The Highlands Company Blog

Start Out Strong: HAB for Students

No matter one’s age or level of education, having self-awareness and knowing one’s natural abilities can make all the difference in career success and personal life satisfaction. From high schoolers considering their futures to college graduates entering the workforce, I’ve helped hundreds of students using the whole person method, which focuses on eight factors (abilities, skills, interests, personal style, family of origin, values, goals, and stage of career development). The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB), the gold standard in career aptitude tests, is a key component of this method. It delivers personalized results that empower students of all ages to practice informed decision making, giving them a strong start as they begin their careers.

High school students

High schoolers are in a unique position in that they have a clean slate—a wide-open landscape to follow any path. At the heart of this stage is a desire for independence. Whether graduates wish to attend college, enter the workforce, take a phased approach to higher education, or follow their interests and hope for the best, making informed decisions will set them up for success in whatever they pursue.

Benefits of taking the HAB

There’s no more proactive time to take the HAB assessment than when a student is in high school. Many HAB takers at this stage are merely seeking confirmation of their talents, but taking the assessment provides many other benefits, such as:

  • Learning about one’s natural abilities and understanding the connection to work;
  • Discovering and refining one’s values—and using them as a guide to choose a major/job/program, etc.; and
  • Exploring best-fit options for next steps to reach one’s goals (even if they aren’t articulated as such).

What’s next?

Approaching the post–high school stage with both an understanding of the many options available and a road map that reflects a best-for-now course of action goes a long way in successfully gaining one’s independence. With eyes wide open, high schoolers use HAB results to:

College students

College students have their own unique station in career development. They’ve determined the school or program they want to attend and have selected a major. But is it the right school? The right major? Why are some classes easy and others a challenge? At this stage, understanding one’s driving and specialized abilities, and how these translate to work, is where a HAB assessment helps.

Benefits of taking the HAB

College brings a spectacular widening of horizons and development of independence, but it can also be confusing and maybe even overwhelming. A HAB assessment can offer confirmation and clarity for students that find themselves wondering if they are on the right path. These potent results help college students:

  • Further explore their natural abilities;
  • Learn about and gain clarity of their personal styles;
  • Proceed with confidence in regard to their selected major/program/school.
  • Narrow the field to pursue a best-fit specialty.

What’s next?

Learning how to navigate life in college—classes, schedules, responsibilities, finances, and more—and taking these skills into the real world is a transition that is naturally full of ups and downs. The confidence gained by knowing one’s strengths helps smooth the road and sets the graduate up for post-college success, whether it’s further education or full-time work.

Young adults

In their first careers, young adults may experience a range of emotions. Approaching this big step with self-awareness is a huge boon. A HAB assessment and its personalized results offer burgeoning professionals a framework for informed decision making, which is particularly beneficial to those who may be:

  • Transitioning from life as a student to life as a working adult;
  • Overcoming feelings of having made a misstep; or
  • Navigating a first job that’s a stepping stone, a skill-building opportunity, in preparation for a future position or career.

For young adults, working with a coach in a 1-1 Personal Vision Coaching Program opens a floodgate of opportunities for personal and professional growth. Pairing the personalized results of the HAB assessment with best-fit career options supplies young adults with a well of self-awareness upon which they can draw throughout their lives.

Set up for success

Results gleaned from a Highlands Ability Battery assessment can be powerful for people of all ages, but they are especially powerful for students who are just starting out and discovering the incredible opportunities before them. Are you a student or the parent of a student? Read more about the Highlands Ability Battery and its potential to set students up for ultimate success.


“My 30 years as a Highlands Consultant includes working with students (high school, college, graduate students) including over 20 years with UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Terry Business School’s Institute for Leadership Development, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, professional development programs for administrators and aspiring administrators in school systems across Georgia, and private businesses such as IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Manheim Automotive and Kaiser Permanente.”

Dr. Stiles is the Director of Training, Research and Development for the Highlands Company, and the founder of Turning Points Coaching and Consulting.

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