Tag Archives: MBTI

How You Process Information, and Why it Matters in College Admissions

Let’s begin with a fun exercise. Take a look at the art below, and describe what you see. Take a few minutes and jot down your observations.

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How Do You Process Information?

When I administer the MBTI to individuals, I often ask them to describe what they see in the artwork above. Their responses are very revealing about their preferences for how they process information, and the kind of information they trust. The two different preferences are:

  • Sensing: People with a Sensing preference tend to process information in a literal, exact way; they rely on facts, data, and details that can be proven through their senses.
  • Intuition: People with an Intuitive preference like to absorb information in an innovative, gestalt manner; they use patterns and meanings to interpret the information received through their senses.


Clients with a Sensing preference tend to describe the artwork using terminology such as the following:

“There’s a tree with a fence around it with three people standing near it. In the front is a guy on a horse, with two people carrying things, someone with a stick and two bags, probably moving grain. At the right corner is a large house with a straw roof, with three people on the inside and two on the bed. Did I miss anything?”

Clients with an Intuitive preference, on the other hand, might say something like this:

“There’s a focus on nature, because the trees have colors, but the people are black and white. The use of muted tones seems to create a calming effect, but the dark sky looks foreboding. The lake is the only thing that’s colorful, which draws you in and emphasizes nature over people.”


 Summary of the Different Approaches:

  • Sensing people are concerned with being accurate and taking in all the information (“Did I miss anything?”); their first step is to note all the facts, and itemize everything.
  • Intuitive people try to weave the sensory details together into a coherent story; they are comfortable “guessing” and “assuming,” in order to develop an interpretation that makes sense of the facts.


What is the Impact of Information-Processing on Students?

Impact on Academics and Activities

How we process information impacts our attitudes and interests. Often, when we find we have strengths in a particular sphere, we become more interested, which leads us to excel and pursue this area even more.

As an example, let’s consider how students with different preferences might approach their academics and activities.

Sarah has a Sensing preference: she feels much more comfortable doing problem-sets than analyzing literature or historical documents. For Sarah, creating an interpretation feels like taking a leap, and makes her uncertain and uncomfortable. Sarah is drawn more to math and science problem-solving in which there is a clearer right answer. Sarah’s favorite activity in high school has been science research, and she wants to major in Chemistry.

On the other hand, Brian has an Intuitive preference: his favorite subjects are English and Social Studies, and he reads historical novels in his leisure time. He enjoys analyzing people, and finding themes that weave through different historical periods. Brian enjoys participating in National History Day every year, and is looking forward to studying creative writing and European History in college.

Sarah and Brian’s different preferences for how they process information have led them to different academic fields and extracurricular activities – and may impact their choice of careers as well, in concert with other aspects of their personality and interests.

Impact of Information-Processing on College Admissions

Similarly, students’ preferences for processing information impact every aspect of the college admissions process!

College Tours. On college tours, those with a Sensing preference would pay great attention to the details of the college campus. But they might latch onto a few aspects – either positive or negative – that color the impression of the school, without placing these factors in context. People with an Intuitive prefereence would be more inclined to respond to his or her overall feel on campus, but might ignore specifics that do not support their conclusion.

Essays. In the essay process, an Intuitive person would bring the strengths of creating context, and establishing themes throughout the essay; but might not include specific details to bring anecdotes to life. A Sensing person’s first instinct would be to pack the essay full of details, which could create a vivid picture, but might not tie the specifics to broader themes in his or her life.

Interviews. Preferences for processing information affect how students approach college interviews as well. Sensing people tend to list items in response to questions; they offer specifics of their activities but not necessarily the “why” of their interests. Intuitive people often speak in generalities and succeed at describing themselves broadly, but may not provide the details to back up their statements.

The more you understand your preferences, strengths, and weaknesses, the more effective you will be! We all have the capacity to build on our strengths, and offset our weaknesses. The dimension of processing information is only one of four dichotomies in the MBTI personality assessment tool. For more information about becoming aware of your personality, contact Collegiate Gateway. As always, we’re happy to help!



Improve Your Decision-Making: Use the Zig-Zag Model

High school and college students are faced with many decisions, ranging from which course to take, to how to spend your summer, to what college to attend. As such, honing your decision making skills is extremely beneficial. According to the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), the world’s leading personality assessment tool, our personalities influence our approach to solving problems and making decisions. By utilizing this powerful tool to understand your natural preferences, you can identify ways to broaden your approach, and make better, more informed decisions.

How Do You Process Information?

The MBTI posits that we are each born with a natural preference for how we process information and for the kind of information that we trust. The two different preferences are:

  • Sensing: take in information in a literal, exact way; rely on facts, data, and details that can be proven through our senses.
  • Intuition: take in information in an innovative, gestalt manner; use patterns and meanings to interpret the information we receive.
As an example, let’s consider how students with different preferences might approach an assignment to analyze a work of literature. Sarah has a Sensing preference: she likes to gather all the plot details and facts about characters, and makes sure she has a good grasp of all these details. On the other hand, Brian has an Intuitive preference: he prefers to interpret why characters act the way they do, look for patterns in the plot, and construct an overall meaning of the story.

How Do You Make Decisions?

We also have natural preferences for how we respond to the information we have gathered. The different approaches are:

  • Thinking: use objective, logical criteria to evaluate information and make decisions.
  • Feeling: use subjective, values-based criteria to make decisions, with priority placed on consensus and harmony.
Let’s say you are a high school student evaluating which college to apply to. Zach has a preference for Thinking: he likes to construct a pro/con list of all the features of the colleges he visits, and spends hours viewing online sources of how students rate colleges. Rachel prefers a Feeling approach: she relies more on a gut reaction to how she feels on campus, and likes to chat with students on her visits to find out what they enjoy and don’t enjoy about the college.

Heart of Type

These two preference scales – for processing information (either through Sensing or Intuition), and for making decisions (either through Thinking or Feeling) – form the “heart of type,” in MBTI theory, also known as the “function pairs.” Each of the four combinations has a distinct approach to life and work that impact decision-making. First, let’s look at the overall approach of each function pair:

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Now, let’s look at how each function pair approaches decisions:


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Source: Introduction to Type and Decision Making, by Katherine W. Hirsh and Elizabeth Hirsh, CPP, Inc.

Blind Spots

Our function pairs represent our two preferred mental processing functions, which operate on the conscious level. The non-preferred functions exist at a sub-conscious level, and may result in blind spots. In the example below, the individual has an “ST” heart-of-type, which combines preferences for Sensing as a way to process information and Thinking as a way to make decisions. As a result, this person may not give enough time to the steps of Intuition and Feeling, or may even ignore these considerations.


Let’s say you are a high school senior writing your college essays. Even this activity involves decisions! You need to decide on your topic, your tone, and the content and structure of your essay.

As an example, Alex was an ST student (Sensing-Thinking) who loved chemistry research, and in his spare time became a national scrabble champion. When we brainstormed personal essay topics, we decided that scrabble would be an unusual topic with strong personal meaning. His first draft took the form of a factual listing of tricks he used to create words. His non-preferred functions were Intuition and Feeling, and these served as blind spots. I encouraged him to incorporate Intuition by exploring patterns in his tricks, and discussing how he applied the use of patterns to activities outside of scrabble, such as research. I also suggested that he “warm up” the essay with more Feeling, by discussing his emotions when he reached his goals.

The Zig-Zag Model for Decision-Making


The Zig-Zag process model posits that the most effective way to solve problems is to utilize all four of the MBTI function preferences of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling, in the sequence below.

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In order to thoroughly consider each of these four functions, the following steps are suggested:


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Source: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 2009, published by CPP, Inc.

The first step in problem solving is to use Sensing to identify the facts, or raw data. But this is not sufficient, as we need to examine the meaning of the data, place it within the context of prior experience, and explore create ways of viewing the problem, by using Intuition. Now we use a Thinking judgment to analyze the consequences of the various options we have generated. Finally, we apply our Feeling judgment to consider the effects of each option, and incorporate the values of people involved.

If, at the end of this process, we are not satisfied with the human consequences of our options, then we start the cycle again with the Sensing function. We may take a fresh look at our data, or even gather additional data; and then proceed through the functions of Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling.

In a college situation, let’s take the example of Alice, who is having difficulties with her roommate Emily. Alice has ST preferences of Sensing and Thinking. As a result, her approach to solving the problem is to list all of the issues, devise solutions to each, and present the solutions matter-of-factly. She may miss the critical steps of Intuition, such as considering a variety of ways to handle the difficulties, and Feeling, which would involve reflecting on how such a conversation may impact Emily, and trying to reach consensus and preserve harmony.

Emily, on the other hand, has the opposite preferences of Intuition and Feeling. Emily’s personality style prefers hearing the positives first and trying to preserve harmony (Feeling). She also prefers to view separate incidents within a pattern of behavior, and would appreciate the opportunity to brainstorm a variety of alternatives to solve the problem, while keeping in mind future consequences (Intuition).

As a result, Alice and Emily have a total mismatch of communication. Understanding personality theory and valuing differences would help both Alice and Emily interpret each other and communicate in a more effective way.


What can you do to improve your decision-making and problem-solving?

The first step is always self-knowledge. You can take an online assessment of the MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) and work with a Certified Practitioner to verify your innate personality type and preferences. This process will help you become more aware of your strengths and blind spots. As a result, you can try to incorporate less-preferred functions so that your process involves all four steps of Sensing, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling. It’s often helpful to seek input from people who have preferences that are different from yours, in order to expand your repertoire and make sure that you are looking at situations from all angles.

We believe that self-awareness is empowering at every stage of your life’s journey. If you need any further guidance, don’t hesitate to contact Collegiate Gateway – as always, we’re happy to help!

Extroverts, Introverts and… Ambiverts?


How would you answer the following questions?

I enjoy meeting new people at parties.                                                 [   ]  Yes   [   ]  No

I enjoy spending quiet time reflecting.                                                  [   ]  Yes   [   ]  No

In group meetings, I like expressing my opinion.                             [   ]  Yes   [   ]  No

In group meetings, I like hearing the thoughts of others.            [   ]  Yes   [   ]  No

If you answered Yes to 4 or more of these questions, you may be an…. AMBIVERT!

You have probably heard of introverts and extraverts

Most personality theories posit that you are either an introvert or an extravert.  According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the leading personality assessment in the world, extraverts receive energy from the external world of people and things; introverts receive energy from their own inner world of reflection.  The MBTI theory of innate personality types, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, assumes that each individual has a natural preference for either introversion or extraversion, but may use the opposite approach in appropriate situations.

Extraverts: People who prefer extraversion:

  • Need interaction
  • Are often friendly, talkative, quick to get to know
  • Tend to be involved in many activities and have many friends

Intraverts: People who prefer introversion:

  • Need privacy
  • Are often reserved, take time to get to know
  • Tend to be involved in fewer activities, in more depth, and develop close relationships with fewer people

What if you have aspects of both introversion and extraversion?

Carl Jung, the psychologist upon whose theories the MBTI was originally based, identified a third personality type called “ambiverts.”  In his landmark classic, Psychological Types, he writes:  “There is, finally, a third group … the most numerous and includes the less differentiated normal man … He constitutes the extensive middle group.” Ambiverts use a blend of extraversion and introversion, depending on the mood of the individual and the needs of the situation.
The continuum below illustrates a personality continuum from introvert to ambivert to extravert.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 12.04.50 PM  According to Robert McCrae, a personality psychologist at the National Institute of Aging, ambiverts represent about 38% of the population.

What are the Benefits of Being an Ambivert?

 The ability to use strengths of both introversion and extraversion has numerous benefits.


Adam Grant, the youngest tenured professor in the history of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, researched the sales staff of a software company and correlated sales revenue with degree of extraversion.  He found a “U-shaped” relationship in which sales revenue was maximized by salespeople who scored in the middle of a 1-7 extraversion scale, at 3-5.

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In his Research Report “Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage,” Grant explained:

 “Ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extraverts or introverts do. Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”

Many psychologists emphasize the fluid nature of the ambivert.   Dr. Brian Little, world-renown personality psychologist, currently at Cambridge University, told The Huffington Post,

“Ambiverts can take the best of both. [They] have rather more degrees of freedom to shape their lives than those who are at extremes of other ends. Ambiverts are in that nice zone, in that sweet spot, where they’re able to act out of character as a pseudo-introvert or a pseudo-extravert, without paying the nervous system costs.”


Daniel Pink, a leading social scientist, thinks that effective leaders draw their power from their excellent sales skills in persuading and influencing employees, suppliers, funders and their board. These people can assess the needs of the situation, and act accordingly.

“We’d be far better off with those who take a more calibrated approach — who can talk smoothly but also listen keenly, who know when to turn on the charm but also when to turn it off, who combine the extrovert’s assertiveness with the introvert’s quiet confidence. In other words, when it comes to picking leaders, perhaps we should look for people a bit more like us.”

 Pink was so intrigued with the introvert-ambivert-extravert scale that he developed his own simple 18-question assessment tool 


Hans Eysenck is a German psychologist who is credited with coining the term “ambivert” in 1947. He viewed ambiverts as being the most emotionally stable of the extraversion continuum, in that they are receptive but not overly influenced by outside factors.

Wondering about your personality type?  Contact Collegiate Gateway – as always, we’re happy to help!

How Your Myers Briggs Type Can Help You Make the Right Choices!

It’s no secret that people are happiest when they choose a major, career, or even a life partner, that suits their personality, talents and ambitions. Making these choices, though, is not so simple. It requires time, reflection, and research. Your MBTI type correlates not only with the choices you make, but the ways in which you approach, implement, and reflect upon those decisions. Whether you’re choosing a major, examining career possibilities, or making any other important decision, understanding your MBTI type can help you to understand your decision-making strengths, as well as your decision making challenges. And finding a decision-making process that works best for you makes it that much simpler to reach a final decision that’s right for YOU!

Each of the four type dimensions reflects an aspect of your personality. As such, each one also influences your decision making styles. When facing a decision, Extroverts (E), for example, will often think about who else they can consult and involve in the decision, whereas Introverts (I) will prefer to think privately, at least initially, and want to be sure they need to be involved the decision. Similarly, Sensing types (S) tend to focus on refining tried-and-true methods, whereas Intuitive types (N) will consider new methods to try.

Often, the interaction between the first and last letters of your MBTI type are the most indicative of your decision-making style; for example, the manner with which you explore potential courses and majors. Extrovert-Judging types (EJ), for example, are often considered the most decisive: they want to choose a path quickly and proceed toward their goals. They seek to develop a sense of purpose, and will proceed methodically and efficiently in that direction. At the other end of the spectrum are the Introverted Perceiving types (IP), who wait to make a decision until they can consider all the options available to them. They often change their minds, and prefer that way; for them, a career path is an ongoing journey.

Being aware of your decision making style is crucially important, in that it may help you to make decisions at your pace, as well as help you to avoid the pitfalls associated with each type. The EJs for example, may run into trouble if they make a decision too quickly, and only later realize they do not possess the skill-sets or interests necessary in their chosen field; sometimes EJs need to slow down and collect more information. IPs, on the other hand, sometimes need to push themselves to make a decision, lest they slip into a pattern of hesitation and uncertainty.

Each type has a variety of strengths and weaknesses, and all four dimensions work together in more ways than are enumerated here. To learn more about your type, and your decision-making strengths and challenges, contact www.collegiategateway.com.


How MBTI Personality Type Can Help You Succeed in College and Careers

College is a time of choices, from majors to roommates, extracurriculars to coursework. In order to make the best choices for you, you have to know yourself. To that end, discovering your Myers-Briggs personality type is invaluable to succeeding in college and beyond.

The Four Dimension Preferences of Type

There are 16 MBTI personality types, based on four metrics of preferred personality styles:

  • Extroversion vs. Introversion (E or I): Source of energy and stimulation
  • Intuition vs. Sensing (N or S): Way of gathering information
  • Feeling vs. Thinking (F or T): Way of making decisions
  • Perceiving vs. Judging (P or J): Lifestyle preferences

Each of the 16 types exhibits unique characteristics, learning styles, and preferences. Knowing your type can help you select courses, majors, extracurricular activities, summer plans – even roommates! It can even help you improve your study habits and manage the stress of, say, finals week.

The Heart of Type

The two middle letters of your type are considered “the heart of type” and are known as your “functions”: they represent the way you gather information, and then use that information to make decisions.  These functions correlate with specific fields of study. Knowing the fields most correlated to your type may help guide your exploration. Here are a few examples:

  • People who have an “ST” personality type use the Sensing function to gather information and the Thinking function to make decisions.  STs are often the most practical and hands on types, excelling as engineers and accountants, or pursuing a skilled trade.
  • People who have an “NF” personality type use the Intuition function to gather information and the Feeling function to make decisions.  NFs may tend toward creative professions in art, music and writing, or may make use of their emotional awareness as counselors and educators.

It is important to note that despite these correlations, every type is represented in every career and field of study, and each type can be successful in any career or field or study.  Other factors besides personality may play a role in your decision to pursue certain fields or careers, such as the influence of family or culture. To learn more, contact www.collegiategateway.com.

WHO ARE YOU?? Find Out Your Innate Personality Type

Do you feel more energized when you are with other people or alone?

Do you tend to notice the details or the big picture?

Do you make decisions more with your head or your heart?

Do you like to plan in advance or go with the flow?

Your answers to these questions represent your innate personality, according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the leading personality assessment tool in the world. The MBTI is based on the research of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who first theorized that individuals are born with a personality type that is independent of culture, circumstance or family influence. The MBTI tool assesses innate type, and does not measure intelligence, aptitude or maturity. 

Verifying your MBTI personality type requires a consult with a Certified Practitioner.  Collegiate Gateway provides in-depth MBTI assessment and interpretation. For high school and college students, knowing your personality type can help you understand your strengths and challenges, as well as your preferred styles of learning, conflict management, leadership, teamwork, and personal relationships.

Collegiate Gateway also administers and interprets the Strong Interest Inventory, which provides insights into an individual’s academic, career and leisure interests.  The combined knowledge from the MBTI and Strong assessments provides students with a powerful tool to reach their potential.  Collegiate Gateway works closely with clients to integrate the knowledge gleaned about personality and interests to help guide clients to tap into their strengths, preferences and interests to achieve their goals.   www.collegiategateway.com.

Your unique MBTI type represents your preferences on four personality scales: There are 16 unique personality types that result from the interaction of these four dimensions.  Each type has a unique way of seeing the world and interacting with the world, with correspondingly different interests, reactions, values, motivations and skills.

Preference Scale


Extraversion or Introversion

Source of Energy and Stimulation

Sensing or Intuition

Ways of Perceiving and Taking in Information

Thinking or Feeling

Ways of Deciding and Evaluating Information

Judgment or Perception

Lifestyle Preferences: Judgment or Perception