The 25 Best Colleges for INFPs

Top 25 Colleges for INFP Personalities

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The ultimate idealists, INFPs are among the most creative personalities. They are free spirits, free thinkers and free dreamers. From the outside looking in, they often appear shy, quiet and distracted, like closed books, living out their lives in their own little worlds. As dedicated observers who study what they see for later representation, this is their modus operandi. But once they open up and allow the energy they’ve stored to flow freely, they tend to inspire those around them with a world of ideas. Although many seem to have their head in the clouds, they almost always come down to plant their feet on the ground. It’s like a writer that most INFPs are sure to have heard of once said: “Not all who wander are lost.” Professionally, INFPs make great teachers, writers, graphic artists, and outreach leaders. Many dedicate their lives to serving others and making the world a better place. The list of colleges and universities below is sure to show them many of opportunities to do just that, and much more.

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

Methodology:

  • Top 5 Majors in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions (1/4):The number of majors in an institution’s Top 5 that fall under the purview of the Liberal Arts or Humanities, Interdisciplinary Studies, or Applied Sciences and Professions. We chose this metric because INFPs are abstract, big-picture thinkers who notice and respect people’s differences while finding ways to best serve others.
  • Selectivity (1/4): because INFPs are selective of who they surround themselves with, we also factored in a college’s or university’s selectivity ranking according to U.S. News and World Report.

  • Unique or Alternative Mission (1/4): INFPs march to the beat of their own drum, so on a scale from 1-0 (you either have it, or you don’t), we weighted schools with missions that ask their students to take a road less traveled or think outside the box.

  • Creative Communities (1/4): the number of opportunities for students to create or become involved in creative and intellectual spaces. As perhaps the most creative personality type on Myers-Briggs’ spectrum (William Shakespeare is thought to have been an INFP!), we figured INFPs would prefer infrastructure at school and in the broader community where they can channel their creativity, for themselves and for others.

1. The University of California, Santa Barbara

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Just south of coastal Santa Barbara on a thousand-acre campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, UC Santa Barbara is known as a leading research institution with a comprehensive liberal arts education. Considered a “Public Ivy” institution, it is the 40th most selective university in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 rankings, making it a good fit for perceptive introverts who take their work seriously and choose who they surround themselves with carefully. Defining itself as a true “living and learning environment,” UCSB commits itself to a culture of collaboration between the academic disciplines, ensuring bountiful avenues for INFPs to channel their creative energy, whether they be multiple academic fields of interest, the local community, or both. Among its five most popular majors that might interest a big-thinking INFP are Communications, Journalism, and the Visual and Performing Arts.

Composite Score: 80

2. New College of Florida

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Tucked into the Gulf Coast within the city of Sarasota, New College of Florida is a public autonomous honors college that serves its state university system. As the 47th most selective university on U.S. News’ national university rankings list, New College of Florida’s top five majors are all in the liberal arts and sciences or humanities. This places it at the top for many types who are big-picture thinkers. It is also the only public university on this list which can lay claim to such a high degree of dedication to the “big ideas” majors, making it especially ideal for INFPs who like to surround themselves with a large number of like-minded people. Creative outlets for community involvement include the Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast (C4), which provides opportunities to interact creatively and academically with students from four other local colleges, as well as their surrounding local communities.

Composite Score: 79

3. Soka University of America (tie)

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Located in southern California’s south Orange County, Soka University of America is a small, private liberal arts college with the unique mission to foster the “creative coexistence of nature and humanity” through the cultivation of pacifism and a global citizenry. It uniquely partners with its Japanese sister school, the Soka University of Japan in Tokyo, placing adventurous INFPs in a great position to study abroad. All five of its top majors are in the liberal arts and humanities, making it an excellent fit for principle-driven thinkers who appreciate a boundaries-free approach to learning. Creative communities include the Soka Performing Arts Center with its various events and outreach opportunities, as well as the campus’s student-athletes, who participate in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes’ community outreach program, Champions of Character.

Composite Score: 75

3. Claremont McKenna College (tie)

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Nestled in the inland city of Claremont, California about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Claremont McKenna College is a private, independent liberal arts college known among the most selective of its kind in the United States. Although its curriculum places heavy emphasis on the Social Sciences (it’s top five majors are Economics, Political Science, Psychology, Accounting, and International Relations and Affairs in that order), it earned perfect scores for all other metrics chosen for INFPs: Selectivity, Unique or Alternative Mission, and Creative Communities. This makes it a great fit for INFPs who are uniquely suited for their predisposition to take on social obligations and involve themselves with civic duties to make the world a better place. Creative communities abound in the form of the Claremont Consortium of Colleges (7-Cs), allowing students at Claremont McKenna College to major in, take classes at, or participate in community outreach with any one of the seven colleges who are also part of that consortium.

Composite Score: 75

5. Goucher College

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Established in 1885 in what is now the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Goucher College is known for its founding affiliations with the Methodist Episcopal Church, its architecture, as well as its unique and innovative mission to prepare students to invent careers for themselves that have yet to be invented. Among its top five majors are those in the fields of Visual and Performing Arts, Journalism and Communications, as well as Business Management and Marketing, all of which require INFPs to employ a great deal of their bountiful resources for creative and innovative thought. Creative communities include its Community-Based Learning program, the Kratz Center for Creative Writing, a hackathon initiative for Coding in the Community, as well as internships, awards, and fellowships for students interested in Peace Studies and service-learning.

Composite Score: 74

6. Illinois Institute of Technology

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More commonly known as Illinois Tech, the Illinois Institute of Technology is a private research institution located in the city of Chicago. As the first of only three tech schools on a list of institutions focused mostly on the liberal arts, Illinois Tech is uniquely known for its pursuit of the architectural arts and engineering. As a graduate-degree-granting institution, it is highly selective, making a great fit for technologically inclined INFPs who dream of one day earning a master’s or doctoral degree. Community engagement opportunities abound in surrounding Chicago, but the university maintains its own fair share of creative communities, including but not limited to initiatives at IIT’s Institute of Design, Law School, and an interdisciplinary initiative called the Bronzeville Community Challenge, which encourages teams of local community members to compete for who can devise the most innovative and sustainable urban planning project.

Composite Score: 72

7. St. John’s College, Annapolis

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With two locations, St. John’s College is most known for being one of the oldest liberal arts institutions in the United States. Its Great Books program is among the best in in the nation, inspiring a unique mission to engage deeply with works of some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers. INFPs, with their great respect for the history of ideas, will appreciate this curriculum deeply. For St. John’s College at Annapolis, creative communities include all that Maryland’s capital city has to offer in the way of community engagement, from Fine Arts workshops on the university campus to several volunteer opportunitiesin the city itself.

Composite Score: 71

8. Harvey Mudd College

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Another highly respected Claremont College located outside Los Angeles, Harvey Mudd College scores perfectly as one of most selective universities on INFP’s list. Although none of its top five majors are in the liberal arts and humanities, it is by definition a liberal arts school (one of the top such institutions in the United States), so its curriculum guarantees an emphasis on big ideas. Earning a perfect score for its unique mission to “educate engineers, scientists, and mathematicians in [their own fields] and in the humanities and social sciences so that they may assume leadership in their field with a clear understanding of the impact of their work on society,” Harvey Mudd imparts a keen sense of social responsibility to its students. Sure to appreciate this dedication to making the world a better place, INFPs will find creative communities abound at the college’s Center for Creativity, which along with the Claremont Consortium of Colleges, works to serve the creative and collaborative interests of both the university and its surrounding communities.

Composite Score: 70

9. College of the Atlantic

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Part of a small, tight-knit community in Bar Harbor, Maine, College of the Atlantic offers unique degrees in the field of human ecology. With this unconventional, between-the-disciplines approach to higher learning, COA is the perfect fit for INFPs interested in the cultural and academic zeitgeists of environmental science, international studies, sustainable food systems, and socially responsible business. A very small college with under 350 students, College of the Atlantic is highly selective, choosing only those students who are fully dedicated to its mission to “collaborate, innovate, and think far outside the box.” Since the entire campus functions largely as a creative community, reaching out in the way of Community Planning & Ecological Policy initiatives as well as academically with its Center for Applied Human Ecology, INFPs will feel right at home in this free-thinking space on Mount Desert Island.

Composite Score: 68

10. The New School

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Located in Greenwich Village, The New School is one of New York City’s most well known universities for artists, scholars, and musicians. Encouraged to be the designers of their own majors, most of the New School’s majors fall under the category of independent study. However in conventional terms, its most popular avenues of study fall within the purviews of the Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, the Liberal Arts, English Language and Literature, and Psychology, making it an excellent fit for the academically serious and artistically experimental INFP. With its avant-garde mission and abundance of opportunities to collaborate with professors, artists, and hundreds of surrounding New York City communities, The New School earns a perfect scores for Unique or Alternative Mission and Creative Community metrics.

Composite Score: 67

11. Berea College

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About 35 miles south of Lexington, Kentucky, Berea College is a private liberal arts and work college, unique in that it does not charge tuition fees. As a work college, all students participate in a work-study program and receive full scholarships, working for approximately 10 hours a week as they take classes full time. Among its top five majors that would interest INFPs are Visual and Performing Arts, Education, and Family, Human, or Consumer Sciences. Berea College is also a college with Christian origins, and it requires students to take one course called Understandings of Christianity. This course is made accessible to students of all faiths, as the college takes pains to show sensitivity to each individual’s unique spiritual journey, which INFPs, as open-minded people, are sure to respect and appreciate. Creative communities are on the rise at Berea, as the university just received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to go toward arts-based community development projects with the mission of protecting the art and cultural heritage of Appalachia.

Composite Score: 66

12. California Institute of Technology

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Recognized both nationally and internationally by its famous nickname “Caltech,” the California Institute of Technology is found in Pasadena, California. The second technical university listed for INFPs and the tenth highest ranked national university according to U.S. News, Caltech is highly selective; yet it is unconventional in its mission for students of science and technology to become “creative members of society.” INFPs with natural gifts in the technical arts will appreciate the value placed on creativity at Caltech, and they will find no shortage of opportunities to channel their free spirits, whether they be into the university’s culture of pranking or its numerous creative communities through the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Outreach.

Composite Score: 65

13. St. John’s College, Santa Fe (tie)

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Like its northeastern counterpart above, St. John’s College is most known for being one of the oldest liberal arts institutions in the nation. Its Great Books program is among the best in in the U.S., inspiring a unique mission to engage deeply with works of some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers. INFPs, with their great respect for histories of ideas, will appreciate this curriculum deeply. For St. John’s College at Santa Fe, creative communities include all that New Mexico’s capital city has to offer in the way of community engagement, from Project Politaeon and off the university campus to several volunteer opportunitiesin the city itself.

Composite Score: 63

13. Sarah Lawrence College (tie)

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Fifteen miles north of Manhattan, Sarah Lawrence College is the fifth of five universities to earn a perfect score for its top five majors in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. One of the most respected liberal arts schools in the nation, Sarah Lawrence has an historically innovative approach to education with an emphasis on independent study. What it lacks in the way of a unique or alternative mission, it more than makes up for in the neighborhood of creative communities. The college’s dedication to civic engagement and proximity to New York City make it a perfect fit for INFPs who need a remote place to collect their creative energy before channeling it into any of the multiple service learning opportunities available to them both on the university campus and off.

Composite Score: 63

15. United States Air Force Academy (tie)

More than 1,300 basic cadets salute June 26 during their first reveille formation at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

More than 1,300 basic cadets salute June 26 during their first reveille formation at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

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Located at the base of Pike’s Peak in the Rocky Mountain city of Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy is the only military service-based institution to qualify for INFPs. As a liberal arts school, the USAFA surprisingly favors majors in some of the more abstract, alternative, or inventive fields of study, including Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies and Business, Management, and Marketing. One of the most selective universities on the list, the Air Force Academy chooses its students based on academic achievement, leadership potential, athletics, and character, as well as their projected capacity to live up to the Academy’s unique mission of “Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.” Creative communities include the , which includes a Prep School initiative for high school students in the community who are interested in the Academy. INFPs who appreciate the sentiment that creativity loves constraints will fit right into this environment, which inevitably teaches them to spread their wings and fly.

Composite Score: 62

15. Reed College (tie)

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Southeast of Portland, Reed College is the only private liberal arts school with a student-run nuclear reactor on campus for sustainable energy production. Uniquely known for its mandatory freshmen humanities program in addition to producing an unusually high number of graduates who go on to pursue graduate degrees, Reed does not select its students based purely or even mostly on the basis of grades, which (somewhat ironically) earns it a perfect score for the metric of Unique or Alternative Mission. Instead, grades are de-emphasized at Reed in favor of focusing on each student’s independent interests. Lone wolf INFPs will find this learning environment highly conducive to letting their intuitive instincts roam free. Receiving a near-perfect score for Creative Communities, Reed’s Community Wellness Program, themed community housing communities, as well as Science Outreach Office and Office for Inclusive Community will be sure to help the service-oriented INFP find their niche, both on and off campus.

Composite Score: 62

17. Wheaton College, Illinois (tie)

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Twenty-five miles outside Chicago in the suburb of Wheaton, Wheaton College is a mid-sized, Christian liberal arts school. Founded by abolitionists in 1860, the university has a rich and time-honored tradition of pushing the envelope when it comes to challenging the status quo of Christian conservatism with free inquiry. Four of its top five majors fall under the category of the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. For this reason, as well as the fact that it is one of the more selective schools on this list, the spiritually-minded and free-thinking INFP will find Wheaton a great fit. Creative communities include the Community School of the Arts, the Billy Graham Center, and the Office of Christian Outreach.

Composite Score: 60

17. Williams College (tie)

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One of the oldest and most prestigious private liberal arts colleges in the United States, Williams College can be found in quiet Williamstown, Massachusetts. Two of its top five majors fall under the category of the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. These are History, at the number two spot, and English Language and Literature, at the number four spot. One of only five colleges on our list to receive a perfect score for Selectivity, Williams is sure to attract many INFPs (as well as many other Introverted-types) who are like-mindedly selective about their company. What it lacks in the realm of a unique or alternative mission, it makes up for in the realm of Creative Communities, which also receives a perfect score. Avenues for INFPs to channel their orientation for service and creativity at Williams include all kinds of local, regional, and national initiatives at the college’s Center for Creative Community Development.

Composite Score: 60

19. Yeshiva University (tie)

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With four campuses in New York City, Yeshiva University is the oldest and best-known university affiliated with Judaism in the United States. Among its top five majors, two fall under the purview of the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. These are Hebrew Language and Literature and Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies. It also maintains the unique and alternative mission to “bring wisdom to life by combining the finest contemporary academic education with the timeless teachings of Torah.” INFPs interested in the finer workings of both secular and spiritual ways of life will find the curriculum inspired by this mission enriching. Creative communities are offered through the Center for the Jewish Future, which supports several initiatives, including a Community Leadership Initiative and a litany of Community Relations Midtown Initiatives.

Composite Score: 59

19. Barnard College (tie)

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A private, all-women’s liberal arts college affiliated with (and across the street from) Columbia University in New York City, Barnard College is one of the most selective and well-respected institutions of its kind. With a curriculum focused on studying intersections between social and political issues like race, class, and gender, it enacts a unique mission to “address issues of gender in all of their complexity and urgency,” scoring well for Top Five Majors in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. INFPs who identify as young women will also find Barnard’s network of creative communities highly satisfactory, as it scores perfectly for that metric with countless opportunities to channel creative energy back into the community.

Composite Score: 59

21. Georgetown University

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Located in Washington D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood, Georgetown University is one of the oldest, respected, and most selective institutions of higher learning in the United States. Known especially for its law school’s long list of esteemed alumni, three of Georgetown’s top five majors are in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. These include the innovative fields of Business, Management and Marketing at spot two, English Language and Literature at spot four, and Foreign Languages and Literatures at spot five. Not to be pigeonholed as a strictly “old school” university, Georgetown cultivates many active creative communities that INFPs would thrive in. These include several living learning communities, proposed initiatives and funding opportunities for new creative communities.

Composite Score: 58

22. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (tie)

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Founded in upstate Troy, New York in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic University (RPI) is commonly thought of as the oldest technical university in the English-speaking world. It is the third such technical institution listed for INFP, and as the second most selective of the three, is a good fit for INFPs who are architecturally inclined. Although only one of its top five majors are in Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions, its unique mission is focused on creative scientific innovation for the purpose of service to others. Its National Medal of Science-winning president and herCommuniversity initiative are especially focused on bridging the common gap between ivory tower academics and their surrounding cities, towns, and counties.

Composite Score: 56

22. University of California, Santa Cruz (tie)

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Seventy-five miles outside San Francisco and overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a giant green meadow, UC Santa Cruz is another of California’s Public Ivy institutions. Known for its alternative teaching, grading system, and mascot, UC Santa Cruz is a highly unconventional public research university that will appeal to the alternative-minded INFP. As one of the nation’s most green universities, its creative communities often revolve around sustainability initiatives, such as those made available through College Eight.

Composite Score: 56

24. Azusa Pacific University (tie)

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Near Los Angeles, Azusa Pacific University is a private, Christian liberal arts school with three out of five top majors in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions. Business, Management, and Marketing fields take the number one spot for these majors, while the Visual and Performing Arts and the Liberal Arts and Sciences take the third and fourth spots. Its uniquely evangelical mission will appeal to INFPs whose abstract thoughts tend toward a faith-based desire to serve God and the world. Creative communities include the School of Music, as well as a number of organizations through the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research.

Composite Score: 55

24. Washington and Lee University (tie)

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Making its home in Lexington, Virginia’s 325 acre swath of the Shenandoah Valley Washington and Lee University is one of the most selective liberal arts colleges for INFPs, receiving a perfect score for Selectivity. With three of its top five majors in the Arts, Humanities, Alternative Fields of Study and Service Professions, Washington and Lee is particularly suited for academically dedicated INFPs who wants to innovate in the fields of Business, History, or Management. Creative communities include but are not limited to offerings from the Student Arts League, the student-run radio station, as well as the Environmental Studies Program’s Service Learning initiative.

Composite Score: 55