The 25 Best Colleges for ISTPs

ISTP_header

ISTPs only make up about five percent of the population, but they’re among the world’s most inventive, creative, and interesting types of people. Perhaps, above all, ISTPs are curious, which, in turn, means they demand the freedom to be curious. They are constantly exploring new interests and activities. They’re spontaneous and occasionally slightly restless: once they’re finished with one project, it’s time to move on to the next. They don’t waste time. That said, ISTPs are are whimsical. Not in the slightest. To others, they can occasionally come across as cold or stubborn, but really they’re just hyper-logical and pragmatic. ISTPs are always looking to take something and make it better, which explains why so many are engineers, mechanics, etc. They’re builders, but in a Renaissance Man kind of way. They wouldn’t want to be pigeonholed, and, besides, they’re never in one place for too long anyway. Taking all this into account, we’ve created a list of the top 25 colleges for ISTPs, which takes into consideration the things they care about most: freedom of choice, wealth of opportunity, and pragmatism (i.e., keeping student debt to a minimum).

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

Methodology:

  • 1/4) Number of Top 5 Majors in the Arts, Applied Sciences, and Humanities
  • (1/4) Number of Creative of Communities
  • 1/4) Number of Study Abroad Countries
  • 1/4) Average Student Debt (% of students who graduate with debt)

1. University of Florida

r11-estp_florida

(source)

The University of Florida in Gainesville, at nearly 50,000 students, is still only the third-largest university in the state (though eighth-largest in the nation). It is also considered one of the country’s very best public higher learning institutions, ranked 14th by U.S. News and World Report. Practical-minded ISTPs will especially appreciate Florida’s reasonable tuition, low student debt, and career placement efforts. In fact, the Princeton Review has ranked UF’s Career Resource Center as the very best out of 368 assessed programs in the country. Further, just 44% of students graduate with debt, thanks to generous and creative financial packages. (It has also earned high honors in this category.) With nearly 90 countries in which to study abroad, ISTPs looking for the next challenge have a large and varied catalogue of places to explore. The most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Engineering, Business, Biology, and Communication/Journalism.

2 (tied). Middlebury College

Middlebury

(source)

Middlebury College, in the titular town of Vermont, has a student body of about 2,500, an acceptance rate of less than 20%, and has been ranked as the 4th best liberal arts school in the country by U.S. News and World Report. With a highly customizable and flexible course of study, ISTPs will enjoy the ability to tailor and experiment with their studies. There are 40 available majors; among the most popular, including Economics, Political Science and Government, Environmental Studies, English Literature, and International. But many Middlebury students choose to complete a double or joint major, and 30% earn an interdisciplinary degree. Further, the school runs on a 4-1-4 schedule, with a January winter term that allows students to enroll in an intensive course, pursue independent research, or work at an off-campus internship. “J-Term” courses are often taught by special instructors. Another unique program is Middlebury’s Language Schools, which take place over the summer and place students in an intensive and immersive study program in either Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish. If all that’s not enough, there are 216 countries (!) in which to study abroad – by far the most on our list.

2 (tied). Barnard College

r01-estj_barnard

(source)

Barnard College, a private women’s liberal arts school, is located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, adjacent to Columbia University, with which it has a close affiliation. (The two schools often allow intercollegiate study.) Barnard is highly competitive – the most competitive of the country’s women’s colleges. Barnard’s unique curriculum is centered around the required “Nine Ways of Knowing” which consists of: 1 year of laboratory science, 4 semesters of study in a foreign language, and a course in either reason and value, social analysis, historical studies, cultures in comparison, quantitative and deductive reasoning, literature, or visual and performing arts. Such a wealth of diverse opportunities should appeal to ISTPs. Further, less than 50% of students graduate with debt, and there 62 study abroad opportunities should the bright lights of the big city manage to bore the especially challenge-starved ISTJ. Among the most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Biology, Psychology, and English Literatures.

4. Michigan State University

(source)

Michigan State University in East Lansing, with a student body of around 50,000, is ranked among the top 30 public schools in the country. With over 200 academic programs, ISTPs shouldn’t want for choices of study. In particular, Michigan State excels in pragmatic, hard-bound majors: Business, Supply Chain Management, Criminal Justice, Hospitality, Political Science, Communications, and more. The school also has several colleges operating on the the Oxbridge “living-learning” model, which encourages an immersive, intimate learning experience. East Lansing, considered one of the best college towns in America, provides a huge array of entertainments to keep ISTPs engaged and on their toes – athletics, the arts, student activities, culture, and more. Still, if you’re ready for a new scene, the university offers study abroad programs in nearly 80 countries around the world. Just 45% of students graduate with debt.

5 (tied). New College of Florida

r02-infp_new

(source)

The New College of Florida in Sarasota, about 5 miles south of Tampa, has a student body of less than 1,000 students; it’s ranked among the top 5 public liberal arts schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The college’s academics are particularly tailored to the ISTP’s interests and are made up of 4 core principles: each student is ultimately responsible for their education; the best education model is based on a strong, enthusiastic student-teacher partnership; student progress should be measured by demonstrated competency, not impractical, often irrelevant tests and/or grades; and students should be free to explore areas of study as they see fit. Because of these central tenets, the college has “narrative evaluations” instead of grades; a contract system with their faculty advisor, in which courses and academic goals are agreed upon and assessed at the semester’s end; a January term is reserved for independent study projects; and all students complete a senior thesis, which they must defend. With such an emphasis on academic freedom and pragmatism, ISTPs interested in a small school environment should strongly consider New College.

5 (tied). Kenyon College

r21-isfp-schools_kenyon

(source)

Kenyon College, a liberal arts school in Gambier, Ohio, has a student body of about 1,700. U.S. News and World Report ranked the school 25th among liberal arts college in the United States; its acceptance rate is highly selective at around 24%. With a highly customizable (while broad-based) curriculum, students have the opportunity to earn interdisciplinary minors in addition to their major course of study. These include African and African-American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Integrated Program in Humane Studies, Islamic Civilizations and Cultures, Law and Society, Neuroscience, Public Policy, and Scientific Computing. Kenyon’s most popular majors are Economics, English Language and Literature, Political Science and Government, Psychology, and International/Global Studies. ISTPs should also appreciate that less than 50% of Kenyon students graduate with debt, and the school has study abroad programs in 60 different countries – an especially high number for a school of its size.

5 (tied). University of Washington

r23-estp_washington

(source)

The University of Washington in Seattle has a study body of approximately 45,000 students. It is ranked by a number of respected publications as among the top 20 public institution; perhaps as important for practical-minded ISTPs as one of the top “best values” schools in the country by Kiplinger. Less than 50% of its students graduate with student debt. Among the most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Biology, Business, Engineering, and the Visual and Performing Arts. There are number of opportunities and events on campus to keep eager (and/or restless) ISTPs entertained, including charity and service organizations, clean energy and environmental clubs, a student-run farm, fraternities and sororities, and more. In addition, UW’s athletic programs are highly competitive and draw large support from the student body. For ISTPs interested in exploring outside the country, UW also offers study abroad opportunities in 74 countries worldwide.

8. DePauw University

r08-istp_depauw

(source)

DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, has a student body of about 2,400 undergraduates. Thanks to its 4-1-4 academic calendar, DePauw students have the opportunity to spend one semester each year exploring new areas of study outside their traditional major program. Over the 4-week term, students may also opt to participate in off-campus domestic or international internship programs, service trips, or international trips. Students have previously interned at places like ABC News, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Riley Hospital for Children, and Eli Lilly and Company. Study abroad opportunities are particularly popular at DePauw, with 80% of students taking international classes at some point in 59 different countries. ISTPs can also make good use of an intimate learning environment: the student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1, and the average class size is 15. The most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Communication/Journalism, English Language and Literature, Biology, and the Visual and Performing Arts.

9. Muhlenberg College

r09-istp_muhlenberg

(source)

Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has a student body of about 2,225. ISTPs at Muhlenberg enjoy a wide variety of academic models besides the traditional route, including an accelerated program, cross-registration, double majors, an honors program, independent study opportunities, internships, Army ROTC, customized major, study abroad programs in 60 countries, teacher certification, visiting/exchange student program, and a Washington, D.C., semester. Students have a wealth of activities on campus, with more than 100 clubs and organizations. Among the most popular of these are community service groups, intramural sports, and performing arts events. One number in particular ISTPs will no doubt admire – 39. That’s the percentage of students who graduate with debt. Among the most popular areas of study are in Business, Engineering, Education, Biology, and Communication/Journalism.

10. Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge

r24-estj_lsu

(source)

Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge has a student body of just over 30,000. One of the leading research institutions in the country, the school has around 800 sponsored research projects at any given, including projects funded by the likes of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Independent-minded ISTJs should note that LSU ranked among the top schools in Entrepreneur Magazine‘s top 12 Entrepreneurial Colleges and Universities. Further, there are huge number and variety of activities on and off campus, including more 350 clubs and organizations, a highly regarded student newspaper, 38 Greek life organizations, literary quarterlies, and more. Perhaps most notable are the school’s athletic programs, which the entire student body and town support with often unrivaled spirit. For those who like to get away, there are nearly study abroad countries to choose. The most popular areas of study are in Business, Engineering, Education, Biology, and Communication/Journalism.

11. Mississippi State University

r11-istp_msu

(source)

Mississippi State University in Starkville has a student body of approximately just under 21,000. Practical ISTPs should note that MSU has been ranked highly in a variety of respected publications for value, social mobility, and bargain bachelor degrees. In other words, you’re getting a deal. Nearly half of Mississippi State students graduate with zero debt. The school also sponsors an impressive lecture series, which has included John Grisham, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Condoleezza Rice, Spike Lee, and a number of Nobel Laureates, among others. There are also a large number of activities on and off campus: fraternities and sororities, a student newspaper and radio station, and athletic events are all popular. In addition, Starkville’s music scene draws many top local and national talents; the school hosts two outdoor music festivals, the “Bulldog Bash” and the Old Main Music Festival, both free. Further, with 114 countries in which to study abroad, MSU ranks in second on our list. Popular areas of study are in Business, Education, Engineering, Biology, and Interdisciplinary Studies.

12. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

South Building at the University of North Carolina

(source)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a student body of approximately 29,000. It is routinely ranked among the top 5 public universities in the country, and has also topped rankings by both Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and the Princeton Review for best value schools. Only 41% of UNC’s students graduate with any debt. There are more than 70 undergraduate majors from which to choose, so ISTPs have plenty of academic options. Among the most popular areas of study are in Communication and Media Studies, Psychology, Biology, Area Studies, and Economics. In addition, UNC has a number of student organizations and clubs, including Greek Life, Campus Y (a “leader in on-campus discussion and dialogue and off-campus service and activism”), a student-run newspaper and radio station, athletic events, and much more. For ISTJs that are interested in studying abroad, Chapel Hill has programs in 65 countries. The school has the highest percentage of study abroad students in the country.

13 (tied). Colorado State University

r02-esfp_colo

(source)

Colorado State University in scenic Fort Collins has a student body of about 32,000. Consumers Digest listed the school in the top 50 for best public universities for value; nearly half of CSU students graduate with zero debt. With 150 programs across 55 departments, ISTPs have plenty of room to explore academic interests. Among the most popular areas of study are Business, Biology, Family and Consumer Sciences, Social Science, Parks/Recreation, and more. ISTPs in particular might be interested in the school’s notable engineering program, which, through Engineers Without Borders, allows students to pursue projects throughout the world. But study abroad opportunities aren’t limited to engineers: across the study body, each year, nearly 1,000 students study in more than 85 countries. There are multiple international studies programs, including in Asian Studies, Middle East/North Africa Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, or Russian, Eastern and Central Europe Studies. There are 325 student organizations and 34 honor societies on campus.

13 (tied). University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

r07-isfj_michigan

(source)

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has a student body of nearly 44,000. A Public Ivy, Michigan is routinely ranked as a top 3 public university in the country. ISTPs have their pick of 200 undergraduate majors, many of which have significant crossover with their relevant graduate programs. The most popular majors are in Economics, Experimental Psychology, Business Administration and Management, Political Science and Government, and Neuroscience – all challenging, applicable studies that ISTPs should appreciate. Michigan is largely affordable, too: only 45% of students graduate with any debt. Plus, the school makes great efforts for financial aids with need-based loans, grants, scholarships, work study, and non-need based scholarships. In terms of entertainment, there’s few better towns in the country than Ann Arbor – music, sports, culture, and much more. Further, the school offers more than 1,400 student organizations and clubs. Still, if you’re still aching for something wholly new, Michigan has study abroad programs in 71 countries worldwide.

15 (tied). Southern Methodist University

r08-estj_smu

(source)

Southern Methodist University in Dallas has a student body of about 11,600. For ISTPs that aren’t messing around, SMU is among the better no-nonsense, pragmatic schools, particularly its business college, which The Economist ranked as the #1 program in the country for “Potential to Network.” SMU has also been ranked #7 for “Best Career Services” and #6 for “Top Internship Opportunities.” In other words, ISTPs shouldn’t have much of an issue finding a job upon graduation. (Whether or not they stick with it very long, given their nature, is a different story.) Just 42% of students graduate with any debt. There are also numerous opportunities around campus with nearly 200 student organizations, including academic, professional, Greek, sporting, special interest, religious, service, and political diversity groups. Students can study abroad in 46 different countries. Among the most popular areas of study are in Business, Social Sciences, Communication/Journalism, Engineering, and Visual and Performing Arts.

15 (tied). Swarthmore College

r22-entj_swarthmore

(source)

Swarthmore College, about 10 miles outside of Philadelphia, has a student body of about 1,600 and student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1. It is ranked among the top 5 liberal arts schools in the country by many publications, and the Princeton Review ranked it #1 for value for four consecutive years. Little wonder. A mere 33% of its students graduate with any debt. Following the Oxbridge tutorial model, students take double-credit seminars their junior year (only 4-8 student per class) and complete honors theses; ISTPs enjoy a highly individualized curriculum over which they have a unique amount of control. Further, Swarthmore has an engineering program (a field many ISTPs excel in), which is exceptional for a small liberal arts school of its kind. Other popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Biology, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, Psychology, Mathematics, and Statistics. Swarthmore also has study abroad opportunities in nearly 70 countries – impressive for a school of its size.

17. Colgate University

r15-estp_colgate

(source)

Colgate University, in Hamilton Village, New York, has a student body just under 3,000. U.S. News has ranked it in the top 20 liberal arts schools in the country. For the especially blunt ISTP, Forbes has ranked Colgate 5th in its Top Colleges for Getting Rich, the only non-Ivy League school in the ranking. (As a counterbalance to that mildly venal tag, the school has been ranked the #1 most beautiful campus in the country by numerous publications.) With 53 programs of study, Colgate also has large and varied academic offerings for a liberal arts school. Among the most popular majors are in Economics, English Language and Literature, History, Political Science and Government, and International Relations and Affairs. In addition to the school’s 51 study abroad opportunities, Colgate also has unique programs on U.S. soil in Washington, D.C., and the National Institute of Health. Approximately two-thirds of students study abroad in some fashion. Perhaps most impressive to ISTPs, only 31% of students graduate with debt.

18 (tied). Colby College

r16-isfp-schools_colby

(source)

Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, has a student body of about 1,800. It is considered one of the top liberal arts schools in the country, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has ranked it 23rd overall for best value among liberal arts schools. Thanks to a 4-1-4 semester plan, students have winter term, or “Jan-Plan,” in which students can enroll in one intensive course, pursue independent research, or complete an off-campus internship, giving curious-minded ISTPs the chance to explore interests outside their direct field of study. Among the most popular areas of study in Colby’s 54-program catalogue are in the Social Sciences, Biology, Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies, English Language and Literature, and the Physical Sciences. There are also 66 countries in which to study abroad – Russia, Spain, and France, among them; 66% of Colby students study abroad in some form. The college has numerous student-run organizations and clubs, ranging from student-run government to a cappella groups. Just 33% of its students graduate with debt.

18 (tied). Miami University

r19-istp_miami

(source)

Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, has a student body of approximately 24,000. As a Public Ivy, it is considered on the top public universities in the country. Of note to ISTPs, it’s also received high marks for best buys and value from a number of publications, including Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and Forbes. Entrepreneur ranked the school’s Institute for Entrepreneurship in its top ten undergraduate programs in the country. Curriculum options are wide and varied: 100 majors, 48 minors, and 2 unique co-majors in Environmental Science and Environmental Principles & Practice. Among the most popular areas of study are in Business, Education, the Social Sciences, Biology, and Parks and Recreation. There’s more than enough to do on campus, with 400 student clubs and organizations, but for those interested in globetrotting, Miami also has study abroad opportunities in 94 countries. Nearly 50% of students graduate with zero debt.

18 (tied). Sewanee: University of the South

r20-intj_sewanee

(source)

The University of the South, commonly known as Sewanee, is located in the selfsame Tennessee town, with a student body of around 1,600. It is routinely ranked among the best liberal arts schools in the country. Sitting on 13,000 acres on the Cumberland Plateau, ISTPs don’t have any excuse to be bored: the campus includes lakes, creeks, a 20-mile perimeter hiking trail, caves, and more. In addition, there are numerous student organizations and clubs on campus, including an outdoor program, outreach services, student-run newspaper and radio station, Greek Life, and more. And if you’re still hungry for more adventure, there are study abroad opportunities in 68 countries. The curriculum is broad-based and allows for customized and independent studies; many students choose to write honors or senior theses. Among the most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, English Language and Literature, Biology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, and Visual and Performing Arts. Only 39% of students graduate with debt.

21 (tied). Brigham Young University

0704-01 GCS April 2007 BYU General Campus Scenics View from JFSB Patio, Bell Tower and Provo Temple, Spring April 6, 2007 Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Copyright BYU Photo 2007 All Rights Reserved  photo@byu.edu  (801)422-7322

(source)

Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, has a student body just under 30,000. Both the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report have ranked it among the top schools in the country for value, the former ranking it #1 overall a few years ago. Only 39% of students graduate with any debt, and BYU is able to offer generous financial aid packages to many of its students thanks to LDS Church-donations. BYU also has a large international focus because of missionary work: over 75% of its student body is proficient in a secondary language, and the school has satellite campuses in London, Jerusalem, Paris, and more than 20 other sites. In total, there are 67 countries in which students may study abroad (2,000+ students participate each year), and the Institute of International Education has ranked the school’s study abroad programs the best in the country. Among the most popular areas of study are in Biology, Business, Health Professions, the Social Sciences, and Education.

21 (tied). Bowdoin College

r22-istp_bowdoin

(source)

Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine, has a student body of about 1,800 with a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1. U.S. News and World Report has ranked it as the 4th best overall and 4th best value liberal arts school in the country. With 15% acceptance rate, it is also among the most selective colleges. The core curriculum requires one course in each of the following studies: Natural Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual and Performing Arts, International Perspectives, and Exploring Social Differences. From there, students have much leeway in designing their curricula, which ISTPs should appreciate. There are numerous students organizations and clubs on campus, including social houses, outdoor programs, several student-run publications, and a number of a cappella groups, among others. For those interested, Bowdoin has study abroad opportunities in 46 countries around the world. More important, only 32% of students graduate with any debt. Among the most popular areas of study are in Political Science, Economics, Mathematics, Biology, and History.

23 (tied). Gettysburg College

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(source)

Gettysburg College, adjacent to the famous Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania, has a student body of nearly 2,500. U.S. News has ranked it among the best liberal arts school in the country, and the Princeton Review has ranked it 11th in its list of the Best Schools for Internships, which career-oriented ISTP types should like. Among the most popular areas of study are in the Social Sciences, Biology, Business, History, and English Language and Literature. In addition, students have the option to petition to design their major. ISTPs with an engineering interest should note that the school offers a unique 5-year dual degree with Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Washington University, and the University of Pittsburgh. There are over 120 student organizations and clubs on campus, including Greek Life, special interest groups, and many more. There are also study abroad opportunities in 44 countries.

23 (tied). University of Denver

r24-istp_denver

(source)

The University of Denver, with a 125-acre, designated arboretum campus, has a student body of approximately 11,800. Denver’s academic programs have been ranked favorably in numerous publications, with its undergraduate business program in particular gaining high marks by BusinessWeek. Among its most popular areas of study include Business, the Social Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Communication/Journalism, and Psychology. ISTPs have plenty of opportunities to get involved both on and off campus. Denver itself presents students with a wealth of activities – arts, music, museums, and more. Add to that the region’s unique geography, and you’ve got enough to keep even the most restless ISTP on their toes. Still, if not, the school also offers study abroad opportunities in nearly 50 countries. What’s more, only 45% of students graduate with debt.

23 (tied). Washington and Lee University

r25-istp_wandl

(source)

Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, has a student body of around 2,250. Considered one of very best liberal arts schools in the country, W&L has also been ranked highly by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and The Economist for its value. Just 32% of students graduate with any debt. Among the 42 undergraduate majors, the most popular areas of study are in Business, Economics, Political Science and Government, Accounting, and History. The school is also rare for a liberal arts college in that it offers interdisciplinary majors in Neuroscience, Medieval and Renaissance studies, and Russian area studies. There are a large number of student organizations and activities, including a well-regarded Mock Convention, the Fancy Dress Ball, Greek Life, any much more. Further, the university has study abroad opportunities in more than 60 countries worldwide.