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The Character Skills Snapshot

Measuring Character Traits for Admission

Teamwork. Empathy. Integrity.

These are the signs of character independent schools look for. You hope these traits are taken into account during the admission process, but what if you could ensure that they would?

The Character Skills Snapshot is an innovative tool built by test experts to complement the SSAT by examining character traits your child demonstrates every day in school and in the community.

We are thrilled to offer you the ability to participate in this exciting new assessment. The Snapshot helps independent school admission teams understand the unique qualities children can contribute to each school’s individual community. We look forward to a future in which assessing the ability of a child to succeed in our schools is transformed!

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about The Snapshot that are not answered here, please contact SSAT at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., via the live chat service, or at 609-683-4440 (M-F 9:00am - 4:30pm EST)

What is the Character Skills Snapshot?
It is a non-cognitive tool that measures 8 character skills: intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.

How was it developed?
CSS logoWe collaborated with admission directors, heads of schools, and teachers from more than 46 independent schools to develop the Character Skills Snapshot. Questions were written by assessment development experts as well as teachers and admission professionals from independent schools. It has been through rigorous pilot testing with approximately 11,000 students enrolled in or applying to independent schools across the country.

Is it the same as the SSAT?
It is not the same thing as the SSAT. The Character Skills Snapshot was designed to complement standardized cognitive testing measures like the SSAT to provide a richer, more well-rounded picture of an individual applicant. It is taken separately from the SSAT. Schools choose whether to utilize the Snapshot in their admission process.

What age children can take it?
The Character Skills Snapshot is intended for students seeking application to independent schools in grades 6 through 12. 

How much does it cost?

  • There is no cost for the Character Skills Snapshot for students registered to take the SSAT.
  • If a student does not register to take the SSAT, the cost is $25.00.

Fee waivers are available for students who don’t take the SSAT but want to take the Character Skills Snapshot and require financial assistance.

Where do students take The Snapshot?
The Snapshot is an online test; you can take it at your choice of location (at home, at a school, etc.)

How many times can a student take The Snapshot?
You may take the Character Skills Snapshot one time between September 25, 2017 and July 31, 2018.  

How long is The Snapshot?
It takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete The Snapshot.  It must be taken in one sitting.

How soon are the results reported?
In this initial year, test results from students taking The Snapshot between September 25 and December 10, 2017 will be reported on December 15. Thereafter, reports will be delivered within 2 weeks of completion.

How do I send reports to schools?
Reports from The Snapshot can be sent by parents to the schools you choose in the same way you send SSAT scores - simply choose a school or schools as report recipients on your SSAT parent account.

Is my child required to take The Snapshot for admission to independent schools?
No, but if a school is participating in The Snapshot, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to enhance your admission portfolio by including a Snapshot report. 

How can my child take The Character Skills Snapshot?
Visit your SSAT account to participate. The Snapshot opens September 25, 2017 and closes on July 31, 2018. Keep in mind that Snapshots taken prior to December 10, 2017 will receive results on December 15, 2017.