Finding a major that suits your personality

Photo credit: Frances Mansour
Zachary Phillips

The only thing that feels worse than deciding to change your major after getting halfway through an unwanted degree is deciding not to change your major because you’ve been around campus for so long that some people are starting to mistake you for a faculty member.

In hopes of simplifying the daunting task of selecting a major, I have developed a selection method that is sure to leave you satisfied from the start. By choosing a major that is compatible with your personality type, determined by a free-to-use knockoff of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test, you will quickly nestle into an academic niche that promises success and fulfillment.

Your personality type is a four letter code representing four fundamental characteristics:

First is your world-view: Extroversion (E) means you focus on the outside world, while Introversion (I) means you focus on what’s within.

Next is your information intake. Sensing (S) means you focus on the basics, while Intuition (N) means you see the hidden meanings underneath.

Third is your decision making. If you are Feeling (F) then you make decisions based on emotions and circumstances, whereas Thinking (T) leans towards logic and reasoning.

Last is your preferred structure. If you are Judging (J) then you prefer matters to be orderly and defined, whereas someone who is Perceiving (P) prefers to leave things open and ready for change.

With that knowledge in hand, it’s time to find your dream major. Below are some of mankind’s most common personality types, paired with their most suitable majors.

Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging

As a member of the ISTJ type, you are quiet, orderly and responsible. You like to work independently and efficiently, and your job is never done unless it’s done right. You are practical and you feel fulfilled by solving problems through ingenuity.

Engineering is the major for you. Your meticulous attention for detail will come in handy both in the books and in the shop. You will relish the challenge of finding ingenious fixes to difficult roadblocks and your steady drive towards achieving a goal means you won’t really be fazed by spending two hours trying to solve a single math problem.

You might even enjoy it in a sick, “I deserve this” sort of way.

Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging.

If you belong to the ESFJ family, you are both conscientious and compassionate. You complete tasks in a timely, accurate manner, and you have a keen eye for detail.

On top of that, you value relationships with other humans, and love to be appreciated for your efforts and achievements.

Nursing is a no-brainer for you. Since you care so much for the well-being of others, you will likely feel empowered and fulfilled by a career devoted to those in need. Your attention to the small things will be crucial when someone’s life depends on you.

As far as being appreciated, you will need to learn to live vicariously through the closest medical physician. They’ll probably get all of the recognition for your vigilance.

Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving

As a proud member of the ESTP group, you are likely to enjoy the finer things in life. You are outgoing, and you excel at pleasing other people. You have a fine-tuned appreciation for both relationships and material possessions, and you easily adapt to new environments and challenges.

Although you could succeed in many environments, my suggestion is recreation. You will still be devoted to fulfilling the lives of others, but in a slightly less altruistic manner than nursing majors.

A career in recreation promises bright lights and beautiful people. You’re probably already aquiver with visions of spas and upscale hotels, answering the complaints of visor-clad tourists with their fanny packs all in a bunch.

I’ve never really asked a recreation student about their courses’ rigor, but I’m guessing that “Foundations of Leisure and Recreation” really won’t give you much trouble.

Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging

If you belong to the ENTJ family, you are a natural-born businessperson. You are shrewd and decisive, and your mind naturally works toward optimizing efficiency.

You are quick to assume leadership roles, and you are very vocal about new ideas and opinions.

Armed with an eye for efficiency, a cutthroat drive, and a bachelor’s degree in business, you are bound to achieve CEO status in no time. Just don’t forget about the little journalist who tipped you off to your full potential when you’re out there in the big leagues buying election results.

Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perceiving

As the proud owner of an INTP personality type, you are a theoretical thinker and love to dwell in the realm of the abstract. You love processing different ideas and opinions, but tend to fail when it comes to social interactions.

Naturally, you are the perfect fit for the life of an English major. Before you write off the life of an English major as a bore, just hear me out.

As an English major myself, I have had the immense joy of spending the last five semesters sitting in the library’s darkest corners, preparing for a storm of free-response question tests. Sure, having books as your only friends can get lonely at times, but people will just disappoint you anyway.

After several semesters as an English major, you may think you are starting to lose your mind, but you’re not. Everything really is a phallic symbol.


Let me emphasize that this article is not meant to sway anyone into abandoning a major that they are perfectly happy with. When it comes to important life decisions, passions and interests always come first.

However, for those of you who seem to be void of any interests or passions whatsoever, I do hope that this guide served you well.

If you feel like your personality type wasn’t represented above, feel free to take a similar test here, and determine what major fits you the best. Enjoy!

Zachary Phillips can be reach at [email protected] or @ZachSPhillips on Twitter.