Career Testing - Student Research Foundation

Questions to Ask Before Recommending Online Career or Aptitude Tests

If you are a high school or college career or guidance counselor, chances are you are on the lookout for good career and aptitude tests that your counselees can take online. And with good reason. Online tests are instantly available for your students to take, anywhere. Many tests are free (but not all). All the scoring is done for you, so you don’t need to spend time evaluating the tests your counselees have taken. And if a test has been ethically and intelligently constructed, it could just deliver some helpful advice and findings.

However, Some Caution Is Needed

Before recommending an online career or aptitude test to your students, it is best to do some due diligence by taking the test from start to finish and evaluating its recommendations and findings. If you do, you might make some discoveries like these . . .

  • There are hidden charges – More than a few online tests fail to disclose at the start that there is a charge for getting results and reports. They let students take the entire test, then try to charge a fee before the findings can be accessed. There is nothing inherently dishonest about charging a fee for an online career test. But we think that failing to mention the fee until after the test is taken is manipulative.
  • The quiz is really only a sales tool to get students to buy a book or additional services – The student takes the quiz, gets some results, but then gets a hard sales pitch to buy a guide or purchase additional services, like online college counseling. This might not be overtly dishonest, but it is manipulative. If you try out online tests before recommending them to your counselees, you can ferret out the tests that use this kind of selling tactic and steer away from them.
  • There is some other hidden agenda – We actually took one online career test that had the unstated goal of steering students into careers as medical billers and coders, and which recommended that they take their training at a certain online school. We found other quizzes that presented this objective more honestly. One online “academy” for example, used its name visibly on the test it was offering online. But again, tread cautiously and do not recommend tests you have not personally vetted.

Why Prey on Students?

It is sad to notice that some financial institutions, insurance companies, and other businesses use deceptive tactics to convince students to do business with them. As professionals who want to do our best to support and assist students, we sometimes need to slow down and stay alert for organizations that are attempting to deceive students in this way.

We Invite You to Explore All Your Career and College Options. . .

Participate in the National Career & College Pathway Study (it is free with no strings attached) to gain new insights about making career and educational decisions that align with your interests, passions, and aptitudes.

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