UMass Boston

Academic & Career Engagement & Success Center

Strengths-Based Advising

What is Strengths-Based Advising?  Centered on research from social work, positive psychology, and the business world, the University Advising Center's strengths-based advising approach enables students to identify and build on their inherent talents, and to develop and apply their strengths to new and challenging learning tasks.  1

Take the Clifton Strengths Assessment TM 

Grow confident in who you are and how you can contribute to the world. 2  

Find out what you do well, and do more of it. Find out what you don't do well and stop doing it  3

Email us to request to take the assessment

Strengths-Based Advising:

Building on the quotes and ideas above, our strengths-based advising approach affirms six common principles of human nature and behavior 4

  • You have a group of talents within you.
  • Your greatest talents hold the key to high achievement, success, and progress at levels of personal excellence.
  • Becoming aware of your talents builds confidence and provides a basis for achievement.
  • Learning how to develop and apply strengths improve your levels of achievement.
  • Each of your talents can be applied in many areas including relationships, learning, academics, leadership, service, and careers. 
  • As you develop and apply strengths, your achievements will increase and you will experience greater and more frequent successes.  

As described in the StrengthsQuest Guidebook, one of the goals of a college education is to help students ‘know thyself.’ Students come to college with potential, but often undeveloped or at least not yet fully developed, and during college they have opportunities to explore, experiment, learn, and develop in ways that prepare them for life and a career. Those who can learn what is meaningful to them, rewarding to them, and reflective of their desires and inner self are more apt to be engaged. Thus, knowing ones’ strengths has a strong motivating factor. Persons who build on their strengths are more likely to be successful in what they pursue.

Take the Clifton Strengths Assessment (formerly 'StrengthsQuest'):

The Gallup Organization has concluded from its study of more than two million adults from virtually every profession, career and field of achievement that top achievers understand their talents and strengths, and build their lives upon them.  Achievers are apt to perform at levels of excellence if they are using and applying their strengths in their engagement. Chip Anderson states it this way:  “The best of the best build their lives around talents.”  And “The best of the best invent ways of developing and applying strengths in areas where they want to improve, achieve, and become more effective.” 

The Clifton Strengths Assessment is free to UMass Boston students, but it requires a code which you can request. Allow 30+ minutes to complete the assessment.  Afterwards, you will receive your Top 5 Signature Themes of Talent as a starting point for self-discovery.  Then, as a next step, please make a follow-up appointment with an academic advisor so you can begin to discover exciting ways to apply your strengths to your academic, personal and professional endeavors.  Email Teresa Goyette ( to request to take the assessment. 

The Clifton Strengths Assessment is a product of the Gallup Organization.  

  1. Adapted from Schreiner, Laurie A. Anderson, "Chip" Edward. NACADA Journal (2005) 25 (2): 20-29
  2. Gallup Inc. Web:
  3. O. Clifton, D., & Nelson, P. (1992). Soar with your Strengths (p. 39, 71). New York: Dell Publishing.
  4. Excerpt taken from:  Braskamp, L. (2006). The Strengths Quest Guidebook: Introducing Strengths-Based Development and Strengths Quest to Higher Education Leaders (pp. 1-2). Princeton, NJ: The Gallup Organization.