Capitalizing on Personal Strengths in College

Kelly M. Bowers, Clifton Strengths School
Shane J. Lopez, Clifton Strengths School/Gallup

This study aims to gather descriptive information about students’ use of strengths using qualitative
theory. Strengths programming directors nominated students based on explicit criteria. The
students were interviewed on their backgrounds, strengths programs, signature strengths, strengths
application, capitalizing, and benefits of capitalizing. Data indicate that college students who are
the best of the best at using their strengths—the capitalizers—utilize sustained social supports and
build on successful experiences that give them the confidence to apply their strengths in new

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