Top 25 Colleges for the ESTJ Personality Type

By Amanda HoyleSeptember 26, 2021
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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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The ESTJ personality type is often characterized as the “executive” with traits of traditional and rigid belief systems, extremely effective managerial skills, and a social fluency that allows them to band people together, whether its their friends or coworkers. ESTJs have a strong desire to adhere to traditional values and thus maintain a concrete understanding of what is right and wrong. Their adherence to value systems and their proclivity towards uniting people under these common values make ESTJs excellent leaders, whether in their family leaders, as community leaders, or as business leaders. Considering these traits, it’s not surprising that many of the United States presidents have been of the ESTJ personality type.

ESTJs are considered model citizens as they believe that strong values are what society work, and it is this belief that also makes them excellent students and professionals. ESTJs, however, have a strong desire to see their values reciprocated, so it is important for ESTJ students to be in an academic environment with conducive values and a committed student body. Given the right environment, however, ESTJ students are likely to excel as students and become leaders of their classes, active in student organizations, and potentially active in religious groups. In this article we explore 25 of the best college options for students with ESTJ personality, using a metric based on their personality traits which you can find below.

Looking for advice on what type of school and major to choose? Check out our Interview Series. Are you an ESTJ? Check out our Best Career and College Advice for ESTJs from 3 Successful ESTJs.


  • Majors in Business and Social Sciences (1/5): The number of majors and degree options conducive to the ESTJ personality.
  • Religious Organizations and Student Organizations (1/5): The number of religious organizations compared to student body organizations.
  • Student Activism and Participation (1/5): The number of clubs and organizations per student.
  • Average Student Debt (1/5): The average student debt, important to the facts-oriented ESTJ personality.
  • Graduation and Retention Rate (1/5): The retention rates and graduation rates of students, as ESTJ students will require a peer group that is committed and dedicated, and conversely a school that promotes such dedication.

1. Barnard College

Founded in 1889, Barnard College has a long and vibrant history in progressive liberal arts education. Beginning as a distinguished leader in higher education for women, Barnard now holds to its rich history through a set of strong traditional values, which the ESTJ student will likely find highly attractive. Despite small class sizes and a relatively small student body, Barnard maintains a partnership with Columbia University that opens the door to a vast amount of resources and the potential for peer collaboration from both schools. The ESTJ student will likely be empowered by this environment of extreme academic rigor and constructive competition, as that is exactly the type of environment in which they thrive. With nearly 80 clubs and organizations and 17 religious organizations, ESTJ students will be thrilled to find a highly active and engaging student body where they can exercise their team-building skills and hone their values and belief systems.

Composite score: 80

2. Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University is well-known for its contributions of community leaders to our modern society and has a long and rich history with community and state leaders, too, as it was founded in 1749 and named after two George Washington and Robert E. Lee, one or both of whom may have been ESTJs themselves. The school’s motto, “not unmindful of the future” underscores the liberal arts philosophy of the school and implies a mindfulness of the present and adherence to the concrete. This philosophy is inline with the ESTJ personality that prefers facts over opinions, and the concrete over the abstract. With 4 of the school’s top 5 majors being in business or the social sciences, ESTJ students are likely to find a student body with similar core values and interests, which is both very important to them personally and important to their performance and motivation levels as a student.

Composite score: 80

3. University of Denver

Founded in 1864, The University of Denver is just a few years younger than the city of Denver, Colorado itself. The University’s 125 acre campus is located just a few miles south of downtown Denver, which is an excellent city for both the activities of young people and career development. With a student body of nearly 12,000, 144 student clubs and organizations, and a ratio of 82 students per club and organization, the ESTJ student will be delighted to see a highly active student body with strong values and belief systems, which is an environment in which they thrive. With one of the highest graduation and retention rates on this list, the ESTJ student will also likely feel right at home amidst both students who are committed to their education and a university that promotes such dedication. These factors combined with some of the lowest average student debt numbers on this list make The University of Denver an excellent fit for the ESTJ personality.

Composite score: 77

4. Wheaton College

Established in 1860 in Wheaton, Illinois as an explicitly religious and rigorously academic liberal arts college, Wheaton maintains strong Christian values as the bedrock for its education programs. For the ESTJ student, and particular the religious one, these values will be highly appealing and should create an environment conducive to their rigid belief systems. Wheaton College is also a fully residential school, so ESTJs who crave a close-knit community and team building opportunities will have plenty of chances to build such networks. The ratio of student organizations and clubs to religious student organizations and clubs is a remarkable 5 to 1. So despite a relatively small student body of less than 3,000 there are 92 student organizations and 17 religious organizations, giving the ESTJ student plenty of opportunity to practice team building with their peers and explore shared belief and value systems, which are a hallmark of their personalities.

Composite score: 76

5. Bucknell University

Bucknell University operates according to a strong value system that ESTJ personalities are likely to appreciate. Bucknell emphasizes the importance of both student to instructor and student to student interaction. Bucknell proves the importance of this by enforcing a 9 to 1 student to faculty ratio, so that the classroom becomes a more close knit body of collaboration, rather than a group of overly independent students. This melds perfectly with the ESTJ student’s desire for personalized peer groups and families away from home with which they can practice leading by example, hoping to make a positive impact on those around them. According to Bucknell’s philosophy, this would seem to make the ESTJ student their ideal student, as the school seems built around the idea of creating leaders through small, localized communities around common goals and shared values.

Composite score: 75

6. Connecticut College

Connecticut College defines itself by a community driven education where faculty know students by name, and students interact multidimensionally. 99% of students live on campus, meaning that ESTJ students will have many opportunities to explore shared values and collaboration with their peers. 70% of students participate in community learning events and volunteering, which implies a very active and engaged body of students, something the ESTJ personality is very appreciative of. The College also emphasizes its over 80 student-led clubs and organizations, encouraging students to not only participate but to create their own club or organization if they have the desire. It is this sort of engagement and empowerment that motivates the ESTJ student. These factors combined with low averages in student debt will make this a highly attractive option for ESTJs.

Composite score: 73

7. Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College is probably the most well-renowned colleges on this list, as it is an Ivy League school that consistently ranks among the top colleges in the world. Founded in 1769, Dartmouth has a incredibly long and profound history, producing many of our world’s top experts and leaders. The academic rigor and the implicit values of performance, dedication, and collaboration are strongly conducive to the ESTJ personality. While Dartmouth can be financially intimidating to some due to formidable tuition rates, over half of students graduate without student debt. With a very active student body in both student organizations and religious clubs, ESTJ students can explore their personal value systems while working with others. Beyond collaboration through organizations and clubs, Dartmouth’s research facilities and networks allow students a great deal of opportunity to create independent projects, or lead research initiatives, which would likely be the ideal choice for the ESTJ student.

Composite score: 71

8. Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University was founded in 1911 and today is a nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools and an impressive list of accolades that also make it stand out as a nice fit for the ESTJ student. It is located on 234 acres of beautiful Texas land just five miles north of downtown Dallas, a city with a great deal of social and economic activity. Southern Methodist University emphasizes its focus on turning students into leaders. The University taps into the buzzing economic hubs of nearby Texas cities to create a platform for student growth inside and outside the classroom, offering outreach programs, research programs, and internship options. These options will be highly appealing to the ESTJ personality, as they represent opportunities for them to set concrete goals while working in collaborative environments. Thought SMU remains true to its Methodist foundations, it encourages free thinking and inquiry, allowing students to adhere to personal values, regardless of their assimilation to Methodist values, meaning that ESTJ students will be free to pursue their personal values, which is a hallmark of their personality.

Composite score: 71

9. Princeton University

Princeton University is another world renowned institution, and is the fourth-oldest University in the United States. Chartered in 1746, Princeton has over 200 years of history in academic excellence and prestige. This atmosphere of valuing high-performance and reciprocating values of leadership is one that meshes incredibly well with the ESTJ personality profile. ESTJ students love a challenge, but they also need to see the path before them. Princeton emphasizes a financial aid program that empowers students from all backgrounds to undergo the Princeton education if they show the talent and commitment, making Princeton a nice fit with the ESTJ student’s expectations. With 300 student clubs and organizations, the ESTJ student can also expect a culture of collaboration and engagement between peers, allowing them the opportunity to lead by example and bring people together, as ESTJs yearn to do.

Composite score: 70

10. Boston College

Boston College was founded in the South End of Boston in 1863, and since has established itself as a prestigious liberal arts institution. Boston College’s motto is, “Ever to Excel” from Book Six of The Iliad, which encapsulates Boston’s teaching philosophy: students should undergo constant growth, constant inquiry whether inward or outward, and ideally should grow into leaders in their respective fields. The values align almost perfectly with the ESTJ student, who seeks an environment of strong values and promoted growth. While Boston College respects its roots in the Jesuit tradition, it promotes free inquiry into the human spirit without prescription, and promotes the freedom to create one’s own value system so long as one truly adheres to it. The city of Boston is considered one of America’s top college towns and the University taps into its vast resources to create social and academic networks for its students, so for the ESTJ student there will be enormous opportunities to positively impact their communities and practice team building as is a hallmark of their personality.

Composite score: 70

11. Lewis & Clark College

Lewis & Clark College is located in Portland, Oregon and boasts an interesting past dating back to 1867 when it was once known as Albany Collegiate Institute. The College eventually changed its name to honor the pioneering spirit that fueled the school in past and present. Today, Lewis & Clark College seeks to pioneer the ideal environment for interdisciplinary collaboration inside and outside of class. With a fully residential campus located on nearly 300 acres of beautiful Oregon land and an extremely active community of student organization and clubs, the ESTJ student will feel right at home and have plenty of opportunities to create the close-knit peer groups they desire. The pioneering spirit of the College seems extremely conducive to ESTJ students, so they can expect their natural inclination towards team building, leadership, and academic dedication will be rewarded both inside the classroom and out. And with extremely high graduation and retention rates, the ESTJ will likely find themselves among classmates with equal drive, dedication, and values.

Composite score: 70

12. Emory University

Emory University is located on a beautiful and leafy campus in Atlanta, Georgia’s historic Druid Hills suburb. With international recognition for its liberal arts college, graduate, and professional schools, Emory finds its way into many top rankings of education institutions from the Southeast region of the states. Emory’s scholars and experts generate more than 572 million in research funding annually, while maintaining high standards for the classroom. ESTJ students will appreciate Emory’s emphasis on collaboration and teamwork. Regardless of the degree program, the curriculum standardizes group class projects, team building, community outreach, and collaborative research projects. ESTJs also value facts exponentially more than they do opinions; thus they will likely respect the numerous accolades, rankings, and other performance metrics that prove Emory is the real deal.

Composite score: 69

13. University of Georgia

In 1785 Georgia became the first state to charter a state-supported university and during the next hundred years the campus and its schools and departments grew steadily. Today, the University of Georgia is composed of a total of over 41,000 acres and is a national brand with a nationally adored football program, productive research facilities, and one of the most proactive student bodies in the country. With nearly 700 clubs and student organizations, the ESTJ student will be able to find a peer group with like-minded values and similar work ethics, which is necessity for the motivation and growth of the ESTJ personality. Leadership is highly valued at the University of Georgia, and with the city of Athens, Georgia nearby the University facilitates enormous amounts of outreach, community service and engagement, and internship opportunities to allow those with the nack for leadership a chance to show their potential, something ESTJ students will likely find invaluable.

Composite score: 69

14. University of Texas–Dallas

In 1961 three entrepreneurial visionaries, Eugene McDermott, J. Erik Jonsson, and Cecil Green started what would later become UT Dallas. With a relatively new conception, UT Dallas pulls its values from its founders rather than from 100 years of history as older institutions often do. Those values are entrepreneurship, leadership, and innovation, and of course, progress–all of which are values that will likely be attractive to the ESTJ student. UT Dallas also has the highest ranking graduation and student retention rate in this article, meaning that ESTJ students can expect both a driven and dedicated student body, and an educational format that promotes these values. This active student body is also further evidenced in the University’s 300 clubs and organizations with a participation rate of over 90%. This sort of engagement, dedication, and activism is something that will inspire and motivate ESTJ students.

Composite score: 69

15. University of Richmond

The University of Richmond founded in 1830 is a private, highly selective, liberal arts university located on a 350 acre suburban campus. Richmond, Virginia was found to be one of the best college towns in the nation by the American Institute of Economic Research, who were devised this ranking through exploring not just social activities, but a number of important metrics including career and academic networking potential. The University of Richmond is also just 90 miles from the nation’s capitol, meaning that the University has two excellent cultural and economic hubs to tap into for resources for its students. The University also delivers the small, close-knit classroom experience that the ESTJ student prefers, and boasts an impressive 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio with an average undergraduate class size of just 16 students. ESTJ students have a natural inclination and proclivity towards business careers and will be thrilled to see that Richmond University’s international business program was ranked 1st in the nation by Bloomberg Businessweek, which will also satisfy their need for factual verification of quality.

Composite score: 69

16. Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) began as military arsenal for the State of Virginia in 1834, but then through the pioneering of state officials and local community leaders it was formed into an institution of higher education in 1839. With its background in the military, the Virginia Military Institute defines itself through rigid values and demanding standards, operating under the “philosophy that the measure of a college lies in the quality and performance of its graduates and their contributions to society.” This value system and demand for dedication and high performance will likely be very appealing to the ESTJ student. ESTJs appreciate factual evidence, and especially in choosing a college to invest in they require facts that prove the school’s quality and value. VMI can probably satisfy this requirement through its showcasing of numerous accolades and success rates such as being ranked a top liberal arts college in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, impressive graduation and retention rates, and other student-success outcomes.

Composite score: 69

17. St. Michael’s College

Saint Michael’s College was founded in 1904 by the Society of Saint Edmund, whose Catholic values still define the college today. With a fully residential campus where 100% of students live on a 440 acre campus, over 40 student organizations, and small class sizes, ESTJ students will get the close-knit, collaborative education that suits their personality. The University has also received numerous accolades and recognition as a top liberal arts institution from U.S. News & World Report, The Fiske Guide, Princeton Review, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. Beyond these factors, the ESTJ student will likely appreciate the religious values at St. Michael’s College, as it creates an environment where they can explore these values and build connections with their peers through them.

Composite score: 69

18. Wake Forest University

Founded in 1834, Wake Forest University is an internationally recognized liberal arts institution ranked 27th in the nation by The Princeton Review. Despite being larger than most small liberal arts school, Wake Forest still maintains an impressive faculty to student ratio of 1 to 11, and emphasizes smaller class sizes, and student-instructor relationships. This environment is perfectly suited for the ESTJ student to practice their inclusive social skills and leadership abilities. With Wake Forest’s global connections, focus on diversity and multiculturalism, and community driven academics the ESTJ student will have a hard time finding a better environment to shape and grow their leadership abilities. Furthermore, Wake Forest emphasizes a humanistic value system where it encourages students to build an appreciation of themselves and life in order to push themselves in terms of academic performance, a value system highly conducive to the ESTJ personality.

Composite score: 68

19. Pepperdine University

Founded in 1937 by George Pepperdine, a pioneer of the economic expansion in the early 20th century and an avid Christian. Today Pepperdine University strives to live up to the legacy of its namesake and infuses traditional education strategies with spiritual and Christian values. To the ESTJ student, who is strongly attracted to value-based systems, Pepperdine’s teaching philosophy will likely be highly appreciated. This Christian-based learning philosophy implores student collaboration personally, academically, and spiritually. And it is exactly this type of multidimensional collaboration and socialization that the ESTJ personality craves, meaning that they are likely to derive more pleasure and motivation from the educational experience, and enhancing it overall. Also for ESTJ religious students, Pepperdine offers the highest ratio of religious student organizations to student clubs and organizations, meaning that they will have excellent opportunities to explore their personal faith and build relationships with others of the same belief-systems.

Composite score: 67

20. University of Colorado–Boulder

The University of Colorado, Boulder is one of the largest schools on this list, however, still manages to enforce values of close-knit collaborative communities, proactive student organizations, and community outreach. CU Boulder also boasts an 86% annual student retention rate and is ranked 1st in four-year graduation rates among Colorado public universities, meaning that ESTJ students will find themselves amongst equally driven and dedicated classmates, which is an environment that is best suited to their personalities. As mentioned before, ESTJ personalities love hard fact, especially when it comes to student-success outcomes. CU Boulder has received numerous top rankings, reports 93% of graduates are employed or in graduate school, and that 85% of graduates are satisfied or extremely satisfied with their job. CU Boulder also invests a great number of resources into ensuring that students feel they belong on campus through year-round events, visitor attractions, active volunteerism and student organizations, and service opportunities.

Composite score: 67

21. Colorado College

Colorado College boasts a rich and unique history. It was founded in 1874 as a coeducational institution two years before Colorado even became a state. Today Colorado College is a nationally recognized liberal arts college that utilizes the progressive Block Plan for scheduling courses, so that students and faculty alike will be able to focus more on the important classes at hand. Most students live on campus where they invest their time and efforts into arts, athletics, ethnic and cultural groups, media publications, spiritual groups, and other student organizations. This inclusive lifestyle is an ideal environment for the ESTJ personality, and making it an even better environment for ESTJs is Colorado College’s serious commitment to bringing out leadership traits in its students. It does so through facilitating numerous opportunities for student volunteer work, such as those called Break Out Trips, as well as offering chances to take leadership roles both on campus and in the Colorado Spring community.

Composite score: 67

22. Dickinson College

Dickinson College was established in 1783 by Benjamin Rush, a man who by all reports was a revolutionary in many respects, to provide a different kind of liberal-arts education. At Dickinson, students are challenged to be more than just ordinary students. This atmosphere of challenge and valued performance is something that aligns perfectly with the ESTJ personality. With a 9 to 1 student to faculty ratio, Dickinson emphasizes the importance of student to student, and student to instructor relationships. Dickinson’s teaching philosophy is that students need their best traits drawn out through mentorship and collaboration, so that they are prepared to take on roles of leadership. For a personality profile like the ESTJ, who already has strong proclivities towards leadership, this teaching philosophy is that much more attractive and effective.

Composite score: 66

23. Duke University

Duke University is younger than most comparable universities, as it was created less than 100 years ago in 1924, though it still ranks among the very best of the nation’s research universities, and employs and produces leaders and experts in a multitude of fields. Despite intimidating tuition rates, only 36% of students graduate with debt, which is likely due to Duke’s highly impressive student success outcome statistics. Duke’s motto is “knowledge in service to society.” ESTJs will likely appreciate this motto as it implies a student’s duty to use their knowledge for the better of society. This type of dedication and value-based belief system is a defining characteristic of the ESTJ personality. And they will have every opportunity to explore and refine such values Duke’s numerous service-learning opportunities and outreach programs, such as DukeEngage.

Composite score: 65

24. Louisiana State University–Baton Rouge

Louisiana State University was started in 1806 as a seminary of learning. Today LSU is a popular name in America, known for producing everything from NBA all-stars to astronauts. LSU also employs award-winning faculty, who are known for accomplishments inside and outside of the classroom. ESTJ students will be thrilled by LSU’s emphasis on community outreach and collaboration, which operates under the philosophy that leaders are born through service. With 300 student organizations and 31 religious student organizations, ESTJ students will find a vast number of opportunities to bring people together, lead organizations or clubs, and explore faith-based values. LSU also boasts the highest graduation and retention in this article, so ESTJ students will find themselves among classmates who reciprocate their dedication and drive.

Composite score: 65

25.Davidson College

Davidson College is a small nationally ranked liberal arts college, founded in 1837 by presbyterians. While committed to respecting the roots to presbyterianism, Davidson supports free inquiry into faith-based questions, though it does emphasize a Christian foundation in its educational philosophy. With less than 2,000 students total, 93% of whom live on the beautiful 665 acre main campus alongside a 110 acre lake, ESTJ students will be able to pursue their education amidst the close-knit, family like environment that suits their personality profile. One of Davidson’s defining characteristics is its devotion to a rigid honor code, which holds all students to a level of maturity and accountability, which is something that ESTJ students will find highly conducive to their personal beliefs and values.

Composite score: 65

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Amanda Hoyle
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
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