As promised in our book U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life), below you will find links to all of the assessments that we discuss so that you can get a sense of where you stand in a number of areas. These are not tests, there is no good or bad, wrong or right, they won’t address your skills or intelligence. All of them represent the first step to taking your next steps toward thriving!


As we discuss on pp.22-23 of UThrive, the PANAS scale can help you get a sense of where you are with both your positively and negatively oriented emotions (You spilled coffee on your computer but are dating the most awesome guy? You scored that prize internship but bombed an exam? Yes, you can have both at the same time…). Take this questionnaire to reflect on the current state of your emotions. Knowing where you are can help you gauge your progress!  For each item, rate to what extent you are experiencing each emotion right now in the present moment.

PANAS Questionnaire

Positive and Negative Affect Scale

VIA Strengths Survey

Simply becoming aware of your strengths is the first step to making the most of them (and boosting your levels of engagement, focus, and positive emotions!). Before you can take the next steps of exploration and application, take the free assessment at Each statement reflects a quality that many people may find desirable or virtuous. Please answer as honestly and accurately as you are able, whether the statement applies to you.

Strengths Survey

Tayyab Rashid’s 340 Ways to Use VIA Character Strengths

Once you have identified your strengths, put them to use! Studies have shown that daily application of signature strengths in new ways increases well-being. Psychologist Tayyab Rashid has assembled 340 ways to do just this. Have a look at this list, consider which are most enticing to you, or simply use them as inspiration to create your own!

VIA Strengths

Ryan Niemiec’s Positive Psychology at the Movies

Simply observing someone who embodies a strength can elevate you…. including watching characters in movies! Ryan Niemiec, Education Director of the VIA Institute has written not one but two books on how you can make the most of this opportunity. For a taste of his engaging thoughts on engagement, locate your strengths on the list of films below, sit back, and let the silver screen inspire you.

Positive Psychology at the Movies

Life Orientation Test

Is the glass half full or half empty? Get a sense of where you lie on the optimism-pessimism spectrum. There are no right or wrong answers! Do your best to answer each question honestly and accurately, and try not to let your answer to one statement influence your other answers.

Life Orientation Test

Other Assessments:

If you found these assessments engaging and useful, there are plenty more empirically sound that you can check out. Martin Seligman’s website Authentic Happiness is a one-stop-shop for many of the best around: