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Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey

This is

a free assessment that takes about twenty minutes to finish. When we talk about strengths, people often hear “strengths and weaknesses” and it’s quick jump from there to thinking, “I have to improve something” or “something’s wrong with me.” 

But this is different. This survey will show you the unique set of strengths you have in abundance so that you can leverage and build on them.

Do this because

because suffering builds character. Just kidding! We bet you already have plenty of character.

Here’s the real reason: your essay should show admissions officers who you are. You’ll use the results of this survey as a touchstone and checkpoint to ensure that the authentic you comes through in your essay.

Now, do this


Go to the VIA website.


Follow the instructions to open a free account.

Select the survey for youth.

If you’re 18 and have significant work experience, you can take the adult survey. Otherwise, do the youth survey.


Take the VIA Survey.

Read each question, decide how much it is like you, and mark the correct radio button. There are no right or wrong answers. To get the best, most useful results, be honest and don’t overthink your answers.  


Complete the survey.

After the last page of survey questions, you can answer a few more optional questions. You can skip that part if you want, but be sure to click Complete Survey at the bottom of the page to save and see your results.


Download and print your strengths.

 On Your Character Strengths Profile page, be sure to download the Free Character Strengths Profile, and then save your profile. You’ll be referring to these often.

We recommend that you print and post these where you can see them regularly. 

(Also, VIA should send you a link in email, but it can take a while to show up.)


It’s optional, but we recommend you buy the Youth Decoder report for $10.

According to VIA:

The Youth Decoder Report is a fun, engaging way to learn more about your best qualities! It provides detailed descriptions, activities and tips for your top strengths, as well as additional information on your middle and lesser strengths. This report will help you recognize and exert your strengths in different ways, to move you closer to being the happiest, best “you” possible.

(If you took the adult survey you’ll have similar options.)

You're ready to move on when

  • You’ve taken the VIA Character Strengths Survey and saved the results.
  • You’ve confirmed that you have a link from VIA in your email inbox. (If it doesn’t arrive, be sure that you’ve seen your results. You can always log back in to see them.)
  • If you want, you’ve purchased the Via Youth Decoder report.

We also recommend that you print your strengths and keep them handy. You’ll be using these again and again as you work on your essay.