Best Colleges for ESFJs

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ENFJs represent about twelve percent of the population, making them one of the most popular personalities. Given a tendency to relish the limelight, their popularity makes sense, especially because they value the opinions of others more than any other type. In fact they often find themselves in positions of power due to their charismatic ability to please and care for others. Bill Clinton and Taylor Swift, for example, exhibit the typical behavior of ESFJ. Leading. Befriending. Caring for their fellows. These behaviors exhibit the typical reasons people flock to and study ESFJs like they were model citizens—they usually are. ESFJs also do a good job of following the rules and traditions of society. They don’t tend to rock the boat or thumb their noses at authority. They trust and have faith in the altruism of their fellow citizens, suiting them well to serve society for the greater good. Of course, that doesn’t mean ENFJs fails to let their hair down. Quite the contrary. They are among the most fun-loving and generous with their time and resources on the extraverted spectrum, and they use social gatherings to stay connected with old friends and make new acquaintances, always trying to ensure all parties are happy. This list of universities is designed to aid ESFJs find exactly those friends and exactly that happiness.

Looking for advice on what type of school and major to choose? Check out our Interview Series. Are you an ESFJ? Check out our Best Career and College Advice for ESFJs from 3 Successful ESFJs.

Methodology:

Approval Rating (1/5): Because ESFJs place a high premium on the opinions of others—and especially those of their elders and authorities—we took the sum of a college or university’s scores out of five according to high school counselors and peer institutions, then ranked and scored that sum on a 20-point scale so that schools with the highest scores according to others would rise to the top.

Social Opportunities (1/5): Because ESFJs are among the most social of all types, we took a college or university’s Total Enrollment number and divided that by its Total Number of Clubs and Organizations. This gave us the number of students per club and organization. We then ranked and scored that number on a 20-point scale so that universities with the highest number of students per club and organization would make ESFJ’s Top 25.

Practicality (1/5): Because ESFJs are highly practical, delighting in day-to-day tasks like bill-pay and routine maintenance to help cultivate a certain status that prevents them feeling less than their peers, we factored in a college or university’s Average Student Debt according to the percentage of its students who graduate with such debt. We then ranked and scored that number on a 20-point scale, so colleges and universities who graduate students with the lowest average student loan debt would rise to the top.

Generosity (1/5): Because ESFJs possess a strong sense of duty and are generally very generous with their time and resources, we accounted for a college or university’s Alumni Giving Rank according to U.S. News. We then scored that number on a 20-point scale, so that schools with a high alumni giving rate would make ESFJ’s Top 25.

Prestige (1/5): Because ESFJs place a lot of stock in the status of the groups they join, we made sure to take U.S. News’ rankings into consideration, scoring each college or university’s U.S. News rank on a 20-point scale. This way, only the most prestigious schools would rise to the top.

1. Washington and Lee University

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One of the most competitive and tradition-driven Liberal Arts schools in the nation, Washington and Lee scores well by all indicators. Showing a perfect 20/20 for practicality, only 1 in every 3 of its students graduate with student loan debt, and this at a time when the national average is greater than two in every three. That means W&L accommodates ESFJ’s sense of financial responsibility outstandingly well for liberal arts schools. The university also scores well for generosity and prestige at 19/20 for both indicators, making it a great fit for ESFJs who would be proud to have a prestigious alma mater. And ultimately, with an above-average 23 students per campus organization and a combined approval rating of 7.9/10, or 79% among to high school counselors and peer institutions, Washington and Lee is a veritable social haven for gregarious ESFJs who trust in the wisdom of tradition.

Composite Score: 88

2. Amherst College

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Located on a thousand-acre campus in small town-rural Massachusetts, Amherst College ranks 2nd on U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings, giving it a perfect score for prestige. Amherst also does very well by practicality and generosity indicators, scoring a perfect 20/20 for the former and a near-perfect 19/20 for the latter. What it lacks in social opportunities with its potential for only 17 students per club and organization, it makes up for in approval rating, with a perfect 20/20 for its combined 9.1 or 91% approval rating according to high school counselors and peer institutions combined. This means Amherst is an excellent fit for the practical and status-minded ESFJ, especially one who doesn’t mind existing a bit off the grid in terms of location and can appreciate a small-town atmosphere with plenty of esprit de corps.

Composite Score: 87

3. University of Pennsylvania

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Nationally recognized as an Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania performs well by prestige with a near-perfect 19/20, coming in 9th by U.S. News’ Best National Universities 2016. For practicality and generosity, UPenn scores consistent 18’s out of 20, making it an excellent fit for budget-conscious ESFJs who take pride in their membership with a similarly generous student body. That large student body of over 21,000 students offers the average ratio of students per organization at a national university with the potential for 61 students per campus group, placing it right above the 50th percentile with an 11/20 for social opportunities. It also performs far above average with approval ratings, scoring a perfect 20/20 with a 9.2 or 92% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. In other words, ESFJs will find that the University of Pennsylvania satisfies all of their needs for a school with high standards.

Composite Score: 86

4. Bowdoin College

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One of the oldest liberal arts schools in the nation, Bowdoin College was founded in 1794 in southern Maine at the historic town of Brunswick. Earning perfect scores for prestige, generosity, and practicality, Bowdoin is an excellent home for the socially and fiscally conscious ESFJ whose extraversion thrives in a tight-knit community that takes pride in its traditions. While it scores in the 30th percentile for social opportunities at liberal arts schools with the potential for only 16 students per campus group, it performs well by approval, scoring 18/20 with an 8.9 or 89% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. This means that Bowdoin is particularly well thought of, and that, despite its place in a small town, it provides big-time influence in the way of offering a certain level of social capital beyond campus.

Composite Score: 84

5. Harvard University

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Known as one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it goes without saying that Harvard University earns a perfect score for prestige. It does the same for approval, garnering a 9.9 or 99% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Harvard also scores consistent 19’s out of 20 for alumni generosity and fiscal practicality, showing itself to be an excellent fit for ESFJs concerned with paying for college upfront and contributing later to their alma mater. The only indicator Harvard does not earn a perfect (or near-perfect) score for is social opportunities, for which it places in the 25th percentile among national universities with a below average student-to-organization ratio that only allows for the potential of 45 students per campus group. Of course, Harvard is Harvard, and whatever gaps it may have in the sociability department due to its busy student body, ESFJs are sure to make up for when they arrive on campus at this most famous of national and world universities.

Composite Score: 83

6. Williams College

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Williams is a small town-rural liberal arts college in western Massachusetts that ranked 1st according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings, earning it a 20/20 for prestige. By generosity and practicality, Williams also scores very well, with a 20 and 19, respectively, making it one of the best liberal arts colleges for giving, yet fiscally responsible ESFJs. What it lacks in social opportunities with the potential for only 13 students per organization, Williams more than makes up for in approval ratings, netting a 9.4 or 94% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Undoubtedly, this small liberal arts school makes big things happen for those socially ambitious and community conscious ESFJs who grace its hallowed halls.

Composite Score: 82

7. Princeton University (tie)

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Receiving the rank of 1st according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 National University ranking list, Princeton University is arguably the most prestigious school on ESFJ’s list. It scores perfect 20’s out of 20 for prestige, generosity, and approval rating, making it a superb fit for the popular, giving, and socially conscious ESFJ. What it lacks in the way of social opportunities by landing in the 10th percentile for its student-to-organization ratio, Princeton makes up for with practicality: less than one in every five of its students graduate with student loan debt, the lowest of any college or university in ESFJ’s Top 10. This is to say, no matter how deep its students noses may be buried in their books, Princeton’s value comes from its prestige and practicality, so that ESFJs who are fortunate enough to matriculate will likely find themselves in the limelight of the rest of the nation, who will look to them for what to do next with their educations.

Composite Score: 81

7. Colby College (tie)

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The first all-male college to accept female students in 1871, Colby College is a small liberal arts school located in southern Maine. Scoring consistently in the 90th percentile with 18’s out of 20 for prestige, generosity, and approval rating, Colby is an excellent fit for socially gifted and giving ESFJs who are respectful of both the traditions and the opinions of others. What Colby lacks in the way of social opportunities, scoring in the 40th percentile for its low ratio of students per organization, it makes up for in the way of practicality: only one in every three of its students graduates with student loan debt at a time when the national average is two in every three. With these lower than average student loan debt numbers and consistently high scores for three other indicators, Colby College more than satisfies ESFJ’s high standards for the institutions they prefer to make themselves a part of.

Composite Score: 81

7. College of the Holy Cross (tie)

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Built on a 174-acre campus in the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, College of the Holy Cross is a private, Roman Catholic, and Jesuit liberal arts college. True to its Christian roots, Holy Cross graduates one of the most generous bodies of alumni, earning it a 19/20 for alumni giving. Also scoring consistent 17’s out of 20 for its prestigious rank of 32nd among Liberal Arts Colleges and above-average ratio of students-to-organizations, College of the Holy Cross is well-suited to highly sociable ESFJs who are driven by a respect for the rules. Holy Cross’s appeal to ESFJ’s respectability is reinforced by its 7.7 or 77% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions, along with its practicality score, which at 12/20, places it in the 60th percentile for a graduating 59% of students with student loan debt, a rate 10% lower than the national average of 69%. In other words, ESFJs (and especially those who are also Christians) will find College of the Holy Cross to be a particularly excellent fit.

Composite Score: 81

7. Connecticut College (tie)

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Nestled in the North Atlantic coastal city of New London, Connecticut College was founded as a women’s liberal arts college in 1911. Although it began admitting men in 1969, the college retains its liberal arts status, and it does so with a great reputation, placing inside U.S. News’ Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges. Conn College also scores very well for practicality and social opportunity, earning 18’s out of 20 for both indicators, placing it in the 90th percentile for most preferred universities among the fiscally conscious and socially outgoing ESFJ. It also scores well for approval, netting a 7.6 or 76% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Although its generosity score is lower than some at 14/20, it still performs better than 70 percent of liberal arts schools for that indicator, making its alumni more generous than most. So, ESFJs will surely find Conn College an excellent fit for their desire to give unto others.

Composite Score: 81

11. Stanford College (tie)

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Recognized as one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it’s no surprise Stanford makes ESFJ’s reputable list. Scoring a perfect 20/20 for prestige, Stanford also performs stunningly well for approval with an approval rating of 9.8 or 98% among high school counselors and peer institutions. What Stanford may lack in social opportunities with the potential for only 26 students per organization, it certainly makes up for in practicality and generosity. Less than one in every four Stanford graduates leave campus with student loan debt, which places it in the 95th percentile for practicality. It does the same for generosity, ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 10 universities with the highest alumni giving rate. That makes this California crown jewel a perfect fit for a brilliant, financially conscious, socially cognizant, and reputably generous ESFJ.

Composite Score: 80

11. Duke University (tie)

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Regarded as one of the key vertices which outline the famous North Carolina Research Triangle, Duke University ranks high for ESFJs because of its prestige and approval ratings. Receiving 20’s out of 20 for both these indicators, Duke ranks in U.S. News’ Top 10 Best National Universities and merits a 9.2 or 92% cumulative approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions, meaning that ESFJs with the need for prestige and positive opinions from on high will feel a strong pull towards Duke. It unfortunately scores below the 50th percentile for social opportunities with its potential for only 40 students per organization, but it does particularly well for practicality and generosity, scoring an 18 and 19 out of 20 for these indicators, respectively. These scores in the 90th and 95th percentile stem from its relatively low, 36% student loan debt among graduates, as well as its spot inside U.S. News’ Top 20 colleges with the highest alumni giving rates. All this makes Duke a great fit for socially ambitious ESFJs who balance their sense of financial responsibility with a high degree of generosity.

Composite Score: 80

11. The Johns Hopkins University (tie)

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One of the most groundbreaking research centers in the world, Johns Hopkins University was also considered the first research university in the United States. Inasmuch, it scores supremely well for prestige with a 19/20 for its place among U.S. News’ Top 10 National Universities, as well as a 20/20 for its 9.5 or 95% cumulative approval rating from high school counselors and peer institutions. Although it scores in the 40th percentile for social opportunities with its potential for 54 students per organization, Johns Hopkins makes up for this loss with practicality and generosity, indicators for which it scores in the 70th and 95th percentiles, respectively. This makes Johns Hopkins a great fit for ESFJs who are compassionate about using their sociability, financial responsibility, and research skills to give back to the societies they admire as they care for the greater good.

Composite Score: 80

11. Swarthmore College (tie)

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One of the earliest co-educational liberal arts colleges in the U.S. since its founding in 1861, Swarthmore tends to rise ahead of the social curve. Earning a 20/20 for prestige, the suburban Pennsylvania school ranks 3rd on U.S. News’ Best Liberal Arts Colleges of 2016, placing it in the 99th percentile for reputation. This spot in the rankings is rivalled only by the college’s approval rating of 9.1 or 91% among high school counselors and peer institutions, making it an excellent school for those who, like ESFJ, respect the authority of those in a position to know it. Despite scoring in the 10th percentile for social opportunities, Swarthmore performs very well by practicality and generosity standards, earning a 19 and 18 out of 20 for these indicators, respectively. Undoubtedly, a socially active but somewhat private ESFJ would feel right at home among Swarthmore’s student body, which continues to participate in a rich history of social activism.

Composite Score: 80

11. Barnard College (tie)

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Among the most prestigious all-women’s liberal arts schools in the nation, Barnard College scores in the 85th percentile for prestige, ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges. Even greater, the NYC college earns 18’s out of 20 for approval ratings and social opportunities, placing it in the 90th percentile for approval among high school counselors and peer institutions, as well as student-to-organization ratio at a liberal arts school with the potential to host 33 students per group. Although Barnard’s performance isn’t as strong for practicality and generosity, it still places above average for these indicators with spots in the 80th and 55th percentiles, respectively. In other words, smart young women who test ESFJ will find Barnard an appropriate match with their socially outgoing and fiscally practical personality.

Composite Score: 80

16. Yale University (tie)

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The revered Ivy League university of New Haven will undoubtedly ring some bells for ESFJs who know their who’s-who of colleges and universities. Yale scores perfect 20’s out of 20 for both prestige and approval, earning the rank of 3rd by U.S. News’ National University Rankings and a 9.7 or 97 percent approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Indeed, it scores a 20/20 for practicality as well, graduating only 16 percent of its student body with student loan debt, the lowest of any school on ESFJ’s list. And although its social opportunities could use a boost with the potential for only 25 students per organization, placing it in the 5th percentile for national universities, it has a stellar alumni giving rate, scoring in the 90th percentile for generosity. So while ESFJs at Yale may have a little difficulty finding a smattering of well-attended student organizations, they will undoubtedly appreciate the prestige, popular approval, and generous alumni network that comes from studying in this most challenging of learning environments.

Composite Score: 79

16. University of Chicago (tie)

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As the windy city’s most well-known, large private research university, the University of Chicago and its urban setting are bound to excite ESFJ’s extraversion. Its perfect scores for prestige and generosity place it in the 99th percentile for ESFJs who want a socially conscious, giving school with a great reputation. Additionally it scores another perfect 20/20 for approval with its 9.2 or 92% rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. All three of these perfect scores make up for University of Chicago’s low score for social opportunities, which is somewhat lacking with the potential for only 28 students per organization, placing it in the 10th percentile for national universities. However, UChicago makes up for this performance again by doing well by practicality, graduating only 2 in every 5 students with student loan debt at a time when the national average is 2 in every 3. The University of Chicago is a very good fit for ESFJs looking for an urban location with a large student body and a regionally, nationally, and internationally renowned reputation, as well as a high level of alumni satisfaction.

Composite Score: 79

16. Middlebury College (tie)

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Middlebury is the first U.S. institution to have granted a bachelor’s degree to an African American in the year 1823, making it a college that ESFJs would appreciate as school that has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to taking actions that are socially inspiring. An exceptional liberal arts college, Middlebury earns a perfect score for prestige and generosity, performing very well by approval as well with an 8.6 or 86 percent rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Situated in small town-rural Middlebury, Vermont, the college is somewhat remote, which partially explains its low score for social opportunities with the potential for only 14 students per organization, placing it in the 20th percentile for liberal arts colleges. However, Middlebury performs very well for practicality, placing in the 85th percentile for liberal arts colleges with less than half of its student body graduating with student loan debt. In other words, Middlebury is a great fit for the socially active, and occasionally private ESFJ who is generous with their time and resources at the same time as they are financially responsible.

Composite Score: 79

16. Wellesley College (tie)

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One of the most renowned all-women’s liberal arts colleges in the U.S., Wellesley also allows its students to cross-register at MIT and other well-known colleges close to its Massachusetts home. Scoring perfect 20’s out of 20 for both prestige and approval, Wellesley ticks all of ESFJs boxes for needing to attend a reputable institution that does well by popular opinion. Although its social opportunities run low in the 25 percentile with the potential for only 15 students per campus organization, Wellesley more than makes up for this deficit with generosity, scoring a near-perfect 19/20 for alumni giving. It also does well by practicality, scoring an above average 15/20, which places it squarely in the 75th percentile for having a student loan debt graduation rate fourteen points below the national average. When it comes down to attending a college where socially mobile ESFJs can graduate happy, Wellesley couldn’t be a better pick.

Composite Score: 79

16. Vassar College (tie)

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An exceptional liberal arts school located in upstate Poughkeepsie, New York, Vassar College performs above average for all ESFJ’s indicators. Scoring a 19 out of 20 for prestige, it places in the 95 percentile for reputation, while its approval rating of 8.8 or 88% among high school counselors and peer institutions, placing it in the 90th percentile for approval. Vassar’s social opportunities also place it in the 70th percentile for its potential to host 23 students per organization, and its lower-than-average student loan debt graduation rate of 57% places it in the 65th percentile for practicality. And finally, its above-average alumni giving rank places it inside U.S. News’ Top 50 highest giving liberal arts colleges, firmly in the 75th percentile for generosity. All this makes Vassar a great all-around fit for socially active and status conscious ESFJs, who will likely find its location in upstate New York as charming as they can be.

Composite Score: 79

16. Bates College (tie)

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Best known for its academic rigor and social inclusivity, Bates College in Lewiston, Maine is an excellent fit for ESFJs determined to make a difference. Bates scores well above average for four indicators: prestige, approval ratings, practicality, and generosity. It places in the 90th percentile for prestige, approval ratings, and practicality with 18’s out of 20 for all metrics. For generosity, it places in the 95th percentile with its high alumni giving rate, which is usually a great alumni happiness index, making it one of the best colleges for ESFJ’s sense of loyalty and drive to make others happy. And although its social opportunities are slightly below average with the potential for only 16 students per student organization, this is likely due to the college’s commitment to social inclusivity, which it believes certain exclusive student organizations can sometimes inhibit. Bates’ open learning environment will appeal to ESFJ’s high level of extraversion, permitting them the energy they need to make the difference that Bates will help their personality achieve.

Composite Score: 79

16. Bucknell College (tie)

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Nestled on 445 acres in the small town-rural borough of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Bucknell College does an excellent job of staying connected with reputable institutions, communities and places where ESFJ’s extraversion will flourish. A highly reputable institution, Bucknell ranks inside U.S. News’ Top 40 Liberal Arts Colleges for 2016, earning it a 17/20 for prestige. This reputation is reflected in the college’s approval numbers, which when combined, reach an 8.1 or 81% approval rating according to high school counselors and peer institutions. That places it in the 90th percentile for approval. Bucknell also lands firmly in the 75th percentile for practicality and generosity, scoring 15/20 for both indicators, making it above average when it comes to cultivating a lower than average student debt rate, as well as a happy alumni body. And, largely due to its connections with surrounding institutions and communities (but also due to its socially active student body) Bucknell scores well above average for social opportunities at liberal arts schools with the potential for 24 students per organization, meaning ESFJ will never feel left out on Bucknell’s beautiful campus, or once they leave it, degree in hand.

Composite Score: 79

23. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT (tie)

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As the most respected math and science center in the United States, MIT is unsurpassed in its appeal to ESFJs who have career interests in the STEM fields. It earns perfect scores for prestige and approval, placing in the 99th percentile for both indicators, tying only with Harvard for its 9.9 or 99% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. Although it places in the 5th percentile for social opportunities at national universities with the potential for only 25 students per organization, MIT outstrips this deficit with its near-perfect performance in generosity and practicality, for which it places in the 95th and 90th percentile, scoring a 19 and 18 out of 20, respectively. That makes MIT an excellent fit for ESFJs who are logically inclined to desire only the best STEM education for themselves and others.

Composite Score: 78

23. Brown University (tie)

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The Rhode Island Ivy League university is one of the first institutions of higher learning in the U.S., founded in 1764. With all that time to build a name for itself, Brown performs substantially well for approval, scoring 20/20 for its 9.2 or 92% approval rating among high school counselors and peer institutions. For prestige, it scores 19/20, placing it in the 95th percentile for reputation. While its social opportunities could use a boost with the potential for only 23 students per organization at a national university, it scores near-perfect 19’s out of 20 for practicality and generosity, placing it again in the 95th percentile for both these indicators. That makes it an excellent fit for fiscally responsible yet giving ESFJs with their eyes on the prize of earning a degree from an historic American university with a great reputation.

Composite Score: 78

23. University of Southern California (tie)

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The University of Southern California’s LA campus is home to the Golden State’s oldest private research university. Over time, USC has garnered a reputation for being one of the best schools in the western U.S., and its score for prestige underscores that reputation with an 18/20, placing it in the 90th percentile for that indicator. USC scores in that same percentile for approval, with 8.3 or 83% approval ratings among high school counselors and peer institutions. Indeed, it is also highly thought-of by alumni, whose giving rate places it in the 95th percentile for generosity, which suggests its graduates tend to be very happy with USC’s return on investment. Although its social opportunities score may be slightly below average with the potential for only 50 students per organization at a national university, it performs markedly well for practicality, scoring well above-average for graduating less than half of its student body with student loan debt. All this makes the University of Southern California a great fit for socially conscious, friendly, and practical-yet-generous ESFJ.

Composite Score: 78

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