The MBTI® ISFP and College

Individuals assessing as an ISFP Personality Type (Introverted-Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving) are often seen as both reserved and amiable. They generally are loyal companions who customarily do not care to influence others. They tend to prefer to “go with the flow” while enjoying their present-day environment. ISFPs have been known to have a suppressed sense of humor and innately embrace relaxation. This personality type generally seeks to please others and will often avoid disagreements in the circumstance of the possibility of doing so. These students with a heightened introversion preference generally tend to concern themselves primarily with their own internal universe, paying attention to their own personal philosophies, beliefs, and sentiments. This personality type is known to not only gain their energy from their internal experiences but also to direct their energy inward as well. Additionally, an ISFP has an innate preference to commonly focus on viable circumstances in their immediate present environment. However, these individuals also have a heightened Perceiving Preference, which may cause them to have an inclination to conform to their external environment as well. When doing so, most ISFPs will place high importance on their personal values.

Learning Styles and Being Studious

ISFPs may come into their college environment feeling like they are fighting an uphill battle. This is often due to their belief that high school did not properly prepare them for the amount of work that their college professors assign. ISFPs often jump into their college experience with the goal of acquiring a basic general education and may get much more out of the experience than they had imagined. This personality type often can absorb the most information when allowed time to study alone in a quiet environment.

ISFP Personality Type

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

It is common for ISFPs to state that having this is vital to their concentration. Additionally, whenever possible, studying in comfortable environments, such as the outdoors, can also assist an ISFP with information retention. These individuals often learn best when given the opportunity to rest and reflect on what they have just been taught. Due to an ISFP’s elevated Perceiving function, they will often search out particular facts, which they often then have no trouble memorizing. When learning, an ISFP may find applicable information to have the most merit in their studies. Also, most prefer to be able to relate to their assigned material on a personal level. However, when doing so, most ISFPs are able to find something to identify with easily. This personality type commonly enjoys finding solutions to assigned problems spontaneously and in an informal manner. They generally enjoy innovation and have been known to complete their assignments with an impulsive approach, which may include large energy surges.

ISFP Personality Types have been known to have keen regard for the direction given to them by their professors, however, they also tend to prefer to have a clear lecture to follow. These individuals tend to prefer a hands-on approach to learning and generally absorb the most information when they have an instructor who is captivating and motivational. Because many ISFPs will try to gratify the wishes of their professors, they may seek out instructors who have a reputation for establishing a personal rapport with their students or those who show heightened encouragement and appreciation. Conjointly, ISFPs generally do not question material their instructors introduce to them. “There are three times as many students who prefer Sensing and Perceiving as there are faculty with this combination.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, P.7 CPP Inc.) Therefore, an ISFP who may prefer a flexible approach to the material may need to learn to operate outside of their comfort zone in order to adhere to their Intuitive-Judging professors.

Reading and Writing

ISFPs tend to spend very little time reading non-required serious texts, therefore, inspiration for collegiate writing can be tough for this personality type. However, writing becomes less problematic for them when they are assigned a topic that holds their interest. When writing, an ISFP may need to revise their final drafts by adding a firm conclusion or by editing out excessive factual information. In doing so, the revision will generally facilitate work that has a focused structure. These students who have an increased Sensing Function generally use their senses to understand their reality, and this will also carry through to their reading and writing.  For example, when writing, an ISFP may use more adjective words than other personality types.

During exams which primary are composed of essay questions, ISFP Personality Types with a heightened Sensing function may attempt a “mind dump,” regurgitating everything they know.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, P.10, CPP Inc.). This is generally due to an ISFP anticipating the absolute amount of information will amaze their instructor.  This personality type may also believe that “facts speak for themselves” and often will fail to summarize their writing or draw conclusions from the patterns.

The typical writing approach which ISFPs 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                                                                          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

ISFPs generally prefer to keep their college major and available career path options open-ended. Typically, these individuals have an initial goal for college to receive a general education, so finding a specialized focus that they can be happy with often is an extended process. When making this decision, an ISFP may tap into their heightened Feeling Function and decide by weighing alternatives, using what is personally most important to them or to others close to them. ISFPs have been known to base their decisions on idiosyncratic, person-centered values.  They generally prefer to keep their possibilities open to any new experiences or to include all new information that may turn up. Additionally, students who assess as Introverted and Perceiving often will want to delay their college major selection until they can consider all options and are able to do so at their own pace. When an ISFP can rely on the knowledge that their decision is not final and can be modified later, they will be able to proceed to the next step. “Their style of decision making often reflects a struggle between the information coming to them from the outer world (which can be overwhelming) and their attempt to be true to their inner world.” (Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, P. 5, CPP Inc.)  These individuals have been known to have a constant learning process and an ongoing decision-making process, which allows them to find new paths and information along the way.

Taking a college major assessment can help narrow down choices, and ISFPs often end up in fields where they can serve others, work with their hands, or focus on expressing their love for nature.  ISFPs often choose majors in:

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

Additionally, ISFP Personality Types are often found in fields demanding craftsmanship and in fields working with animals.

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

Stress Management

ISFPs may find a substantial amount of their stress to be linked to their own undervaluation of their academic potential. They often understate their gifts and may take for granted what they excel in. They tend to be too trusting of others and often criticize too little, even when criticism is warranted. In order to reduce their stress levels, an ISFP may want to consider working on time management or study skills. ISFPs innately tend to lower their stress levels by enjoying the present moment and it can be helpful for them also to learn to appreciate and reward themselves for their accomplishments. Commonly, Introverted-Perceiving types will utilize physical exercise primarily for managing their stress, but ISFPs generally will favor social supports as their top stress management outlet. A common stressor for this personality type is for them to have several assignments given to them at once or for them to have several responsibilities on a project. An ISFP may also become stressed when placed under strict time pressures or if they feel they were not given the appropriate amount of time to complete a project. Additionally, if an ISFP is dealing with confrontational peers or is part of a group project which may include a member who is behaving in a demanding or controlling fashion, the ISFP may become upset. When this happens, it may not be visible to others in an ISFPs immediate circle, and it will be important for an individual with this personality type to find time to reflect and engage in a relaxing activity in order to decompress their stress. ISFP Personality Types may also want to find a way to refocus themselves in a positive manner in order to reduce their stress levels. Most importantly, finding someone to talk to when stress is unbearable will be a valuable stress management tool for not only ISFPs but for anyone with heightened introverted personality functionality.

Learn More About the MBTI ISFP Personality Type

Explore additional information that delves deeper into the ISFP 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)