Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
A family photo after the 2020 Commencement for Spring and Summer graduates in Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena.

Families Support Student Strengths

We want your student to know that they matter and belong, and we want them to thrive both on campus and after graduation. In order to help us meet this goal, we introduce students to CliftonStrengths before they even start classes.

We want your student to know what their talents are so that we can help develop them into strengths from the moment they step foot on campus. In their First Year Studies class, students will dive deeper into understanding their unique talents so that they can utilize this information to help them thrive throughout their time at UT.

In addition to using CliftonStrengths in their First Year Studies course, they will refer back to their strengths in other academic courses, in coaching sessions, and through involvement and engagement opportunities. Research has shown that when individuals lean into their strengths, they are more likely to be engaged and retained, because they are doing what they do best.

How Family Members Can Help Their Student Use Their Strengths

Because we believe in the value of learning how to engage in the college experience by leveraging one’s natural talents, our students are introduced to the CliftonStrengths assessment early in their first year on campus. Family members can support their students as they learn about and apply their strengths in several ways.

Ask about Your Student’s Strengths

Your student will receive a report with their Top 5 Signature Talent Themes that is unique to them. Starting a conversation about this report can help your student see how they already use these strengths.

Potential conversation starters could include:

  • What are your Top 5 strengths?
  • What do your talent themes mean to you?
  • How have you used those talents in the past?

As they are processing through these, you may easily be able to provide your student with examples of how they have used their natural talents over time.

Other conversation starters for a variety of topics are available online from the University of Minnesota (Word).

Encourage Your Student to Explore Their Strengths

The Jones Center for Leadership and Service offers several workshops and opportunities for students to learn more about their strengths. Encourage your student to sign up for a workshop.

Revisit Their Strengths

It is natural for students to encounter challenges over the course of their college journey. Sometimes students attempt to tackle a challenge using strategies that they have seen work for other people. However, these strategies might not be the ones that come most naturally to your student.

For example, some students might tackle an academic project by breaking it down into smaller parts and making a schedule for completing their work, while others might be better served by talking out their ideas first with a faculty member or fellow student. Encourage your student to consider their top talents as they think about how to approach a challenge. Helping your students by encouraging them to think about how they can leverage their strengths when facing a challenge can be a constructive way to bring them back to the skills they know they have.