments or areas that you consider problematic.
  • Do not let an unexpectedly low grade defeat your spirits. Learn how to more effectively apply your greatest talents.
  • Think about school as a way to improve yourself. You will increase your motivation, particularly if you reflect on your progress.

Study Techniques

  • Make a list of ways in which you can apply your most powerful talents to improve in each class.
  • Ask your professors what your weaknesses are, and create support systems or complementary partnerships through which you can manage them.
  • Research every missed test question to determine your gaps in knowledge, and fill those gaps.

Relationships

  • Let others know that you enjoy fixing their problems.
  • Ask friends for honest feedback about your weaknesses.
  • Build relationships with people who appreciate your ability to help them identify problems.

Class Selection

  • Select classes that emphasize case solutions.
  • Select classes in which you learn to solve problems.
  • Choose classes led by a professor who wants to fix things.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Raise money for the disadvantaged.
  • Organize a club that tackles and solves social issues on campus.
  • Join an organization in which you can restore something to its original condition.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Self-Assurance

General Academic Life

  • Ensure that you are completely in control of your grades. Gain a clear understanding of what is expected and how meet those expectations.
  • Always strive to become a better student. Stick with what is working for you and continue to build on your most powerful talents.
  • Be confident in your abilities to understand and learn material.
  • Register for classes that excite you.

Study Techniques

  • Over-study. Do more than you need to do.
  • Have confidence in your best ways to learn.
  • Study your greatest talents, and recognize the many ways in which you can achieve through them.
  • Enjoy the risks you take in your approach to studying.

Relationships

  • Get to know your professors and teaching assistants. This approach will help you stay in control of your learning.
  • Build a potentially lifetime friendship with an instructor.
  • Seek people who appreciate your self-confidence.

Class Selection

  • Choose classes that you will find challenging and intriguing.
  • Select classes that play to your strengths and greatest talents.
  • Choose classes in which you can achieve major successes.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Seek a leadership position in an organization that addresses is­sues important to you. You know you can make an important difference in these areas.
  • Join clubs that will “stretch” your talents and your horizons. Dare to tackle the unfamiliar.
  • Consider a semester abroad. Your Self-Assurance talents will help you maneuver through a culture that is quite different from your own.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Significance

General Academic Life

  • Think about why a particular class is important to your future.
  • Identify three of your personal goals and connect them to your academic life.
  • Take control of your life, beginning with your education.
  • Create a list of goals that will bring you great satisfaction in your personal life. Then consider how college can help you reach those goals.

Study Techniques

  • Take a leadership role in a study group.
  • Choose to study with other hard-charging classmates.
  • Establish relationships with your professors so they know who you are and of your interest in achieving.

Relationships

  • Associate with professors and students whose interests and goals are similar to your own.
  • You want people to know who you are. Become friends with people in your classes by initiating conversations with them.
  • You want people to appreciate your work, but if appreciation is not shown, don’t give up. Work even harder.

Class Selection

  • Choose classes that offer you some independence.
  • Select classes relevant to your goals and desires.
  • Select classes in which you can be highly successful.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Take part in activities that display and make use of your confidence — make public appearances, climb mountains.
  • Run for an elected office.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Strategic

General Academic Life

  • Don’t be afraid to be different. Discuss with professors the various approaches you can take to tackle an assignment.
  • Participate in research, or develop your own research project.
  • Search for ways to express your creative thinking.
  • Opt for classes that encourage discussion and creative solutions.

Study Techniques

  • Reflect and write down your ideas for possible solutions to problems.
  • In group settings, work with others to generate new ideas or clarify your own.
  • Be creative in your studying. Make up games or develop mnemonic devices and anecdotes to relate information.
  • Do more than is expected. It is not difficult for you to expand on an idea, and you will learn more about the subject.

Relationships

  • Seek a leadership role in a group. You see the path to success more clearly than many.
  • As you seek to achieve your leadership goals, always have your followers in mind.
  • Encourage friends to call on you to devise the best way to achieve their goals.

Class Selection

  • Consider taking an independent-study class. Your Strategic talents can help you work on your own.
  • Consider elective classes with subject matter that lends itself to strategic thinking, like engineering or marketing.
  • Choose classes that emphasize alternative ideas or solutions.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Consider running for an elected office, and confidently state your ideas.
  • Participate in cultural activities and exchanges to better understand the world around you.
  • Find organizations that need your planning abilities.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.

Woo

General Academic Life

  • Make classroom discussions fun by using words that catch the attention of others.
  • Meet and greet the people in your classes.
  • Use your charm when asking difficult questions in class.

Study Techniques

  • Study in places where there are many people, like the library or an off-campus bookstore.
  • Block off time for studying and reading with others.
  • Connect reading material to people you have met. This helps you get involved in the reading and not become bored, and you will better remember what you read and generate more insights.
  • Create a study group of people you do not know yet.

Relationships

  • Schedule a time (at least twice a quarter) to visit your professors during office hours. Have them get to know you by name.
  • Start a conversation with your classmates to identify students with whom you can work, learn, and study.
  • Use your networking strengths every way you can. Prepare for class, exams, discussions, and papers with other people.
  • Join social groups and study groups.

Class Selection

  • Try to meet the professors before choosing classes.
  • Choose classes that offer opportunities to meet lots of people.
  • Ask fellow students for their opinions about classes you are considering.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Get involved in an activity or group that gives you the opportu­nity to connect with different people.
  • Balance your academics with extracurricular activities to keep yourself involved with people.
  • Run for an elected office. A person with exceptional Woo talents can quickly connect with people and create positive reactions.
  • Chair large social events. Turn on your charm to engage others.

The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the 34 Clifton StrengthsFinder theme names are protected by copyright of Gallup Inc., 2000. All rights reserved.