The MBTI® INTP and College

College students who place a higher preference toward their Introversion functionality generally tend to pay more attention to their personal thoughts, feelings, and observations. This is also true for INTP (Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Perceiving) Personality Types who are often stimulated by, as well as known to focus their personal enthusiasm toward their own private venture. However, due to their heightened Perceiving function, these students also generally want to and enjoy adapting to their external environment as well. INTPs typically prefer to have the ability to maintain open-ended possibilities, with the eligibility for whatever new experiences may arise. This personality type has been known to enjoy the ability to accommodate not only new activities but also new information. INTP Personality Types are generally relaxed individuals but have also been known to be skeptical of others. Because of this innate behavior, they may have little involvement in parties or even in casual conversation. However, this personality type may emerge as an entirely outspoken individual if the subject of conversation is directed toward a subject they may have recently studied. “INTPs’ extracurricular activities usually include lectures, drama, and music.” (Diliberto and Hammer, 1993, P. 29, CPP Inc.) They are not typically the best roommates to individuals who require constant small talk or acknowledgment. Most INTP Personality Types will consider their coursework to be enjoyable and may even relate an assignment to amusement.

Learning Styles and Being Studious

INTP Personality Type

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

INTP Personality types have been known to absorb the most information when they are given the chance to rest and reflect. These individuals often favor a quiet environment for individual study time. Due to their elevated Perceiving function, INTPs may work on their assignments without following a strict schedule and have also been known to work unprompted with a rush of determination. Individuals with this personality type are known to be uncommonly inquisitive with a passion for innovation. They often learn on a much larger scale by including both universal and conceptual thinking. Most INTPs take joy in the ability to become skilled in complicated concepts. An INTP often will position both others and their own honesty and accuracy, and they are often found with study habits that involve working in a somewhat organized fashion with any assignments, which may warrant a keen attention to detail. Most INTP Personality Types will pursue a general swift understanding of their assigned material and then use conceptualizations to find an underlying meaning behind the given facts. It is common for INTPs to value originality and typically prefer verifiable material to study. However, many INTPs have been known to want to develop their own guidelines for how they verify the material. When doing so, they generally will prefer to have a theory to give an idea a point of view and then use logic to direct their learning of the viewpoint. INTP Personality Types typically enjoy offering an analysis of innovative solutions, and when debating with others, they have been known to distinguish irregularities with ease. It is common for this personality type to even learn best in this type of debate-like environment. They commonly prefer to find solutions casually and without formal direction.

A potential drawback of the INTP Personality Type’s learning style could be that they may have trouble supplementing their submissions to assignments with specifics or with real-life representations. Due to their heightened intuitive function, an INTP may want to be mindful to include additional details before submitting their coursework. “Even tasks that seem to require imagination only, such as writing fiction, can be improved by attention to detail.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, P.9 CPP Inc.) Additionally, due to their innate inflated intuitive function, INTP types may desire the knowledge behind the information and due to their heightened perceiving function, they may look for every possible perspective on their assignments. These behaviors can both be helpful and detrimental to their studies. However, INTPs are known to fine-tune their concentration levels at the final moment prior to deadlines. These individuals may find their course load to be surprising, as INTPs often do not need to study as much in high school as they may be required to in college.

When it comes to an INTPs preferred instruction method, this personality type may favor a professor who consistently provides clearly expressed instruction through the presentation. They may also prefer a faculty member who empowers their students to express themselves with liberated thinking. INTP Personality Types also generally prefer a logical professor who is perceptibly motivational and interesting.

Reading and Writing

As discussed, many students who assess with an elevated Intuitive function are perceptive to the underlying significance of their assigned reading and will often look for the connections between the facts they learn. When doing so, they may fixate on the final outcome while seeking out the development of their plans by associating each of the steps within. It is common for INTP Personality Types to find reading to be a fundamental part of their education. They often are the type of person to be said to “read between the lines.” However, they are also the type who may get so immersed in their studies that they may become oblivious to the amount of time that has passed. “INTPs have also reported reading three to nine hours per week of non-required serious reading.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, P. 29, CPP Inc.)

When writing, INTPs tend to write their first drafts open-handedly, which may even be composed of many conflicting ideas and include all of the information he or she has learned on a particular subject. During the revision process, an INTP can improve their work by including real-life representations and by simplifying their ideas. It is common for INTPs to appear to procrastinate their writing assignments, though they do so for nothing other than wanting to learn everything available on the topic prior to beginning their project.

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

Write from ideas                                                                                       Strive for objectivity

Jot down ideas before writing.                                                              Provide reader with logical organization

Pause to think ahead while writing                                                      Critically analyze an argument

Find quiet to concentrate without interruptions                              Guided by criteria for a “Competent” product

Discuss concepts and implications                                                      Keep topic options open and flexible

Try out new approaches                                                                         Let deadlines motivate completion

Attend to interesting complexities                                                       Let multiple projects overlap

Say it with a flourish and with subtlety                                               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

Due to an INTPs heightened Intuitive function, they may enjoy planning for college, as this personality type typically is found focusing on possibilities for the future. When doing so, an INTP may prefer to make their college major selection with objectivity due to their increased Thinking Function. They may weigh the logical consequences of their options in a detached manner.  In order for an INTP to be able to move forward without any stress, they should allow themselves the ability to keep their options open. Typically, an ideal career path for them is a continuous journey for education or for stimulation. Many INTPs want to learn everything and may find it stressful to choose only one college major or even to choose which university to attend. However, when making this selection, INTPs typically seek an environment that sets importance on creativity and flexibility. Many view an ideal situation to be one allowing for the freedom for them to use special talents.

Taking a college major assessment can greatly help an INTP figure out which potential best-fit careers and college majors will fit their personality. These assessments can offer suggestions that may be based not only on their many interests but also on their innate behaviors.

INTPs are frequently found focusing on the following:

  • Law
  • Physical Science
  • Computers
  • Management
  • Research

*Abstracted from Introduction to Type in College (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, CPP Inc. P.5)

INTPs are also frequently found in pure sciences, mathematics, engineering, college teaching, computer analysis, or any field involving theory, such as philosophy or psychology.

Stress Management

When an INTP is stressed, they are likely not to show their discomfort to others. This personality type often views criticism and disagreement as constructive rather than taking it personally. Moreover, INTPs often will welcome tough critiques that help them to achieve accuracy and objectivity. However, the innate behavioral style of individuals with elevated Introverted functionality sets them at an increased risk of experiencing stress. For example, an INTP may lack social support, which can set them not to have an outlet for stressors related to schoolwork. Other behaviors an INTP may find to cause them to stress that they may not pay attention to details and may miss specific instructions given, or they may have a tendency to get consumed by their favorite courses and ignore all the others, which can lead to grades they are not fond of in their neglected classes. However, INTPs innately will adapt to outside encumbrances and have been known to use physical activity as their primary means of dealing with these stresses. It is important for INTPs to remember to take a break from their studies to find time for extracurricular activity in order to reduce their stress. Another factor in college that INTP Personality Types may find to be stressful is having to work under strict rules and regulations. These individuals typically will prefer flexibility and always have the option for change. INTPs also often do not want to have to be dependent on other students, and working in group situations can be stressful for them. They often avoid confrontation and being around others who have expressed having strong emotional outbursts. INTPs have been known to ignore people and situations in order to manage their own stresses. They should also be allowing time in their schedule to be alone and recharge their internal batteries. If an INTP is allowed this recovery time, they will be able to manage their stress in order to keep a healthy school and personal balance.

Learn More About the MBTI® INTP Personality Type

Explore additional information that delves deeper into the INTP 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)