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Personality Type and College Choice

By a Student, Quentin Adams
Personality type is something very important to consider when deciding on the college or university that is right for you. Are you introverted or extroverted? What kind of people do you get along with, or have problems with, as it were? Above all, you need to think about yourself as an actual student at the particular college or university and try hard to imagine the effects your natural personality type would have on your studies and, perhaps more importantly, your interactions with other people: students and professors specifically.

Lets assume for the sake of example you are introverted. This does not necessarily imply shy, but it does mean you naturally turn your focus inwards and thus exert a great deal of energy when having to deal with large groups of people. Consider carefully what this implies about your choice of college. The thrill and excitement that is often characteristic of large, sport's loving universities means that, at least in principle, students who are more extroverted (gain energy from social interaction-focus attention on outside world) might find this type of environment more stimulating. Now as an introvert, you may like the idea of a large, exciting student body, but be aware that to share in this excitement, you would be going against your natural ways of retiring to your inner world.

I think this distinction is particularly relevant with regard to class size and professor/student interaction. As an introvert, would you truly feel comfortable going up to your professor amidst the large crowd of students already waiting in line? Would you be okay with not getting personalized feedback from your professor? Consider that at a large university, your natural introverted need for depth and discussion cannot necessarily be met. It could mean a year or two going by before you make it into smaller classes and, by that time, you may have already grown frustrated and get down on yourself and the school you have chosen to attend.

Having said this, I now arrive at my biggest piece of advice for you future college students, and it comes in the form of, you guessed it, a personality test! And though I respect this particular test as being both accurate and fairly consistent, it is important to realize this is not an all encompassing view of you as a person, nor is it designed to make decisions for you. However, I believe what it should do is give you guidance based upon the characteristics it reveals of your natural personality. What you will come to realize is that this test does not explain your uniquely individualized traits, but rather defines a set of preferences by which you operate and make decisions.

Now to take the test, go online and type in 'MBTI test' into your search bar. There are several different versions and I would certainly recommend taking multiple tests. The ones I have found most helpful are:,, and

Another option you have is to learn about the different types and try to get a sense of where you fit in relation to those types. Just as a brief overview, there are 16 types of Myers-Briggs personalities ('MBTI' stands for Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). Thus, there are four categories that you are tested on and each one has two possibilities. The first is between Introversion and Extroversion (I or E), the second is between Sensing or Intuition (S or N), the third between Thinking and Feeling (T or F) and the fourth between Judging or Perceiving (J or P) The example student mentioned earlier was considered and introvert, meaning an 'I' would be one of his letters. When you have completed the test, you will be given a four letter type such as 'INTP.'

Again, this typology method is more geared towards giving you, the student, a reference point to make difficult decisions from. It should assist you in learning a bit more about yourself and what kind of environments you would or would not thrive in. Remember not to take it to heart that you should fit all the descriptions of your specific type; these characteristics represent a broad view of that type and are not necessarily personal. You will also find that attached to any one type is whats called a 'temperament.' Learning about your type's temperament can also be very helpful.

Hopefully, understanding your personality type will help you consider your college choices with more care, and allow you then to make the decision that best suits you as an individual. Figure out what you need to thrive and do your best; you'll be much happier for it!

Student: UT Austin

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