The MBTI® ISFJ and College

The ISFJ Personality Types (Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Judging) generally stand out among others as individuals who are highly dependable. They also tend to genuinely care for others and often tirelessly work on other’s behalf.  When accepting responsibilities, ISFJs are known to go beyond their expectations. When doing so, this personality type often will place their trust in practical judgments and retain an appreciation for traditional functionality. They are often conservative and consistent. These introvertedly driven students tend to place their concentration on their own personal business, paying most of their consideration toward their own perspective, sentiment, and judgment. Having an Introverted personality supports that an individual gains energy by and directs their personal energy toward their own personal journey. An ISFJ Personality Type may be disinclined to hold leadership positions in group environments, however, this personality type has been known to step up for the task if asked. Additionally, ISFJs have been known to go to extreme lengths to help a roommate or friend in need.

Learning Styles and Being Studious

ISFJs tend to absorb the most information when they are given real-life representations to learn from. However, individuals with this personality type often prefer to study alone. Through their often detailed and meticulously factual work they are generally able to earn grades above what their aptitude scores predict. When studying, ISFJs generally require a quiet environment for optimal concentration.  One of their greatest strengths is their ability to remember and utilize a great quantity of factual information. Students with a heightened Sensing Function habitually look for established factual information to use for their assignments. Commonly, they also take the time to make sure the facts that they commit to memory are accurate. However, it is also true that ISFJs tend to trust their educational material as it is presented to them, so having a professor who an ISFJ can trust is important. This personality type also often has the ability to absorb the most information when they are allowed the time to gather and reflect on their thoughts. They generally find practical information to be the most effective for their studies and have been found to also want the ability to associate their studies with their personal life. However, most ISFJs do not find this task daunting as they are known to take an interest in several topics with no difficulty.

ISFJ Personality Type

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

ISFJs commonly prefer traditional methods of being taught and may find colleges with traditional values more appealing. Due to their heightened Judging function, it is common for them to arrange their schedule by putting their studies as a priority so that they may work progressively toward their goals. Furthermore, due to their elevated Sensing Function, an ISFJ may study by attempting to not only learn as many facts as possible but also strive to memorize their assigned work as well. Although they typically will have a disciplined means in doing so, a possible disadvantage of this learning style could be that an ISFJ may not correlate information to each other to find its commonality. This could be detrimental only because finding how pieces of information relate to each other is often what college professors are searching for when reviewing their students’ work. However, due to an ISFJs elevated Sensing Functionality, this personality type has a tendency to surpass their counterparts on exams which allows them to showcase their memorized facts or their understanding of how concepts are related to everyday life. In contrast, they may not succeed as well when given quantitative, multiple-choice exams as a result of their innate behavior of second-guessing their answers. It can be helpful for ISFJs to practice not only trusting their initial judgments for answering these types of questions but also to quickly make selections, especially for timed tests, and once finished, to return back for review and correction.

ISFJs are known to have the ability to follow complex instructions with ease. However, when given the ability to choose their professors, they generally prefer instructors who give clear lectures followed by straightforward assignments. It is common for ISFJs to enjoy having a hands-on experience and may be able to absorb more information when allowed in this type of environment. This personality type has been known to find delight in the ability to please their instructors and often learns best by being encouraged and appreciated in return. In conjunction, it is common for ISFJs to prefer to have instructors who they are able to establish a personal rapport with. This personality type generally will want their professors to be organized and dependable and be able to share their traditional values when it relates to their education.

Reading and Writing

ISFJs typically have extensive reading interests, which often involve life adventures or human-interest stories. When translating their knowledge to writing, it’s best for them to first record the facts that they are sure about and then build off that foundation.  When finalizing their work, they may need to revise final drafts by highlighting general themes discovered among the facts and then work on eliminating extraneous facts. Students who have a heightened Sensing Preference typically will write based on reality and on what they can assess with their five senses. More so than other personality types, these individuals use their sensed reality to factualize their happenings. Often ISFJs will place their concentration on utilitarian topics and events which may be happening to them in the moment. When these innate behaviors are transferred to writing, ISFJs are able to prepare works involving imagination and often exceed their professors’ expectations. However, in order to boost their grade, ISFJs can practice finding the underlying meaning behind the information they are learning. They can do this by practicing to quickly skim their assigned material and use this quick read to prepare outlines that show the correlation between the facts they have learned.

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

Write from ideas                                                                               Communicate personal viewpoint

Jot down ideas before writing                                                       Enliven content with human examples

Pause to think ahead while writing                                              Anticipate reader’s reaction

Find quiet to concentrate without interruptions                      Writing guided by sense of flow and overall tone

Report factual information                                                            Narrow options, decide topic quickly

Follow a format that worked before                                            Follow a set schedule to completion

Attend to instructions and mechanics                                        Work on one project at a time

Say it clearly, simply, and directly                                              Work from present materials

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

College Direction and Major Choice

When choosing a college major, it is common for ISFJs to take their time. This is a commonality because this personality type has a tendency to conduct research for their options with caution. Additionally, students with an elevated Feeling Function will commonly make their decisions based on personal reasons. These decisions may be made by considering what is most important to not only themselves, but also what is important to those closest to them. Even though they may weigh this information over an extended period of time, an ISFJ will often feel a sense of relief once a decision has been made. It is a common behavior of an individual with an elevated Judging Function to prefer closure and to have everything settled, so once this decision has been made, they will feel joy in moving on to the next steps. However, because introverted individuals often will do most of their thinking internally, others may find their decided plans to be unexpected. Taking a college major assessment can provide an ISFJ with a great set of data to take into consideration when researching their major.  Their main goal in choosing a major is to make sure that they find what they believe is an ideal job that provides both stability and a secure future. ISFJs tend to choose majors that prepare them for jobs in the human services market, including:

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

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

Stress Management

ISFJs should look out for specific stressors that are common to their personality type. One of the biggest stressors that ISFJs face is becoming overburdened by having agreed to assist too many others. The ISFJ Personality Type is commonly filled with joy when caring for the well-being of others, but they should take extra steps to ensure that they also care for themselves in order to manage their stress appropriately. Their strong connection to friends and family may also make it difficult for them to initially separate in order to begin their new college-independent life. ISFJ Personality Types have been known to lack self-confidence in regard to their social and even their academic abilities, which can lead to isolation and stress. It is important for individuals with this personality type to consistently work on developing their self-confidence. ISFJs can assist this process by learning to place additional trust in their initial hunches. They can even build confidence by trusting their imagination. Fortunately, ISFJs are naturally persevering and will often rely on their past experiences to confront their present challenges. Combining this innate perseverance with consistent development on being more assertive can lead an ISFJ to a much less stressful college experience. Other common stressors which ISFJs have stated to be a challenge in college often relate to group projects. If given a group project and an ISFJ is dependent on a member of their group who submits incomplete or sloppy work that affects the quality of his or her own work, the ISFJ may become upset. This personality type also often does not deal well with sudden change or having to change part of their work when a rationale is not provided. However, ISFJs have been known to find outlets for their stress. They have been known to not only confront their issues but also to speak to their peers and loved ones about their stresses. Some other outlets which are common to provide stress relief among ISFJs are spending time alone, seeking advice from others, and seeking out assistance with managing their priorities.

Learn More About the MBTI ISFJ Personality Type

Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ENFJ 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)