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The MBTI® ESFP and College

ESFP personality types (Extraverted-Sensing-Feeling-Percieving) are known to live life to its fullest. They are typically good natured and are known to be open and friendly individuals. ESFPs often have an innate curiosity for what they can hear, see, and know firsthand, with the ability to adapt to their observations with ease. Additionally, they may be skilled at coercing others to conform to this mindset as well. Due to their innate preference of Extraversion, they tend to be attentive to the outer world, so making these observations will only reinforce their extraneous environmental exploration. Usually, individuals with the ESFP Personality Type are not only energized by, but also direct their personal energy toward the outer world. Because of this behavior, roommates of ESFPs have been known to find them exciting, passionately spirited, and versatile.

Learning Styles and Being Studious

ESFPs usually prefer to study in groups, especially if additional external stimulation is involved. They often solve assigned problems through trial and error. Additionally, they have also been known to absorb the most information by using this method as well. This personality type may find firsthand experience, rather than books or lecture, the most fulfilling educational experience. Therefore, working in labs or in workshops can be very constructive for ESFPs. These individuals have been known to have the ability to memorize a great number of facts from reading required material, but due to their applied learning approach, it may be the reason why ESFPs often do better in real-life situations than on written tests.

ESFP Personality Types

Learn about ESFP Personality Types and how they function in College settings. Including an ESFPs major choice, how they handle stress and learning tactics.

In order to improve test taking skills, ESFPs should learn to have confidence in their initial instincts and look for hidden information within their required reading. Many ESFPs value practicality, yet still desire the ability to relate to their educational material on a personal level. This is due to this personality type’s often innate behavior of valuing a personal code of ethics.  However, most ESFPs can discover information to appreciate with little, to no effort. This personality type has been known to study by working unprompted and may have bursts of energy which allow them to accomplish a great deal in a small amount of time.

Most students with an Extraverted Preference prefer to have an instructor who encourages class discussion. ESFPs have been known to have a keen ability to follow instruction with ease and often trust the material as it is presented to them. However, they typically prefer a professor who can present distinctive requirements and clear instruction. This personality type has shown a preference to an ever changing curriculum and the allowance for spontaneity. Many ESFPs have been known to enjoy the ability to please their instructors, and may go above and beyond expectations to do so. They have also been known to enjoy continuous support and appreciation from their teachers, and may excel in an environment where this is the case. “Many ESFPs have stated to want faculty who establish personal rapport with students”. (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.). Moreover, it is no surprise that this personality type has mentioned the want for their professors to be entertaining and inspiring. “There are three times as many students who prefer Sensing and Perceiving as there are faculty with this “SP” combination”. (Quenk, N. 2000. CPP) Sensing Perceiving students typically favor a modifiable path to their educational goals. Their often NJ (Intuitive Judging) professors, on the other hand, generally incline towards orderliness, organization and concepts. This requires a student with SP preferences to be required to put less concentration on the facts themselves and organize information according to their professor’s methodically arranged syllabus.

Reading and Writing  

ESFPs generally report that they spend little time with non-required introspective reading. Writing, for this personality type, is often best approached by first talking out the facts they have previously learned and building on their previous experiences. For ESFPs, having a friend that they can bounce ideas off of can also be a great tool for gaining perspective and inspiration. In order to optimize their writing, ESFPs can revise their final drafts by making their word choice to be less conversational and to condense or summarize their paragraphs.

The typical writing approach which ESFPs have reported to assist with combating writer’s block are to:

Write from experience                                                      Communicate personal viewpoint

Talk about the theme before writing                              Enliven content with human examples

Leap into writing; outline later                                       Anticipate reader’s reaction

Take breaks for outer Stimulation                                 Writing guided by sense of flow and overall tone

Report factual information                                              Keep topic options open and flexible

Follow a format that worked before                               Let deadlines motivate completion

Attend to instructions and mechanics                           Let multiple projects overlap

Say it clearly, simply, and directly                                  Extensive search for related facts or ideas

*Abstracted from Introduction to Type in College (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc. P.8)


College Direction and Major Choice

It is common for ESFPs to try to establish an open-mindedness for allowing revision, especially when considering college majors.  For example, this personality type may spend time testing possible options and experimenting with different subjects. When doing so, most ESFPs tend to consider their selections based on what is most important to their personal values or morals of those who are close to them. A constant among ESFPs is that they tend to lean towards choosing college majors that will lead to an occupation which attends to people, both directly and obligingly. For Extraverted Perceiving types, decision-making has an inclination to be an ongoing process, which ESFPs often establish conclusions by trial and error. This may be due to their innate want to do and try it all. For an ESFP, having the ability to reconstruct their plans may reassure them that they have multiple options as a failsafe if something falls through. However, this can also result in feeling that they have an overabundant amount of alternative possibilities and may have trouble finding a way to choose among them.

Taking a college major assessment can greatly help an ESFP narrow down their choices. They will often pick majors that lead to fields such as:

  • Health Care
  • Teaching
  • Religious Service
  • Office Work
  • Community Service

Other college majors which are popular for ESFP personality types are sales, design, entertainment, transportation, and troubleshooting.

Stress Management

It is common for ESFPs to become uninterested by excessive focus on theory in their classes, causing them to become restless or even apprehensive of the material. Additionally, ESFPs may put themselves into stressful situations if they neglect their studies by spending too much time having fun in the involvement of campus activities. If they socialize too much then they may run out of time to spend on studying and getting work done. This personality type has a tendency to be concerned about others and to lose sight of their own goals. They may also be too gung-ho and jump into action before they have carefully evaluated their options.  “Fortunately for ESFPs, their natural openness and flexibility is a natural deterrent to stress.” (Quenk, N. 2000. CPP) They also generally have a lot of friends to turn to in case of a stressful situation. One way to capitalize on their large social circle is by picking the correct students as friends to study with, who can help them get organized and focused. It is common for ESFPs to not mind conforming to expectations, as long as working extra hours is within the bounds of their discretion, and their tasks are made manageable and straightforward. This common behavior may be due to an ESFP’s tendency to devote a great deal of their energy to the relationships and activities outside of their work and study habits. If working in an environment where their occupation is required to be their most important task, they may become bitter. “Some common stressors for ESFPs are: strict deadlines, rigid routines, long-term planning, and vague or unclear directions and guidelines”. (Quenk, N. 2000. CPP) When ESFPs are placed in stressful situations for a long period of time, they may lose sight of their typically optimistic demeanor, and may appear drained, anxious, and reserved. Some ESFPs have stated to find solace in changing their focus by reading or engaging in distracting activities. Many also find it helpful to ask others for assistance with their workload or even with simply coordinating their thoughts to circumscribe unnecessary information. There are many outlets which ESFPs can use to manage their stress. Many Extraverted Perceiving types have been known to embrace using emotional concessions, such as expressing their feelings aloud, as a means of coping with their stress levels. This personality type also is commonly tactful when given the opportunity to be able to amend existing rules in order to bypass obstructions to their plans. However, ESFPs have been known to require the need to educate themselves on the process of following through with their ideas. As mentioned, ESFPs are often responsive to change, furthermore, they have also been known to make significant transformations in their career if their current environment is causing them unreasonable stress.



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More About the MBTI ESFP Personality Type

Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ESFP Personality Type by examining various personality and career based subjects:

Click on a link below to read more about different MBTI Personality Types


Assessment Categories



All College-based information was taken from the following publication: (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.)

In the Grip. Understanding Type, Stress, and The Inferior Function (Quenk, N. 2000. CPP)