INTPs at School

INTPs love learning.  Yet they are one of the types most likely to have trouble (though not necessarily poor grades) in school (Roberds-Baxter & Baxter, 1994).  Indeed, INTPs were one of the top four types who said that school was a source of high stress (Myers et al., 1998).

If an INTP is "cooperative" and willing to grind away at the homework, they may become the teacher's pet because of their love of learning.  However, other INTPs earn their teachers' dislike by questioning them in front of the class and arguing over their conclusions.  Unhappily the "teacher's adversary" scenario is apparently more common.  You can find good examples of both these scenarios in the protostudy INTP Women Across Cultures by Barger and Kirby, along with much other interesting information. 

In college INTPs really bloom.  Since college is taught primarily by Intuitives, INTPs are exposed to a teaching style that meshes with their own natural preferences for the first time.  Not that they will necessarily get better grades, but class will probably be more interesting.  Trouble looms however, because INTPs are the type most frequently referred for alcohol and substance abuse during college (Provost, 1991). 

So what do INTPs tend to major in?  Yep, science.  Science students are strongly NT, and even more strongly INT (Myers & Myers, 1980).  Another INTP interest is engineering.  A study by McCaulley (1990) of ASEE students found that INTPs seemed to prefer the specialty fields of Geological, Electrical, and Petroleum Engineering, in that order.  You can find out more about INTP preferences for various other fields of engineering here (page 13).  Interestingly, INTPs are also the type most likely to take a foreign language; in fact, a study found that there were 2.34 times as many INTPs in a foreign language class as would be expected (Moody, 1988).  You can read the whole study here; also check out the strong INT preference for science, which is also discussed.