The MBTI® ESTP and College

An individual with an ESTP personality type (Extraverted-Sensing-Thinking-Perceiving) can be seen as an even-tempered problem solver. Others will often enjoy their company and be attentive to their direction due to ESTP’s typical behavior of exuding benevolence. When problem-solving, ESTPs generally want to agree on a solution hastily and often do not enjoy lengthy explanations. They have been known instead to get a few important elements regarding someone’s standpoint, make a brief suggestion, and move on to the next issue. Students who have an Extraversion preference gravitate their concentration to their surroundings, paying most attention to the people and events in their external environment. ESTPs generally gain energy from and direct their energy toward these external forces. It is common to find individuals with the ESTP Personality Type enjoying physical exercise and sports, with a conservable involvement in campus activities. Roommates of ESTPs have said to find them happy-go-lucky and gifted at easing tense situations. However, they have also been known to sometimes offend their roommates by being a little too blunt.

Learning Styles and Being Studious

ESTPs typically approach studying with sincere intent and utilize their extraverted nature to form study groups easily. Unfortunately, these study groups often turn to play, and ESTPs can sometimes jump from subject to subject, resulting in a clash with the more focused students in the group.  ESTPs also have a tendency to become impatient with theory-based assignments or tasks which involve speculations that cannot be directly tested. Instead, most ESTPs prefer first-hand experience with their studies. ESTPs often struggle in traditional academic settings because their ability is much more likely to show in actual work situations rather than on standardized tests.  For this reason, they tend to excel in practical, application-based colleges rather than traditional research-based settings. Due to an ESTP’s value of physical activity, they often absorb more information when in motion. Additionally, some individuals with this personality type have stated that background noise will assist with their concentration. Generally, this personality type will prefer the inclusion of unbiased evidence for their studies. ESTP learning style is typically inspired by reason.

ESTP Personality Type

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

This personality type has been known to enjoy the opportunity to evaluate innovative ideas and to have the ability to discover imperfections in controversy with little to no effort. As such, they often learn best through competition and debate. ESTPs generally operate impulsively with energetic eruptions. Studying for Sensing types often is a method of learning facts, more specifically, ESTPs generally want to ensure that they are receiving accurate information. “They typically accomplish this by methodically working their way through the material, trying to memorize or incorporate as much as possible.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.) Learning how to summarize the information in order to find the relationship among the facts as well as learning how to use these facts to arrive at the “big picture” or “bottom line,” will be the most important study habit for ESTPs to learn. Additionally, due to an ESTPs Perceiving function, this personality type may instead look for all of the acceptable interpretations of an assignment, nevertheless, it may typically sharpen their focus at the last minute.

Most students who prefer their Extraversion function state the preference for having a professor who encourages class discussion and debate. ESTPs commonly have a strong value in what is non-theoretical and typically trust any material which is presented to them by their instructors. This may be due to their innate ability to follow instructions. However, ESTPS will generally want faculty members who give clear instructions and logical presentations. Due to the fact that this personality type often values change and is typically receptive to innovation, they have been known to prefer professors to be entertaining and inspiring. “There are three times as many students who prefer Sensing and Perceiving as there are faculty with this combination. SP students prefer a flexible approach to factual material. Their NJ professors, on the other hand, prefer structure and theories. The SP students are more likely to view the facts themselves as more important than the theories and are less likely to want the facts organized according to some grand structure.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.)

Reading and Writing

ESTPs generally avoid non-required, overly-serious reading. Students who favor their Sensing function generally prefer to focus on what is real, how things look, sound, feel, taste, or smell. They are often much more interested in physical activity, and their senses tell them what is actually happening. They have been found to generally concentrate on actionable matters in their immediate surroundings. They typically are found physically showing someone what they know how to do rather than writing about it.  However, when writing is required, ESTPs oftentimes are more successful when they can verbalize their first drafts aloud. ESTPs may find it helpful to record themselves and use the recording as a guide for their initial draft.  In the revision process, they may need to focus on presenting an accurate summary by removing any excess data that may be unnecessary to the project at hand. When reading, ESTPs may search for specific information within the text in an attempt to memorize all of the facts. Because of this, ESTPs tend to do better with exams which allow them to display their comprehension of the information or of their awareness of how the text can be put into service. This personality type can earn a few extra points on exams if they teach themselves to not second-guess their initial “gut feeling” and also to not attempt to seek an underlying meaning behind the questions. “For essays, ESTPs often try a “mind dump,” regurgitating everything they know”. (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc.) This often innate behavior is due to their Sensing preference which often directs them to think that the surpassing volume of facts will impress their professors or that if they inscribe enough information, the professor will find what he or she is looking for within it.

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

Write from experience                                                           Strive for objectivity

Talk about the theme before writing                                  Provide reader with logical organization

Leap into writing; outline later                                            Critically analyze an argument

Take breaks for outer Stimulation                                      Guided by criteria for a “Competent” product

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

ESTPs are generally energized by work environments that allow them the complete independence to control their own time, work at their own pace, and do their work in their own way. This personality type often enjoys a range of work- tasks which they perform on a daily basis, and although they prefer working in a setting in which structures are clear and they can be a part of an active team, they also like working and achieving independently. ESTPs tend to decide their college experience by trial and error.  They may even try a part-time job within a field of interest while in the decision-making process. For Extraverted Perceiving types, like ESTPs, decision-making tends to be an ongoing process. For example, when an ESTP talks about trying out a new major, it may be because talking the options out with a peer or family member is their method to making this decision or not.  When ESTP is able to narrow down their alternatives, they tend to end up with majors that lead to careers involving activity, flexibility, and transacting with the real world. ESTPS are generally attracted to opportunities that allow them to lead and direct others to achieve concrete goals and economic success and those which place a high value on their independence.

Taking a college major assessment can greatly help an ESTP narrow down their choices.  At the end of the day, ESTPs tend to majors that will lead to careers such as:

  • Management/Business
  • Accounting/Banking
  • Law Enforcement
  • Engineering
  • Skilled Trades

Other majors in which ESTPs are commonly known to show interest are those requiring action, flexibility, and dealing with the real world, such as construction, production, recreation, health technology, and marketing.

Stress Management

ESTPs typically have very few areas to watch out for when it comes to the source of their stress.  Oftentimes, ESTPs move so fast that they may act without checking how actions may affect others. Their communication style may come off as blunt at times and has been known to offend roommates and friends. They may also lack a clear sense of direction while figuring out their plans, which can lead to frustration and stress. ESTPs can naturally counter their stressors by utilizing their preference for physical activity for stress reduction.  In school, they should learn to trust hunches during multiple-choice tests and may need to slow down and weigh the pros and cons before making decisions.  Stressful work environments for ESTPs are those that require rigid adherence to someone else’s schedule, inflexible work hours, and little freedom of choice in what is done and how it is accomplished. Some stressors which ESTPs have stated affect their school and work lives are, having an unreasonable focus on the future, closing off options, and excessively structured activity. When these stressors become regular and persistent, ESTPs can become hyper-concerned, feeling their schoolwork performance is inadequate and that others are criticizing them or judging them negatively. Moreover, this personality type has been known to deconstruct an overwhelming situation and use rationalization to disconnect from it. ESTPs generally communicate minimal facets of life to be stressful, which could be a result of their tendency to maintain a positive demeanor. Additionally, this personality type has been known to manage their stress levels by constant consideration of their options and confronting them immediately. They also commonly deal with their stress by favoring emotional resources, such as expressing their feelings openly. More often than not, ESTPs also get a great deal of exercise, which has been known to reduce emotional distress.

Learn More About the MBTI ESTP Personality Type

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

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


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)