The 16Personalities University Survival Guide

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Hey, so we hear you’re going to university! We at 16Personalities have two things we’d like to say to you:

  1. Congratulations!
  2. Are you ready?

If your answer to number two is a timid “I mean, I guess…” then you’re in the right place. If you answered, “Of course 😤,” then you’re probably a Commander or an Executive – and you should also stay.

In this article, we’ll use our personality data and research to figure out what you’ll need on this new adventure.

Don’t know what your personality type is? You’re in luck. We have a free test that you can check out here. Go ahead and take it – we’ll be here when you get back.

Now, before we dive in, we’d like to say that this list isn’t exhaustive. We base our advice on data and what those numbers say you’re likely to struggle with in higher education.

But you are not data.

You are a unique individual. Some issues are completely unique to your situation – regardless of personality type. All we hope is that the following will help clarify your upcoming environment, even if it’s just a little bit.

Let’s get into it.



The Issue

If you’re an Architect, your personality type puts a lot of pressure on themselves to be competent. In fact, you’re the most likely of all types to say:

  • You measure your worth by how educated you are.
  • You hold yourself to a higher standard than others.
  • You want to be completely in control of your life’s circumstances.

Architects like you tend to expect a lot of themselves and have very high standards for the world around them. You are an Intuitive type, after all. But your Judging and Thinking traits also make you incredibly rational.

As a result, you may find that you bail at the first sign that your plans won’t pan out. You’ll look for a better solution. This isn’t being wishy-washy. For Architects, this is a practice in efficiency.

Unfortunately, a habit of switching something as soon as it fails your expectations means that it’ll take a long time to achieve a goal.

The Solution

Lower your expectations.

Hold on, we know what you’re thinking: “Why would I lower my expectations? They make me who I am.”

In college, there’s bound to be something that will disappoint you. There might even be an event that makes you want to drop out of university altogether. (And we’re not just talking about horrible dining hall food here.)

But it’s important to remember that disappointment is a natural step toward satisfaction. Before you make any large changes, it’s important to check the facts around your situation. Ask yourself questions like:

  • “Is this as bad as it seems?”
  • “Will sticking with this derail my long-term plans?”
  • “How can I salvage this situation without throwing everything away?”

Remember that the confusion during your first months of university is normal. You’re human – and you’re experiencing a very different change that can unsettle even the most thorough planner.


The Issue

Logicians like yourself are insatiably curious and excellent learners. Yet these skills could use refreshing before you enter university.

When faced with something you don’t want to do, you’re often able to coast, because Logicians are such precocious people. But in most university settings, it takes more than smarts. For you, one of your biggest hurdles may be your work ethic. Of all personality types, you’re the most likely to believe the following:

  • At school, you can usually pass tests without studying for them.
  • At work, you try to only do the minimum required and avoid taking on unnecessary responsibilities.
  • Formal education is overrated.

The Solution

For your type, in particular, we stress going to class. You may read this and think, “Of course I’m going to go to class, why wouldn’t I?”

Well, you’d be surprised. You have a lot of freedom to do whatever you want in university. While you have the option to study the Cold War in depth, you also have a lot of freedom to eat junk food, party, play video games, and so on. As a Logician, you can become so involved with something you love that you forget to take care of your priorities.

Remember, competence builds confidence, so the more you master a subject, the better you’ll feel. You can make things easier for yourself by:

  • Not signing up for those 8:00 a.m. classes if you’re not a morning person. (Logicians are the most likely to be night owls, so set yourself up for success!)
  • Showing up to class. You don’t have to be completely present, but it’s easier to pay attention to a subject when you’re forced to listen to it.

Logician, you likely chose to go to college because you believed it had something to offer you. You’re going to fail sometimes, and that can be difficult because you usually understand subjects immediately. But don’t confuse failure with inability.


The Issue

Commanders like you put all responsibility onto themselves.

Listen, university isn’t easy all the time. For most, it’s a huge change. We know that, as a Commander, you expect to assimilate quickly, but we want to make sure that you have enough compassion for yourself to understand that sometimes things don’t work out.

Several things could possibly go amiss. You could:

  • Fail a test.
  • Get rejected for a date.
  • Not get the scholarship you were expecting.
  • Get a less-than-stellar dormmate.

Whatever may happen, the best thing to do is not take the failure out on yourself. Luck is an influential factor in all our lives, and all responsibility doesn’t fall solely on your shoulders.

We just want to remind you that university is hard for even the most genius and capable people – even for those with the personality type of Commander.

The Solution

As a new university student, give yourself room to fail. If it makes you feel better, Commander, you can give yourself a limit. Say something along the lines of:

  • “All right, I have five get-out-of-guilt-free cards.”
  • “Afterward, I can feel bad, but right now I’m just going to let myself experience failure without judging myself too harshly.”
  • “My expectations weren’t met, but maybe it’s not all my fault. Sometimes, things are out of my control.”

Fears can be eased by talking to those with more experience and expertise. If you remain worried, it could be a good idea to sign up with a group that will pair you with a mentor or older student who can offer advice.


The Issue

Debaters’ knack for winging it won’t cut it at university. That’s not to say it’s totally useless. But you really shouldn’t rely on unhinged ingenuity at 3:45 a.m. to get you a passing grade.

The Solution

Although the following calculator isn’t bulletproof, it may help when you try to convince yourself that you can write a 15-page paper in one night. Check it out here.

Here are some quick and fast tips for you as a Debater entering university:

  • Read the syllabus at the beginning of every class.
  • Write down the most important dates on the first day of class. These include:
    • Presentations
    • Project due dates
    • Finals
  • Download a productivity app that blocks distracting websites from your computer and phone.

As a Debater personality, you can be incredibly effective when acting in the moment. Can you imagine what you could do if you just settled down and really put your mind to something?



The Issue

Advocates heading off to college may feel a little more than nervous. And that’s understandable. Especially when you consider that personalities like you are the most likely to say:

  • They are easily upset by unforeseen events.
  • When they make a big mistake, they’re likely to judge themselves harshly and deprive themselves of something as a punishment.
  • They do not enjoy situations with uncertainty.

All of these inclinations – plus going off to university – can be tiring. Fortunately, we have suggestions for nervous Advocates just like you.

The Solution

Advocates, we want you to know that you’re probably not overreacting.

With a change this big, it’s not fair to invalidate any concerns you may have. Give yourself the credit you deserve. You’re going into relatively new territory. And that’s hard. It’s okay to be worried.

With that out of the way, here are a few things that can help:

  • Know that there’s always room to change should you want to. Changing your major won’t be the end of the world, dropping a class isn’t the end of your academic career, and you can request a room change.
  • Allow yourself to make “dumb mistakes.” It’s university! This is the time to experiment. Educate yourself on things you want to try, of course, but do try them.
  • In some cases, good enough is good enough. Your personality type struggles with perfectionism. Often the voice in your head insists, “This could be better.” Adhering to those standards can be exhausting, so instead imagine what a partial effort looks like. Does it still get your desired outcome? If so, do that.

If you’re still worried, please remember not to feel bad about those negative emotions. They’re natural reactions. Try to lend yourself the same compassion that you lend others during this new period in your life.


The Issue

Mediators such as yourself are among the most softhearted and fairy-eyed of the personality types. However, you can panic when put into tough situations. You’re the most likely to ask yourself:

  • “Will I be able to make any friends?”
  • “What option should I choose?”
  • “How do I know I’ve chosen the correct major?”
  • “Will I ever live up to my full potential?”

The Solution

For most questions, we’d like to remind all you Mediators that you don’t need every answer right now. Not at this very moment. You might want to remember that university is a time for exploration, and to let yourselves explore.

As a Mediator going to university, try the following:

  • Give yourself room to not know what is going to happen.
  • Accept such uncertainty and forgive yourself for any mistakes.
  • Try to sign up for at least one “just-for-fun” course; creative writing, for example.

Mediators like you can thrive with all this new freedom. In university, you’ll have the chance not only to express your creativity but also to discover a truer version of yourself.

No matter what happens, you’re going to uncover parts of yourself that you didn’t even know existed. And it’s going to be amazing.


The Issue

Protagonists are go-getters. If you’re one of them, you’re likely to be incredibly competitive and motivated, should you set your mind to something.

However, even if you’re excited out of your mind for university, you can also be prone to negative emotions – just like everybody else. University-bound Protagonists like you may struggle with feeling disconnected from family and friends at your home base.

Protagonists are the most likely to say that:

  • They would feel lost without family or friends to lean on for support.
  • They keep in touch with friends weekly.
  • Family background and relationships are an important part of their identity.

As a Protagonist, you’re amazing at making new relationships. But even you may find college lonelier than what you’re used to.

The Solution

To ease this potential loneliness, Protagonists like you should aim to maintain a connection with at least one friend or family member.

Perhaps you might schedule a weekly phone call to talk to the people you care about. During these conversations, try to:

  • Be frank with your loved ones.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
  • Accept any support they may give.

As a Protagonist, you often turn negative emotions like sadness and anger inward, until that’s all you can see. You probably don’t want to upset others. But, in certain cases, you need to think of your own inner harmony first.


The Issue

People with the Campaigner personality type are bouncing balls of light and happiness. As new students in university, it’s relatively easy for your personality type to get into the flow of things. You enjoy the thrill of new places, make friends easily, and don’t sweat too much of the small stuff.

So, what’s one of the bigger issues for a personality type who is built for resilience and adaptability?


This might seem lighthearted on its face, but disorganization can become a big problem for Campaigners. Whether in a personal context, at school, or at work, misplacing things can interfere with your ability to get things done, and it ultimately eats up time and productivity.

Campaigners who can adopt a loose lifestyle may be fine with disorganization. But the rest of the world may not be as forgiving.

The Solution

Set in place a loose set of organization principles to follow. This can include:

  • Putting up a hook to hang your room key on when you come in.
  • Creating a designated folder for all of your homework assignments.
  • Dedicating 10 minutes in the morning to prioritizing your tasks for the day.
  • Using a monthly planner to write down all the most important big deadlines (use all the colored pencils and markers!).
    • Then write smaller deadlines.
    • Look at this planner every day.
    • Doodle in the planner when bored.
    • Give yourself a small gift for every deadline or goal met – a cute sticker? Or maybe a treat from the dining hall?

Notice how none of these are strict rules for you Campaigners to follow. That’s because demanding strict organization and order from a Campaigner is like asking a fish to climb a tree. It’s important to respect who you are – Prospecting types with wandering imaginations. Any other way would be a quick road to resentment for your personality type.



The Issue

Logisticians like their habits and their comforts. This doesn’t change when you head off to university for the first time. To our Logisticians, we say that you need to prepare yourself for discomfort. Particularly of the social kind.

Our data found that Logisticians are the most likely to:

  • Prefer a silent in-flight neighbor to someone who is interesting to talk to.
  • Say they have a careful and methodical approach to life.
  • Not like their daily routine to be interrupted by something unexpected.

While most Logistician personalities know they’ll be forced to interact with new people, it can still be a nasty shock to the system. This is especially true for those of you who move onto a new campus.

You’ll need to be ready for unwelcome socialization forced upon you by resident advisors and professors alike. But below are ways you can make the experience more enjoyable.

The Solution

We don’t expect you to become an Extravert overnight – nor do we want that for you. Instead, we’ve thought of some tactics that embrace who you are as a person while allowing you to meld more easily into university life.

We recommend:

  • Investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
  • Trying to find a secluded study space outside of your dorm room/sleeping space (a favorite desk at the library, for example). This will help you explore your new area while also retaining a healthy amount of space and privacy from new acquaintances.
  • Your best bet in finding like-minded friends is joining an organization that sparks your interest.

If all else fails, you can adapt (within reason, of course). It might feel very annoying, but it’s part of the experience of going off to college. You’ve got this!


The Issue

Defenders who are entering university for the first time may have issues with homesickness and frugality. As a Defender personality type, you’re probably very close to your home community, and you may dislike sudden change being thrust upon you. The only way to ease this process is to prepare for it.

Our data also found that Defenders going to university may:

  • Have issues with spending money. (They are very frugal personality types.)
  • Keep an eye on their budget.
  • Like having savings available.

We’ve come up with a few ways that university-bound Defenders like you can temper negative feelings and encourage positive ones.

The Solution

There isn’t a hard-and-fast remedy for financial guilt. Perhaps the best thing that a frugal person like you can do is allow yourself to have one unnecessary purchase per week and try not to feel guilty about it. Try to purchase things that can be considered investments in your future. This ranges from something small, like a mattress topper for your new room, to something pricier, like a new calculator for your calculus class.

Also, try not to buy your class materials for full price. If you’re really stressed about spending money, here are some ways to save:

  • Rent your books.
  • Borrow a classmate’s material and scan necessary sections.
  • Ask your professor if they have any copies available for borrowing.
  • Check your library to see if a copy is available.
    • If there is, borrow the copy, take your syllabus, and scan all sections needed for the upcoming semester.

In the end, you’re purchasing things that encourage your longevity and success as a student. It may not be the greatest feeling in the world, but you’re more than worth it.


The Issue

If you’re an Executive, you generally believe that you can achieve your goals through consistency and hard work. This self-confidence means that the prospect of university can seem incredibly exciting. You understand that there will be obstacles, but you also know that you can overcome them.

Executives like you are most likely to say the following:

  • You like enforcing the rules.
  • You like being in an organization with a well-defined hierarchy.
  • You are known as someone who can get things done.

Executives dislike disorganization and a fluid hierarchy. In university, you’ll be dealing with those very things in many cases. You’ll have much more freedom to decide your route, and this freedom can seem frustrating to you at first.

The Solution

To feel more comfortable, Executives like you can build structure around themselves. This can look like:

  • Giving yourself a specific goal each day.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the processes of your new university.
  • Finding the organizations or clubs that have the best standings.
  • Researching professors who have the highest recommendations and the most structured classes.
  • Finding the dining halls that have the best food.

One of the best things about being an Executive is believing that you’re the master of your own fate. If it’s structure you desire, then it’s structure you’ll find. For those who are still worried about feeling lost, please remember that this process will take time.


The Issue

As a Consul, one of the biggest issues you may not be expecting at university is homesickness. Your personality type is likely to say, “Family first,” so what should you do in a situation where you’re separated from that support system?

The Solution

For Consuls going to college, we recommend spending time doing what you do best: making connections. Of course, new connections can’t replace old ones. So, we advise you to prepare for the feeling of loneliness, but also to prepare yourself for the new relationships that you’ll make soon.

If you still find yourself homesick, arrange to have a chat with a family member or a close friend at least once a day. And, if you can, arrange to go home on the weekends (but not too often!).



The Issue

Some Virtuosos may feel ambivalent toward things they don’t want to do. In university, this can be many things, but it’s likely to show up as an unwillingness to do assignments.

When it comes to things like unnecessary socialization, boring gen-ed classes, or pep rallies, your personality type can have a “this is dumb” attitude. And while that feels good in the moment, if you never see things through or indulge in the pleasure of being young and independent, you can end up feeling regretful.

The Solution

Push through the “I don’t want to be here” mind-set with this simple concept: “All I have to do is show up.”

Now, this concept can be applied in different ways. You can show up to class, but not have the intention of paying attention. You can begin your homework – just a paragraph – without the intention of finishing. The thought of a long road ahead can dissuade you. So, try just looking at it as small steps, such as five-minute increments.

Essentially, it’s harder to fail once you’ve already done the hardest part – showing up.


The Issue

Adventurers want to be passionate about their learning. But, sometimes, that doesn’t seem possible.

Individuals with your personality type are likely to want the following from their college experience:

  • Direct application of what they learn.
  • To genuinely enjoy what they learn.
  • The freedom to express themselves.

We want you Adventurers going off to university to know that just because you don’t feel passionate about something doesn’t mean that you’re on the wrong path. Nor does it mean that something is wrong with you.

The Solution

As an Adventurer, when you’re choosing your upcoming course schedule, we recommend that you:

  • Start light with your course load. Try following your university’s minimum requirements for a full-time student.
  • Let one of those classes be a class you know you’ll enjoy.
  • If you’re not sure what to choose, try arranging a discussion with a former student about a class or browse your school’s online forums for recommendations.

Do what you need to do to feel at home in this new place. You may not always feel passionate about the work you’re doing at school, but that’s an unfair expectation to place on yourself. Instead, aim to be mostly passionate, but allow room for boredom as well.


The Issue

Entrepreneurs prefer physicality over the theoretical. It’s for this reason that individuals with this personality type can find certain areas of university life difficult to deal with.

Entrepreneurs like you can find themselves swept up in all the excitement that comes with college life – parties, experimentation, new opportunities. And while this is completely fine (and encouraged!), we want to make sure that you don’t lose sight of the reason you’re there – to learn.

The Solution

For some Entrepreneurs, the biggest problem may be a “just turn it in” attitude. This isn’t to say that Entrepreneurs are bad students, only that they’re inclined to neglect the necessities if something more interesting comes along. As a student, if you don’t feel compelled to do your work, just remember that getting a C on something you’ve submitted is far better than getting a zero on an assignment you’ve blown off.

As an Entrepreneur, you’re just as capable as any other type to succeed. And, when push comes to shove, you’ll do what’s needed and get on with it.


The Issue

If you’re an Entertainer personality type, you’ve earned your title for a reason. You love to entertain. While you can entertain for free, sometimes wild nights get a little out of hand, and you’ll find yourself severely short on cash – and that stress can affect your grades. This is especially true in university where being a “broke college student” is very common.

While this can be an issue for all personality types, it can be particularly rough for Entertainers.

The Solution

Save up an emergency fund. University students of every stripe can go broke quickly, so we imagine that this is a solution for everyone. We just think it would be particularly helpful for Entertainers because you’re such social creatures.

You can save up an emergency fund by:

  • Working a part-time job on or off campus.
  • If you don’t want to bother with working at all during the school year, try working during semester breaks.
  • Working for the university in exchange for room, board, or, if possible, tuition.

You’ll have a lot less stress on your shoulders when you know you have a backup plan. Also, once you’ve created the fund, make an entirely separate pile labeled, “For the good nights to come.”


Going off to university for the first time is both a difficult and exciting experience, no matter your personality type. It can feel like forever at first, but once you settle in, time can rush by.

Whatever you do, take your first few weeks to luxuriate in those new and nervous moments. Later, you’ll laugh at your mistakes and wonder why you were even concerned to begin with.

What’s your university experience? For those who are attending for the first time, did we address your fears accurately? For those who’ve already attended, what do you wish your older self could’ve said to your younger self? Leave your comments below, and we’ll discuss!

Further Reading

A for Effort?: Personality Type and Passing Tests without Studying

The Art of Time Management and Personality Types

Successfully Failing and Personality Types

How to Take a Mental Health Day for Your Personality Type