The 25 Best Colleges for INTPs

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Known as the “Logician” for their reliance on cold hard logic, INTPs are fairly rare, representing between 1 and 5 percent of the population. Often advancing their views in a way that challenges existing norms, INTPs delight in noting life’s little contradictions and all their paradoxical glory. Albeit contrarians who love to play the devil’s advocate, they are also adept problem solvers, and they have a high tolerance for abstract thought, occasionally losing themselves (and others) in deep thought. As lone wolves, they prefer their own company to that of others, but this doesn’t mean they are total recluses. Indeed, they are wise enough to recognize when they need the benefit of another opinion, and they usually depend on their closest friends’ and colleagues’ eyes and ears to reach their most creative conclusions. Such creativity—and the passion which attends it—is what pumps the lifeblood of this most critical and innovative personality type. This list of colleges and universities is designed to help INTPs think through and find an institutional body that best fits them and their highly analytical mind.

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

Methodology:

Class Size (1/5): Because INTPs are one of the quiet types whose primary mode of being is internal (i.e., they tend to prefer solitude over surrounding themselves with company), we factored in each college or university’s percentage of classes with less than 20 students, then ranked and scored these numbers on a 20-point scale so that schools with the smallest class size would rise to the top.

Selectivity (1/5): Because INTPs choose their friends and colleagues carefully, we figured they’d want to attend a college that is similarly selective. So, we assembled each school’s Selectivity Rank according to U.S. News and then scored those numbers on a 20-point scale. This way, only the most choosy schools would make INTP’s list.

Support for Student Ideas (1/5): Because INTPs are abstract thinkers who enjoy the support that comes from bouncing their ideas off of like-minded intellectuals, we determined a college or university’s ratio of organizations per student. Then, to account for the relative support each institution’s student groups could potentially provide, we ranked and scored that ratio so schools with the most groups per student would rise to the top.

Prestige (1/5): Because INTPs prefer intellectual sparring with groups of highly intelligent friends and colleagues, we accounted for each college or university’s rank according to U.S. News, scoring that rank on a 20-point scale so that only the most prestigious and intellectually challenging schools would make INTP’s list.

Creative Communities (1/5): Because INTPs are among the most imaginative, creative and small community-driven types, we gauged each college and university’s participation in creative communities, i.e., campus initiatives set up for creative exploration within the surrounding community via cultural programming, campus radio shows, or student-led tutoring in the arts and sciences. After gauging participation on a scale from 1 to 5—schools with more than 4 mentions of creative communities on their site received 5’s while those with 1-4 mentions received 1’s, 2’s, 3’s or 4’s—we ranked and scored each institution on a 20-point scale so that schools with the most creative communities would rise to the top.

1. Claremont McKenna College

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Consistently ranked among the nation’s Top 10 Liberal Arts Colleges, Claremont McKenna College of Claremont, California earns a perfect score for prestige, weighing in at 9th for U.S. News’ Best Schools 2016. With 1 student group for every 6 students and greater than 5 initiatives for creative engagement with the community both on and off campus, it earns the same perfect score for creative communities and support for student ideas. Claremont McKenna provides a very small, tight-knit campus community that chooses its students carefully to suit each other’s’ needs, so it also scores near-perfect 19’s out of 20 for selectivity and class size, ranking inside the Top 10 most selective schools in the nation and enrolling over over 80% of its classes with less than 20 students. Amid all of this high achievement and an intimate learning setting that is highly conducive to intellectual exchange, INTPs are sure to feel right at home on this Golden State campus, only 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Composite Score: 98

2. Williams College

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Nestled on 450 acres in rural, northwestern Massachusetts, Williams ranks consistently among U.S. News’ Best Liberal Arts Colleges, earning a perfect score for prestige at 1st in 2016. It earns the same for selectivity, and a near-perfect 19/20 for class size, enrolling over 75% of its classes with less than 20 students. INTPs will find Williams’ support for student ideas to be strong with 1 group for every 13 students, engendering a large and diverse network of student groups that hold together a large and diverse network of student ideas. This enthusiasm for ideas is mirrored in Williams’ student-led creative communities, which include but are not limited to a campus radio show, as well as an entire Center for Creative Community Development dedicated to researching the impact of creative communities everywhere. INTPs will thus recognize Williams as an exceptional fit for their desire to analyze and engage the community with like-minded fellows.

Composite Score: 97

3. Hamilton College

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Known as a “Little Ivy” liberal arts schools in the U.S. Northeast, Hamilton College performs exceptionally well for creative communities, earning a perfect score of 20/20. These communities include various and collaborative student-led initiatives like creative writing therapy at hospitals, urban renewal projects in surrounding Utica, and an active College in Prison Program designed to “impact the lives of students and society at large” by helping inmates earn real college credit. Hamilton scores near-perfect 19’s out of 20 for prestige, support for student ideas, and selectivity, all by placing inside U.S. News’ Top 20 Liberal Arts College, maintaining a ratio of 1 student organization per 10 students, and ranking inside the Top 15 most selective liberal arts schools in the nation. INTPs will also find Hamilton’s class sizes highly suitable to their desire for small, intimate learning environments that foster maximal intellectual exchange, enrolling 74% of its classes with less than 20 students.

Composite Score: 95

4. University of Chicago (tie)

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As Chicago’s largest premier research institution, the University of Chicago more than meets INTP’s need for an intellectually stimulating and challenging learning environment. Earning a perfect score for prestige for ranking 4th on U.S. News’ Best National Universities 2016 alongside a near-perfect 19/20 for enrolling 77% of its classes with less than 20 students, UChicago outperforms all large research institutions on INTP’s list by providing small class sizes that foster an intimate learning space. UChicago also receives a perfect 20/20 for selectivity and a near-perfect 19/20 for support for student ideas, providing a strong network of 1 student organization per 28 students. And with at least four creative communities that range from campus radio shows to an active community service center, UChicago is an exceptional fit for INTPs who like to use a small but tight-knit network to come up with creative solutions.

Composite Score: 94

4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT

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Highly suited to both the logical and creative thinker, MIT is bound to surround INTP with other logicians. With 1 student organization for every 25 students and its place near the top of U.S. News’ Best National Schools of 2016, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earns a perfect score for prestige and support for student ideas, making it a perfect compliment to INTP’s modus operandi: friendly yet competitive contrarian. Indeed, what it lacks only slightly in the realm of class size with 67% of its classes enrolling less than 20 students, it more than makes up for in terms of selectivity and creative communities, placing inside U.S. News Top 3 most selective schools in the nation and offering greater than five opportunities for creative engagement both inside and outside the campus community. And with its Cambridge campus so close to world-famous Harvard, INTP’s urge to participate in intellectual sparring with a worthy competitor will never go unsatisfied.

Composite Score: 94

6. Northwestern University (tie)

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Having locations in midwestern Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University and its more popular graduate school earn a perfect 20/20 for creative communities, providing a network of greater than five such communities in both its locations. With 19’s out of 20 almost across the rest of the board, it also performs exceptionally well for class size, selectivity, and prestige, enrolling 76% of its classes with less than 20 students and ranking inside the Top 15 most selective and prestigious schools according to U.S. News’ 2016 rankings. The only indicator for which Northwestern does not score perfectly or near-perfect is support for student ideas; however, it performs above average for that metric with 1 student group for ever 42 student organizations, earning it a score of 16/20. All this makes Northwestern an excellent fit for INTP, but especially for those who find the prospect of graduate study intellectually stimulating.

Composite Score: 93

7. Swarthmore College (tie)

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Founded 11 miles outside Philadelphia by Quakers in 1864, Swarthmore College is an ideal school for INFPs, who tend to enjoy a quiet and peaceful working environment. Spanning 400 acres on a small town-suburban campus, Swarthmore scores 18’s out of 20 for class size and support for student ideas with 75% of classes enrolling less than 20 students and 1 student organization per 13 students. It also performs well above average for creative communities with at least four opportunities for creative community engagement both on and off campus. Swarthmore fares particularly well in selectivity and prestige, earning perfect 20’s out of 20 by ranking inside U.S. News’ Best Liberal Arts Colleges Top 5 for both indicators. This makes Swarthmore an excellent fit for INFPs and their choosy yet logic-oriented faculties.

Composite Score: 92

7. Wesleyan University (tie)

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The first U.S. institution of higher learning to be named after John Wesley, the founder of modern Methodism, Wesleyan University is a highly reputable private liberal arts college located on 360 acres in Middletown, Connecticut. Scoring 19’s out of 20 for prestige and selectivity by ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 20 Liberal Arts Schools, Wesleyan cultivates a highly competitive student body that INTP will find invigorating. Wesleyan also scores 17’s out of 20 in class size and support for student ideas, enrolling 71% of its classes with less than 20 students and supporting 1 student organization per 14 students, well above average for its peer institutions. Wesleyan also earns a perfect 20/20 for creative communities, fostering greater than 5 opportunities for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community. INTP will undoubtedly fit right in at Wesleyan, especially those who appreciate an intimate learning environment that encourages a bounty of creative exchange.

Composite Score: 92

9. Pomona College

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Part of the prestigious Claremont University Consortium, Pomona college is a highly reputable liberal arts school just outside Los Angeles in Claremont, California. Indeed, Pomona scores perfect 20’s out of 20 for prestige and selectivity, as well as support for student ideas, making it highly reflective of INTP’s desire for academic rigor, as well as a supportive network of fellow intellectual springboards. Although Pomona scores a comparatively low but still above average 15/20 for class size with 68% of its classes enrolling less than 20 students, it performs well for creative communities, supporting a network of at least 4 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community. All things considered, INTP will surely find Pomona’s learning environment to fuel to fire of their creative yet highly logical imaginations.

Composite Score: 91

10. Yale University (tie)

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The most time-honored institution on INTP’s list, Yale University is of course the definition of prestige, ranking consistently among U.S. News’ Top 5 Best Schools for decades and scoring a perfect 20/20 for that indicator. Yale also scores perfect 20’s out of 20 for selectivity and support for student ideas, ranking again inside U.S. News’ Top 5 most selective schools, while also supporting 1 student organization per 25 students. What Yale lacks only slightly in creative communities with at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community it makes up for in the realm of class size, enrolling 74% of its classes with less than 20 students. Inarguably, Yale’s prestigious academic rigor will please this logician’s highly analytical mind, while its strong network of student organizations will support INTP’s passion for thoughtful and creative exchange like no other.

Composite Score: 90

10. Carleton College (tie)

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Found in the historic frontier town of Northfield, Minnesota, Carleton College earns a perfect score for prestige, ranking inside U.S. News Top 10 Best Liberal Arts Colleges 2016. It also scores exceptionally well for selectivity with a 19/29, placing inside U.S. News’ Top 20 for that indicator. It receives the same near-perfect score in support for student ideas, with 1 student organization per 10 students. In terms of class size and creative communities, Carleton performs well, scoring 16’s out of 20 for both indicators with 70% of classes enrolling less than 20 students and at least 4 initiatives to provide creative engagement both in and outside the community. INTPs who enjoy getting away from it all will appreciate Carleton’s 1000+ acres to roam over, as their contrarian musings remind them that not all who wander are lost; indeed, many who wander are found.

Composite Score: 90

12. Dartmouth College

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As a private, Ivy League research university, Dartmouth College is not left wanting in the realm of prestige and selectivity. Earning 19’s out of 20 for both these indicators, Dartmouth’s rank inside U.S. News’ Top 15 most prestigious and selective national universities makes it a great fit for INTPs, who tend to prefer intellectually challenging learning environments that cultivate their personal ecosystems carefully. What Dartmouth lacks only slightly in the neighborhood of class size with 64% of classes enrolling less than 20 students, it more than makes up for in the realm of support for student ideas and creative communities. For those indicators, it earns an 18 and 20 out of 20, respectively, with 1 student organization per 37 students and at least 5 opportunities to promote creative engagement both in and outside the community. All this makes Dartmouth a strong support system of initiatives that will help INTPs remain creative and active contributors to the stream of thought that springs from a life of the mind.

Composite Score: 88

13. Stanford University (tie)

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California’s most populous private research university is known the world over for producing some of the globe’s greatest thinkers. Earning perfect scores for prestige and selectivity, Stanford has placed in U.S. News’ Top 5 most prestigious and selective schools for several decades. What it hardly lacks in the realms of class size and creative communities (scoring a 16 and 12 out of 20, respectively, for 70% of its classes enrolling less than 20 students and at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community), it makes up for by performing exceptionally well in support for student ideas, offering 1 student organization for every 26 students. Indubitably, INTPs will find Stanford an excellent fit for their drive to bounce ideas off their fellows and devise both logical and creative solutions to world problems.

Composite Score: 87

13. Rice University (tie)

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Texas’s highest-ranking private research institution, Rice University is one of the U.S.’s most prestigious small schools. Earning 19’s out of 20 for prestige, selectivity, and support for student ideas, INTPs will feel comfortable with Rice’s place inside U.S. News’ Top 20 most selective and prestigious schools, as well as its maintenance of 1 student organization for every 27 students. These three high scores more than make up for what Rice lacks only slightly in the realms of class size and creative communities with 67% of classes enrolling less than 20 students and at least 4 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community, each of which earn above average scores of 14/20 and 16/20, respectively. Indeed, Rice’s small-school feel in the big city of Houston will make INTP’s feel part of an educational haven due to its intimate learning environment and respected place in the local and national community.

Composite Score: 87

15. Columbia University

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New York City’s premier private research institution, Columbia University is an ideal fit for intellectually adventurous INTP. Conventionally thought of as an Ivy League school, Columbia earns a perfect 20/20 for prestige, placing inside U.S. News’ Top 5 National Universities for 2016. Columbia scores similarly well for selectivity and class size, earning 19’s out of 20 for both indicators, placing inside U.S. News’ Top 10 most selective schools and enrolling 82% of its classes with less than 20 students. In terms of support for student ideas and creative communities, Columbia scores slightly above average with 16/20 and 12/20, respectively, maintaining 1 student organization for every 42 students and at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community. While NYC’s population density may scare some INTPs, Columbia’s tight-knit campus community is sure to allay those fears, just as it will encourage the Logician’s intellectual curiosity and creativity to flourish.

Composite Score: 86

16. Haverford College (tie)

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Founded by Quakers 11 miles outside Philadelphia, Haverford College performs exceptionally well for prestige and selectivity, earning 19’s out of 20 for both indicators, placing inside U.S. News’ Top 15 Liberal Arts Colleges for 2016 and its Top 5 most selective schools in the nation. Haverford also earns a 19/20 for class size, enrolling 77% of its classes with less than 20 students. What it lacks in the way of creative communities with at least 2 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community, it makes up for in the realm of support for student ideas, earning a perfect 20/20 for maintaining 1 student group for every 5 students, which ties it for best student organization-to-student ratio on INTP’s list. On this semi-rural, 200+ acre sanctuary outside Philadelphia, INTPs are bound to find the peace, quiet and intellectual engagement their personality calls for.

Composite Score: 85

16. Duke University (tie)

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One of the key vertices on North Carolina’s nationally recognized Research Triangle, Duke University earns a perfect 20/20 for prestige and a near-perfect 19/20 for selectivity, ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 15 most reputable and selective schools. What it lacks in the realm of creative communities with at least 2 initiatives for creative engagement in surrounding communities, it certainly makes up for in the realm of class size and support for student ideas, earning 17’s out of 20 for both metrics by enrolling 73% of its classes with less than 20 students and maintaining 1 student organization for every 40 students. Amid this strong network of local, regional and national academic networks, INTPs will find Duke highly suited to their meeting their needs for creative and intellectual stimulation.

Composite Score: 85

18. Davidson College (tie)

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Located on 665 acres on Lake Norman in small town-rural North Carolina, Davidson College performs especially well for prestige and selectivity, earning 20‘s out of 20 for ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 20 Best Liberal Arts Colleges. As a small private school, Davidson also performs exceptionally well for class size and support for student ideas, earning a 17 and 19 out of 20, respectively, for enrolling 73% of its classes with less than 20 students and 1 student organization for every 9 students. Being situated in a somewhat remote location, Davidson offers at least 2 initiatives for creative engagement with the community, which is slightly below average. However, INTPs will find this location quite conducive to their need of solitude in an academically challenging, intellectually competitive, and creatively supportive learning environment.

Composite Score: 84

18. Bryn Mawr College (tie)

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Among the most prestigious all-women’s Liberal Arts schools in the nation, Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania receives an 18/20 for prestige with its place at 25th on U.S. News’ Best Colleges 2016. It scores slightly above average for creative communities with 12/20, maintaining at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community. It also earns a 17, 18, and 19 for class size, selectivity and support for student ideas, respectively, as it enrolls 73 percent of its classes with less than 20 students, ranks inside U.S. News’ Top 30 most selective schools, and maintains 1 student organization for every 10 students. This marks Bryn Mawr well above average for INTPs preferential of tight-knit campus communities with intimate learning environments and supportive infrastructure for academic exchange. In other words, Bryn Mawr College is an excellent fit for intellectually passionate, INTP women.

Composite Score: 84

18. Pitzer College (tie)

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One of the eight prestigious Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California, Pitzer affords a small town atmosphere that INTP would appreciate, about 40 miles outside Los Angeles. Performing particularly well for creative communities, Pitzer earns a perfect 20/20 with at least 5 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community. What Pitzer lacks only slightly in the realm of support for student ideas at a liberal arts school with a ratio of 1 student organization for every 16 students, it makes up for in the realms of class size, prestige and selectivity, scoring a 16, 17, and 18 out of 20 for enrolling 71% of classes with less than 20 students and ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 50 most reputable liberal arts schools. INTPs will be sure to appreciate Pitzer’s remote location and surrounding network of colleges, which will support all of this Logician’s creative and intellectual endeavors.

Composite Score: 84

21. Scripps College (tie)

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The only all-women’s college in the Claremont Consortium of Colleges, Scripps College is located on a semi-rural campus outside Los Angeles and at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. Scripps earns a perfect score in support for student ideas, maintaining 1 student organization for every 5 students. It also scores exceptionally well for class size, prestige, and selectivity, earning a 19 and two 18’s, respectively, for enrolling 83% of its classes with less than 20 students and ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 50 most reputable and selective schools. What it may lack only slightly in the realm of creative communities with at least 2 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community, it makes up for in terms of outing opportunities surrounding its location, academic rigor, and constructive competition among its strong network of peer institutions, all of which are sure to satisfy INTP’s intellectual and creative curiosities.

Composite Score: 83

21. California Institute of Technology – Caltech (tie)

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Rivalled only by MIT as a forerunner and model for the modern technical college, California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, ranks exceptionally well for selectivity and prestige. Earning a perfect 20 and near-perfect 19 out of 20, respectively, for each of these indicators—as well as a 19/20 in support for student ideas for maintaining 1 student organization for every 27 students—Caltech suits INTP’s desire for an intimate learning environment that will challenge his or her logical faculties to the point of self-improvement. Caltech will also challenge INTPs creative faculties with at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community, earning it an above-average score of 12/20. This above average score is topped slightly by Caltech’s also above-average score for class size, which at 13/20, does well by enrolling 65% of its classes with less than 20 students. INTPs who choose Caltech can rest assured they will feel right at home in this most intellectually stimulating of schools for a type so named the “Logician.”

Composite Score: 83

21. Middlebury College (tie)

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Remotely located in small-town rural Vermont, Middlebury College will appeal to INTP desire for a private, challenging, and intimate learning environment. Earning perfect 20’s out of 20 for prestige and selectivity, Middlebury does very well in U.S. News’ rankings, placing inside the Top 10 most selective and reputable Liberal Arts Colleges of 2016. Middlebury also scores exceptionally well in support for student ideas, earning 17/20 for maintaining 1 student organization for every 14 students, while also scoring above average for class size and creative communities for enrolling 66% of classes with less than 20 students and offering at least 3 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community. And indeed, as a small, tight-knit community that is conducive to free-spirited individuality, Middlebury will undoubtedly support INTPs in all of their unique intellectual and creative endeavors.

Composite Score: 83

24. Cornell University (tie)

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Found in central upstate New York, Cornell University is a private research institution that is usually grouped among the U.S.’s Ivy League universities. Hardly lacking in the realms of selectivity and prestige, Cornell scores an 18 and 19 out of 20, respectively, ranking inside U.S. News’ Top 20 Best National Universities for each of these indicators. Cornell also performs stunningly well in support for student ideas, maintaining 1 student organization for every 21 students, which, as the tightest ratio for all national universities on INTP’s list, earns it a perfect 20/20. What Cornell lacks only slightly in the realm of class size with 55% of its classes enrolling less than 20 students, it more than makes up for in the realm of creative communities, offering at least 4 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the campus community. This makes Cornell a great fit for INTP, as its large student body proves itself to be a veritable springboard, supportive of launching one another’s creative and intellectual endeavors.

Composite Score: 82

24. Harvey Mudd College (tie)

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The smallest member of the Claremont Consortium of Colleges with just over 800 undergraduates, Harvey Mudd College does not disappoint when it comes to fostering a supportive academic network for INTPs. Offering 1 student group for every 9 students, Harvey Mudd earns an exceptional 19/20 in support for student ideas. Although its scores for class size and creative communities may seem counterintuitively low for such a small school as it enrolls only 58% of its classes with less than 20 students and offers at least 4 initiatives for creative engagement both in and outside the community, it also enrolls students from the surrounding consortium, which accounts for these seeming discrepancies and permits for a greater degree of creative and intellectual exchange between students and faculty. Like the other colleges in that consortium, Harvey Mudd enjoys exceptional scores for selectivity and prestige, earning an 18 and 19 out of 20 for each of those indicators, respectively, ranking inside U.S. New’s Top 15 most selective and reputable Liberal Arts Colleges. All this in mind, INTPs will find Harvey most conducive to their need for solitude, support for their own ideas, and a collective passion for a life of the mind.

Composite Score: 82