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Schools care about students and how they grow—not just in cognitive skills such as writing and math, but also growing into good citizens with integrity, resilience, and social awareness—those skills that carry them forward into a successful adult life. Character and personal growth are an integral part of an independent school education.

While a child’s personality and character have always been important to the independent school admission process, there has not yet been a tool that could measure the character skills a student is developing.The Snapshot is meant to provide a snapshot in time of your student’s character skills—it is not a fixed, absolute measure.

It provides a way for schools to get to know your child better and an opportunity for them to explore the ways in which their communities can enrich and develop your child’s intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility,resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.

What is The Character Skills Snapshot?

The Character Skills Snapshot is a new online assessment tool that provides schools with a more holistic view of your child.It measures your child’s character skill development and is meant to complement more traditional cognitive assessments, such as the SSAT. The Character Skills Snapshot gives admission teams richer holistic information and illuminates areas where their school can help your child grow, thrive, and shine.

Cover Snapshot Brochure 2017

Download a brochure about
The Character Skills Snapshot




 Watch an introductory video

Sign up for a live webinar! 

September 28, 2017 - Register for the Webinar

November 6, 2017 - Register for the Webinar            

Webinars begin at 9:00 pm EST and are free of charge. Webinars are recorded and posted for on-demand viewing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is The Snapshot designed for?

The Snapshot is designed for students applying for admission to independent schools for grades 6 through 12.

What skills does The Snapshot measure?

The Snapshot was designed by test experts and independent school admission professionals to measure eight skills they deemed important when considering applications: intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.

How long is The Snapshot?

The Snapshot takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete online. It must be completed in one sitting.

How much does it cost?

For testers registered to take the SSAT, The Snapshot is free of charge. For those not registered to take the SSAT, the cost to take The Snapshot is $25. If your child will not be taking the SSAT, request a link to The Snapshot from the particpating school to which you are applying. Fee waivers are available from participating schools for students who are not registered to take the SSAT and require financial assistance to take The Snapshot

Is my child required to take The Snapshot for admission?

Hundreds of schools have signed up to take part in The Character Skills Snapshot this year.  While some of those schools will require it for admission, others consider it optional.  To determine how The Snapshot fits into a school's admission criteria, contact the school's admission office and inquire.

If you are curious about why some schools are requiring The Snapshot this year, remember that one of the reasons you’re seeking to enroll your child in an independent school is because you’re interested in an education that focuses on instilling character values and encouraging personal growth. Similarly, schools know that a complete picture of your child contains much more than grades and test scores. That’s why they are asking your child to take The Character Skills Snapshot as part of their application.  It will give them richer holistic information about your child, and show them areas where their communities can help your child grow.

How are results of The Character Skills Snapshot used in admission?

Admission teams will use the information provided from The Character Skills Snapshot to complement other information required as a part of the application process, including SSAT test scores, interviews, grades, letters of recommendation, and other information. It is simply one piece of the student’s larger overall application.

Where does my child take The Snapshot?

Students may take The Snapshot at home, or any location with an internet connection. It is not available on mobile devices. Access to take The Snapshot begins on September 25, 2017.

How do I register my child for and have them take The Snapshot?

If your child will take the SSAT, register for that before signing up to take The Snapshot. Create an SSAT account . From your parent login, click on “My Tests” and “The Character Skills Snapshot” and follow the onscreen instructions to unlock The Snapshot for your child. Access begins September 25, 2017.

If your child will not be taking the SSAT, tell the admission office at the school to which you are applying, and they will provide you with a link to take The Snapshot.

How many times can my child take The Snapshot?

For this launch year, students may take The Character Skills Snapshot one time between September 25, 2017 and July 31, 2018.The Character Skills Snapshot is intended to capture a snapshot of the student at the moment when they apply, so students can take The Snapshot one time each admission cycle, as the results are valid for one testing year (August 1–July 31).

What kind of questions appear on The Snapshot?

There are two types of questions on The Snapshot. View sample questions here.
  • The first type (19 questions) presents three statements and asks students to select the statements that are most and least like them.
  • The second type (10 scenarios) presents students with a number of scenarios with four different responses to each. Students rate the appropriateness of each response on a four-point scale (from not appropriate to very appropriate).

What does a Snapshot report look like?

View a primer on the family Snapshot report here

When are results reports issued?

In this initial offering year, test results will be gathered and analyzed from students taking The Snapshot between September 25 and December 10, 2017. Students taking The Snapshot during this timeframe will receive their reports on December 15. Thereafter, reports are delivered within two weeks of completion of The Snapshot.  Results reports will be delivered online to parent SSAT accounts.

How will I know what the results mean?

The Snapshot’s reports are quite user friendly and include information about how to read the results report. See a report primer here. You may sign up for one of the free webinars we provide, or contact us for additional information.

What if I disagree with The Snapshot’s appraisal of my child’s skills?

As The Snapshot is designed solely to measure skills at a very specific moment in time, realize that it is not meant to be a determinant of your child’s ability to develop a certain skill or skills. Each skill measured will fall in its own space on the development spectrum, and will change over time. Your child’s Snapshot results will provide admission teams with a better idea of the areas in which their community has opportunities to help your child grow and develop.

Are the Character Skills Snapshot reports sent directly to schools?

Parents alone may choose to send their student’s Snapshot report to a school. Reports are sent in the same method as SSAT scores, using the online SSAT account. Schools will receive results in real time following selection as a recipient by the parent, with the exception of Snapshots taken between September 25 and December 10, 2017 (see question above).  Snapshot reports are sent separately from SSAT scores.

Can The Snapshot reports change over time?

Yes, a student’s Character Skills Snapshot report will change over time. However,The Character Skills Snapshot is meant to be taken only once per testing year, prior to admission to a school.