Learn everything you need to know about the Character Skills Snapshot. Articles will cover test results and recipients.
The Snapshot is designed for students in grades 5 through 11 applying to grades 6-12.
The Snapshot was designed by test experts and independent school admission professionals to measure skills they deemed important when considering applications: intellectual engagement, teamwork, initiative, resilience, self control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.
The Snapshot takes approximately 25 minutes to complete online. It must be completed in one sitting.
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 $40. If your student will not take the SSAT, simply create parent and student accounts on ssat.org to access The Snapshot. You will be prompted during the registration process to provide the $40 payment.Fee waivers are available from participating schools for students who require financial assistance to take The Snapshot and are not registered to take the SSAT.
Hundreds of schools use The Character Skills Snapshot. 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 schools require The Snapshot, remember that one of the reasons you’re seeking to enroll your student 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 student contains much more than grades and test scores. That’s why they are asking your student to take The Character Skills Snapshot as part of the application. It will give them richer holistic information and show them areas where their communities can help your student grow.
Admission teams use the information provided from The Character Skills Snapshot to complement other information required as a part of the application process, including admission test scores, interviews, grades, letters of recommendation, and other information. It is simply one piece of the student’s larger overall application. As with other facets of your application, Snapshot results will be used differently by each school according to their admission process. If you are curious as to how a particular school will use Snapshot results, we suggest you contact the school directly and inquire.
Students may take The Snapshot at home, or any location with an internet connection with which you are comfortable. It is not available on mobile devices, and is not given at schools.
If your child will take the SSAT, register for that first. Then follow these directions. If your child will not take the SSAT, follow these directions.NOTE: Parents/guardians must create accounts for both themselves and their students. The Snapshot may only be taken through the student's SSAT account; it cannot be accessed through the parent account.
If you would normally apply for accommodations for your student when registering for the SSAT, please email TA@enrollment.org in order to receive more information about accommodations and The Snapshot.
Log in to your parent/guardian SSAT account and click on the "Manage Accounts" tab to make sure your student has a username and password in his/her profile. Your student cannot access The Snapshot if s/he does not have a username and password.NOTE: Parents/guardians must create accounts for both themselves and their students. The Snapshot may only be taken through the student SSAT account; it cannot be accessed through the parent account.
Students may take The Character Skills Snapshot one time per testing year (August 1 - July 31).The Character Skills Snapshot is intended to capture a snapshot of the student at the moment when they apply and the results are valid for one year.
There are two types of questions on The Snapshot. View sample questions here.The first type (forced choice) presents three statements and asks students to select the statements that are most and least like them.The second type (situational judgment) 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).
Forced-Choice QuestionsEach forced-choice question includes three statements (e.g., "I work hard" might be one), and no two statements within the same question measure the same Snapshot skill. For analysis, the responses are coded as either 1, 2, or 3 (from most like me to least like me). Since there are three possible comparisons to make in each forced-choice question, there are three new variables that describe the ranking of each statement, relative to another in the question (e.g., statement 1 is ranked as more like me than statement 2). A single statement is involved in two comparisons, which means two of these new variables will capture information about each skill. Once this is complete, each Snapshot skill is defined using the variables that inform it, and we utilize additional parameters to ensure the model is stable. These data are analyzed using a set of statistical models based on L. L. Thurstone's Law of Comparative Judgment.Situational Judgment QuestionsAdmission staff and teachers from across the country rated the situational judgment items in the same manner as the students (i.e., rate the appropriateness of each possible response to the scenario presented). Student response analysis on the situational judgment questions reflects the extent of alignment with the median of those ratings. In other words, the situational judgment results describe how well a student is able to gauge the appropriateness of particular behaviors, with appropriateness set by the experts (who are, in this case, admission staff and teachers). Please note that it is possible for a child to be in one category for all character skills.
The Snapshot results are released according to the timeline found on The Character Skills Snapshot chart at the bottom of the page.
The Snapshot report is very user friendly. View a sample report primer here.
The Character Snapshot’s reports are user friendly and include information about how to read the results. You can also watch our free webinar on this topic.
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 student's ability to develop a certain skill or skills. Also important to remember: students complete The Snapshot with answers that they feel best describe themselves, which may be quite different from how parents and teachers observations. Each skill measured will fall in its own space on the development spectrum, and will change over time as children grow, learn, and mature.Your student’s Snapshot results will provide admission teams with a better idea of the skills with which s/he already identifies strongly, as well as those that a school's community can help build and nurture. Additionally, if you are using the Standard Application Online to apply to schools, you will be asked to complete a parent/guardian character perspective section that will allow you to provide narrative on your perception of your student's character skill development.
Parents/guardians 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 once scores are released, following selection as a recipient by the parent.Download a step-by-step tutorial on sending scores to schools