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by Dave Berry

Personality Type = Good-Fit College Major?

The study of personality type and temperament can be fascinating. In my admissions counseling work, I use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (TM) (MBTI (TM)) to assess high schoolers’ personality preferences to see which direction in life may provide more happiness and success for them. By the way, if you’re curious about which type you may be, try this little online questionnaire. It’s not the formal MBTI (TM) instrument, but it will get you into the ballpark of knowledge about your personality type and temperament. Once you have your “four letters,” you can then explore the Web for an almost limitless amount of enlightening data that will help you better understand yourself.

One of my many to-do projects is attempting to deduce the “personality” of certain colleges and universities. This may sound rather pie-in-the-sky-like to most folks, but I believe that if one looks deep enough, one can infer specific characteristics about a school’s “attitude” and “preferences” to fit into the type and temperament matrix. Obviously, I haven’t explored this project sufficiently enough to report any progress here, but when I do, you’ll be among the first to know.

Perhaps a more reasonable application of MBTI (TM)-like information would be to use personality type and temperament data to project which of the many college majors out there would be a good match for prospective collegians. Well, someone has written a book not about MBTI (TM) personality types but, rather, about the RIASEC personality types. I thought you might like to know about it. It’s the second edition of 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality. Here’s some background:

Research has proven that matching your personality to a major improves your satisfaction and success in college and in your future career.

In his new book 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality, Second Edition, Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., explains this concept, saying, “Personality theorists believe that people with similar personality types naturally tend to associate with one another in the workplace, the classroom and other places. As they do so, they create an environment that is hospitable to their personality type. Therefore, your personality type not only predicts how well your skills will match the demands of the major or job; it also predicts how well you will fit in with the culture of the classroom or work site as shaped by the people who will surround you and interact with you. Your personality type is a key to career choice because it affects your satisfaction with your job, your productivity in it, and the likelihood that you will persist in this type of work. Likewise, your personality indicates which majors might be good choices for you because most college students choose their majors to help advance their careers.”

In 10 Best College Majors for Your Personality Shatkin provides more than 90 “best majors” lists that connect the six RIASEC personality types to specific college majors. These lists include “Best Majors with the Best Income Potential,” “Best Majors with the Best Job-Growth Potential,” “Best Majors with the Best Job Opening Potential” and many more. Below are some examples of the “best majors” Shatkin links to each of the RIASEC personality types.

  • Majors for a Realistic Personality: Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, Dentistry, Environmental Science, Veterinary Medicine
  • Majors for an Investigative Personality: Medicine, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Pharmacy, Biochemistry
  • Majors for an Artistic Personality: Architecture; Classics; Graphic Design, Commercial Art and Illustration; Interior Design; Modern Foreign Language
  • Majors for a Social Personality: Nursing (R.N. Training), Physical Therapy, Physician Assisting, Communications Studies/Speech, Graduate Study for College Teaching
  • Majors for an Enterprising Personality: Law, Business Management, Bioengineering, Management Information Systems, International Business
  • Majors for a Conventional Personality: Pharmacy, Computer Science, Accounting, Management Information Systems, Business Management

For more information regarding personality type and college majors, see this interesting article.

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Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

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2 Responses to “Personality Type = Good-Fit College Major?”

  1. Mr K Says:

    Dave
    Need your advice. My daughter goes to a prep school. The school claims their regular courses are equivalent to AP courses at public schools. I worry that this is simply hype. How can I find out the “ranking” of her school at different universities, so I can cut thru the hype versus the reality. thanks.

  2. Dave Berry Says:

    Mr. K:

    Here’s a great College Confidential forum thread that could help:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-admissions/890284-2010-boarding-school-rankings.html

    Feel free to post your questions there.

    The only way to know the >>“ranking” of her school at different universities<< would be to contact the admissions offices of her candidate colleges and ask them. They may or may not give you the answer you’re looking for.

    Dave

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