How To Use The Birkman Assessment For College Planning

You’ve heard us talk about, write about, and swear by the Birkman. And all of that is for a good reason. The Birkman Assessment is a valuable tool that gives insight into how and why we are the way we are. For instance, the Birkman results can help a student decide whether to apply to big, bustling colleges or smaller, quieter universities. Moreover, the Birkman can uncover potential and self-awareness that would otherwise go unnoticed. Set your student up for success with the gift of the Birkman.

How The Birkman Assessment Helps Navigate The College Planning & Admissions Processes

The Birkman Assessment is a keystone to self-discovery in the Bright Futures process. The counselors at Bright Futures integrate their students’ Birkman results throughout their customized college planning and application process. Here are some ways you can incorporate the Birkman Assessment for college planning at home.

Birkman Assessment For College Planning Insight Into Choosing A Major & Career

The Birkman is a treasure trove of highly personalized information that can guide your student as they make decisions. This is especially true when it comes to choosing a college major and a potential career path. Both fulfilling majors and careers often complement an individual’s personal strengths, primary needs, high-level interests, and foundational values. 

When reviewing Birkman results, consider how a potential career, major, or work environment would impact and support these components. Let’s take a closer look at what that means and how to discuss it with your teen. 

Choosing a major and career path can seem incredibly daunting without the tools to practice self-awareness. Reach out to Bright Futures to schedule your teen’s Birkman today!

Birkman Assessment For College Planning Personal Strengths

This can be identified by your teen thinking about when they feel the most appreciated and/or productive. Can they whip up an A+ essay in no time? Or are they setting the curve in their math or science courses? Maybe it’s when they’re playing sports or mentoring their peers. Because no two people are the same, this looks different from person to person. So ask your student, “Where do you feel like you really shine?”

Primary Needs

Learning to communicate needs is something every child, teen, and adult can benefit from. Since so many people lack this skill, it’s not something a lot of us grow up realizing we need to practice. To help your teen understand and accept their needs: 

  • Ask them which needs really matter to them right now
  • Take it a step further and discuss which needs have the greatest influence on their mood and mindset when being met
  • Take these responses seriously
  • Affirm these needs and help your student learn to communicate them more effectively

High-Level Interests

One thing to always remember is that it is never too late to explore new interests. With that in mind, your teenager still has time and opportunity to delve deeper into exploring their interests. Encourage them to do this by volunteering, applying for internships, and even working on their own personal projects. These are attributes of a self-aware student and are exactly what colleges love to see on applications. 

Foundational Values

Understanding one’s own foundational values is critical to self-awareness, relationships, creating meaningful life goals, selecting the best activities and courses for them, and more. Start the conversation with your teen by giving them a list of values. These can range from power to advocacy to freedom. Then, ask them to pick the top 3-5 that are most important. Next, ask your teen how these values show up in their lives now and why they are so important. 

The Tools To Build Healthy Relationships

When it comes to relationships of all kinds, the Birkman is a wonderful tool for learning how to communicate with others. Additionally, it gives us the tools to help others understand our own needs, stresses, and interests. 

If you and your teen both have Birkman reports, then look at the behavioral components that may create potential conflict or misunderstanding. The two of you should discuss how you can meet each of your needs in those areas. And talk about how you might expand your own perspective for someone who behaves or expresses needs differently than you. This can help you both celebrate the different strengths and interests between the two of you. 

The Birkman is a fantastic foundation for the future relationships your student will build. This will come in handy when they need to communicate their “work style” with a fellow student or colleague. Additionally, the Birkman can help your student learn to compromise on living and social arrangements with a future roommate. This will be extremely helpful when they’re no longer living under your roof. Overall, the Birkman holds valuable tools and information for every relationship and social situation. 

Learning to build healthy relationships is a gift that will keep on giving throughout your student’s life. From dealing with employers and colleagues, roommates, romantic interests, and more, the Birkman helps put students on a path to self-awareness and acceptance that will prove incredibly beneficial for years to come. Contact us today to schedule your student’s Birkman.

Key to Living A Balanced Life Is Self-Acceptance

Living a well-balanced life means you hold space and embrace happiness, exploration, challenge, growth, change, and productivity. Through the power of self-acceptance, the Birkman can help create this life by encouraging students to learn and reflect on their interests, work styles, and blind spots. 


Does every interest of yours fit into your career? For most people, the answer is typically, “Nope.” And that’s great because not all of our primary interests have to fit into our careers or life goals. In fact, sometimes hobbies, personal projects, and volunteering can be all a person needs to incorporate their interests into their life regularly. With that being said, encourage your student to make time for and pursue their interests, even if it’s not in line with their major or career path. 

Work Style

So many people who struggle with their career environment don’t realize that it may have a lot to do with their ideal work style. For a student, learning the environment and pace at which they are the most productive is invaluable knowledge. This can help when choosing colleges, courses, and careers. It’s a huge component of self-awareness that can set your teen up for a successful and bright future. 

Blind Spots

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: No two people are the same. 

When we realize that not everyone thinks, communicates, works, or even plays like we do, it can help create empathy and understanding. This knowledge can also point out areas where we could benefit from different perspectives and growth opportunities. So encourage your student not to look at everything in black and white. Instead, help them see differences as a chance to understand, learn, and build relationships.

Prepare For Essays & Interviews With Your Truth

Sometimes the most stressful part of the college application process is when a student has to talk about themself. Whether through their essay, supplemental questions, or interviews, it just feels awkward whether you’re being vulnerable or tooting your own horn. 

However, the Birkman can be a source of validation and affirmation for students learning to put themselves out there. To do this, have your student refer to the Strengths page in their Birkman report. Then, have them (or help them) recall times in their life when they were able to utilize those strengths. 

Next, dive into the Interests section to help them identify and articulate their favorite hobbies, classes, and experiences. Discuss which of these could be fun to share in an interview or in an essay. 

When considering majors and future career possibilities, the Career Exploration page can encourage and help them to share why they feel validated pursuing a certain major and/or career. 

Uncover Your True Interests & Goals With The Birkman Assessment For College Planning

Overall, the Birkman provides students with advantageous and rewarding insight that will come in handy throughout their life. So do your teen a favor by helping them to utilize this information for their college admissions process.

From deciding which high school courses to enroll, essay planning and topics, choosing and demonstrating interest to prospective colleges, reaching out for informational interviews, and so on – the Birkman is incredibly helpful in all of these departments and more.

Ready to find out how Bright Futures and the Birkman can help your teen get on the path to their bright future? Schedule a free consultation today!

[elementor-template id=”5290″]

Note: This post was originally published on September 30, 2020 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness.