Barrett students learn to use Indigo Assessment to develop self-awareness, improve job applications at first Life Hacks event

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September 25, 2019
Barrett Downtown students read an Indigo Assessment

Barrett Honors College Downtown Phoenix students Mea Valli-Doherty, Samantha Hill and Rebecca Bauer (left to right) discuss benefits of the Indigo Assessment.

When she arrived at her first Barrett Honors College advising appointment at the beginning of the school year, Emily Paz, a freshman majoring in nursing at the Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix campus, didn’t expect her advisor to know her already. But, at the start of their meeting, Paz’s adviser offered her a pen and paper for note-taking, just as she began to reach into her backpack to retrieve a pen and notebook. To Paz’s surprise, this was more than standard practice or coincidence.

The source of her advisor’s knowledge of her organized and detail-oriented personality was an online quiz called the Indigo Assessment. Upon scheduling their first advising meetings, Barrett students are instructed to take the assessment, and copies of their results are sent to their advisors. The results are kept on record so that advisors can refer back to students’ results to better cater to their needs and communication styles.

 Until a Life Hacks event at the Barrett Downtown ASU suite on Wednesday, September 18, Paz had seen her Indigo Assessment results but didn’t know what they meant.

Without the help of people familiar with the assessment, interpreting the long list of results can be an overwhelming challenge, said Ashley McDonald, Barrett student events programmer, who organized the Life Hacks event, titled “Understanding Your Indigo Assessment.”

“We wanted to make sure that our students were really able to have an understanding of what this means on a deeper level, on an applicable level, rather than just a piece of paper with words that are accurate about yourself,” said McDonald. “How to use that to sell your strengths, how to talk about your weaknesses and sell those, and how to incorporate these sorts of attributes of yourself positively or negatively, or how to be aware to them in yourself and other people.”

The Indigo Assessment is a series of quizzes that gauge personality traits, all contributing to an extensive analysis and explanation of people’s behaviors, motivators and skills. After completing the assessment, students receive their results in a 15-page document which includes graphs breaking down the findings of the quizzes and a written analysis of the student’s personality as a whole. 

At the event, the 15 students in attendance listened to McDonald, project coordinator Rafael Esquer, director of staff operations Dr. Kira Gatewood and internship and community engagement coordinator Cassandra Saenz break down what the assessment results mean and how students can use them to their advantage.

A common focus in the discussion was that the results should not be interpreted as simply students’ strengths and weaknesses, but rather an idea of which skills come naturally to them and which skills may require more development.

Saenz explained to students how they could use their results to fine-tune their resumes, playing off of their most marketable skills.

“If a student is really looking to apply to an internship that is, for example, really focused on individual project management, but one of their top skills is teamwork, it might be important to find a particular experience that they’ve had to highlight how they’ve worked best on an individual project, whether that be in a course, in a club or organization on campus, or even at a previous job, and really highlighting what that individual time management skill looks like to put their best foot forward,” said Saenz.

A common challenge that Saenz observes when advising students on job and internship applications is that they don’t know how to approach interview questions about their weaknesses. She said the Indigo Assessment can help answer these questions by giving students insight into skills they struggle with and what they can do to overcome their challenges with those skills.

After the event, students like Paz walked away with a better understanding of their assessments.

“It was a lot more beneficial than I actually thought, for internships and resumes and everything like that,” said Paz, adding that students should take advantage of personal development resources available to them, including the Indigo Assessment, academic advising, and internship advising.

 “Go talk to Ashley and Kira and RG. They have nothing but helpful advice and helpful tips, and they are not like scary administrative people,” said Paz. “They want to help you so much.”

            Upcoming events in the Life Hacks series include a session on civic engagement in October and a stress management event before finals week in November. Dr. Gatewood will teach a one credit class called teaching a one credit course called Life Hacking through the T.W. Lewis Center at Barrett Honors College in Session B this fall semester and again in the spring 2020 semester.

            Barrett students interested in learning about applying to internships or having their applications reviewed can make an appointment to see Saenz. She plans on holding office hours at Barrett Downtown twice a month, with the exception of November when she will have office hours once. For more information, contact Cassandra Saenz at


Story by Greta Forslund, a Barrett Honors College student majoring in journalism.