INTPs usually really enjoy academics. This type loves to learn, to explore new facts and add them to the ever growing memory bank of knowledge in their heads. But they often have problems in traditional academic institutions as well, and any INTP who wants to go this route will need to be aware of these potential pitfalls if they want to succeed and move on to better things.
The INTPs Learning Style
INTPs have incredible memories. If you’ve ever met someone who seems to have a mind like an organized, ever responsive filing cabinet then you’ve probably known an INTP. This type uses introverted thinking as their dominant function. This function likes to collect facts, analyze them, and separate them into clean, discrete units that are completely untouched by emotion or confounding ideas. This tendency drives INTPs to get to the bottom of things. They like nothing more than to be given a complex tangle of ideas or systems and to break down the separate components into their separate, basic units. And they are very, very good at doing this.
Because of this deep understanding, INTPs usually do very well at academic tasks. However, this may not be obvious in every type of education setting. INTPs are naturally solitary, one of the most solitary personality types, and they need a lot of alone time to think over their ideas and separate them for use and further analysis. This solitary kind of learning is very effective for INTPs, and they often get very good marks at school without trying very hard. However, it often isn’t supported in most learning environments, and INTPs may experience a lot of judgement for their preference throughout their lives.
INTP Learning Challenges
Despite their agile brains, INTPs sometimes struggle in school. They’re solitary learners, which means that they prefer to be by themselves to analyze data. A school classroom that’s crammed full of students, and has the attendant number of distractions, doesn’t fit well with this type. INTPs can become frustrated by the distractions and rebel in their own quiet way, which often means that they simply refuse to use their amazing brains to their full capacity. And this is a great shame.
Another issue that INTPs have in school is with their need for independence. INTPs use extraverted intuition as their auxiliary function. This function likes to explore the world and to discover connections between new ideas. But traditional schools don’t allow for this kind of independence, nor the flexibility of mind that comes along with it. Schools are built on the idea that there is one truth, and that it’s often based on traditional norms or beliefs rather than facts. But most INTPs have no patience or respect for this kind of rigid thinking or structure.
INTPs believe in truth unencumbered by emotions, prejudices or irrational beliefs, and anyone who doesn’t think the same way immediately loses the INTPs respect. And if an INTP loses respect for the people who are teaching them because they uncover this kind of error in thinking, they’re not shy about showing it. And this can completely derail an INTPs schooling, and make them very cynical about the entire process.
INTPs in High School
INTPs often struggle in high school. They have no problems with the academic side of it, but struggle to connect with the people around them. This personality type has a lot of trouble understanding their own emotions and those of other people. They prefer rational thought, and tend to push their emotions down until they’re angry, when they explode all over the place. This rational reserve doesn’t serve them well in high school, and INTPs often have few friends. In fact, the entire high school experience is often very difficult for INTPs, who find themselves isolated both by their difficulty with emotional connections and by their extremely rational, intuitive brains. Other students often have difficulty understanding INTPs, and this can leave them feeling very alone and as if no one will ever understand them.
INTPs use an intuitive function as their auxiliary function and this is fairly rare. In fact, some sources suggest that only 25% of people use an intuitive function. This difference creates a major communication problem for people who use intuitive functions and need and prefer certain types of conversations to feel healthy and connected. People who use a sensing function, the other 75% of the population, often have no time or need for these intuitive conversations. This can create a distance in any relationship between these two types, and this difference is never more obvious than in high school for an INTP. Even if the INTP tries to connect, most of the people around them, their teachers included, often don’t understand them or their needs, and this can create even more of a divide.
Higher Education and the INTP
Once an INTP gets into higher education, many of these problems go away. Higher education is made for people who use an intuitive function. Many of the teachers have the same preference, and the open, speculative environment encourages this kind of thinking. An INTP in this setting usually thrives as they realize how much there is to learn and receive encouragement and praise from the people around them for their curiosity and their incredible ability to learn. Their social interactions become easier too. Most INTPs aren’t easy companions, but they do have a certain clarity of wit and vision that can make them very popular in the college setting. INTPs who do decide to go to college often find the experience extremely rewarding, and the experience often heals some of the wounds that were inflicted on them in the high school setting.
INTPs love to learn, and academics is one area in which they thrive and reveal the true power of their amazing brains. As long as they can overcome their natural resistance to traditional structures and institutions, learning institutions offer some of the best experiences and the most natural environments for the INTP.
- Dr. Drenth, A. J. “Introverted Thinking (Ti) vs Extraverted Thinking (Te): INTP vs INTJ“. (Retrieved Mar 2018).
- Dr. Drenth, A. J. “How INTPs & INFPs Can use Extraverted Intuition (Ne) to Cultivate More Meaningful Lives“. (Retrieved Mar 2018)
- “INTP – The Scientist“.