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What is some advice you’d give someone who wants to potentially major in psychology ?

Advice in psychology

Thank you comment icon Hello Angel, I'm curious to know, why are you interested in majoring in psychology? Are there any specific careers you're considering that would need a psychology degree? Once you've got answers to these questions, it should be much easier to decide if psychology is the right major for you. Ryan F

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Melissa’s Answer

I majored in Industrial Organizationsl psychology and have worked in several industries. It has been beneficial for me in managing teams.
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Liz’s Answer

Here's a piece of advice that might be useful:

Begin your journey with Psychology classes that also meet your school's fundamental graduation requirements. In your first year, you'll probably be able to take two or three classes that will fulfill some of these requirements, regardless of whether you end up choosing Psychology as your major.

If you have the opportunity to delve into Psychology before college, that's fantastic! But remember, it's perfectly fine if you don't have that chance.

To give you an idea of my own journey:

I stepped into college with a potential major in mind, but I wasn't completely certain. Psychology was one of those options, but I didn't get the chance to take any Psychology classes in high school to confirm my decision.

My first year was largely filled with classes from my top two areas of interest, ensuring each one contributed towards my college's core curriculum for a BA degree in Arts & Sciences. This strategy gave me some breathing room to figure out my true passion, while still making headway towards my degree. As long as I stayed within the Arts & Sciences domain, my progress wouldn't be wasted.

I kicked off my first year by enrolling in three Psychology classes that matched my school's core requirements. I found Psychology intriguing but eventually chose to double-major in Political Science and Communications, with a minor in Economics. Thanks to the overlap of the Psychology classes with the core requirements, I managed to finish my degree without any delay.

The only drawback was that I had to take a few 200- and one 300-level course as a freshman, which was a bit challenging at first, especially when my peers were mostly taking 100-level introductory classes. However, this strategy paved the way for a relatively relaxed senior year, with most of the year spent completing those basic core requirements.

I hope you find this information helpful!
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Ashley’s Answer

Hello Angel! I'm thrilled to share my journey with you as someone who holds two degrees in psychology and has a decade-plus experience in the field.

I was drawn to psychology because I found it interesting and thought it would be a great avenue to work with children. During my undergraduate studies, I pursued a minor in education, with a particular focus on autism spectrum disorders. After graduation, I worked part-time with children. While it was incredibly fulfilling, I also found it emotionally challenging due to my deep attachment to the kids. This led me to contemplate other ways to utilize my degree, and I found my interest gravitating towards college student development.

I pursued my Master's in College Student Development and Counseling at Northeastern University, which kickstarted my career. For about five years, I worked in various roles at colleges and universities in Massachusetts. I was involved in residential life and student activities, managing campus buildings, supervising numerous student staff, and organizing a many campus-wide events. Even though it may not seem directly related to psychology, my degree's skills were instrumental in my daily tasks.

About five years ago, I transitioned to the tech industry and now manage new hire experience programs at Salesforce! My responsibilities include overseeing onboarding programs for engineers and product managers, organizing both virtual and in-office events for team bonding, and working on a lots of other intriguing projects. My psychology background continues to play a crucial role in my day-to-day work.

A psychology degree can open up a world of possibilities and equip you with a numerous transferable skills. If you decide that direct counseling or teaching isn't for you, these skills can be used in so many other career paths. Understanding human nature, human skills, community psychology, organizational psychology, and more are invaluable assets in today's workforce and can lead to a variety of long-term career paths.

My advice to you, if you choose psychology, is to keep an open mind and explore as many different psychology courses as possible. Consider internships, shadowing professionals, or conducting informational interviews in various fields to understand the vast opportunities a psychology degree can offer. When I started, I thought I was destined to be a direct practitioner or counselor, but now I work at one of the world's largest tech companies. I have friends with psychology degrees who are in diverse fields such as social work, teaching, data & research, government relations, and even the funeral industry. The range is truly vast!

I hope you find this information useful and that it encourages you to explore more perspectives. I'm confident that others will also provide valuable advice!
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Cara’s Answer

Hi Angel! I was a Psychology major in college and really enjoyed it. You'll find psychology majors in all different professions. There was an internal joke amongst psychology majors that we were all interested in psychology to learn more about ourselves. My first piece of advice would be to look up famous psychologists (Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Erik Erickson Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, etc.) and see if some of their work seems interesting to learn about. There are so many areas of psychology to learn about, so you can find developmental psychologists, organizational psychologists, etc. Then, start thinking about what you might be most interested in and look at potential career options. Do you want to work in a private practice seeing individuals (psychology or social work could be a major option)? Do you want to go to school through a PhD or stop at a Masters or a Bachelors? This will affect potential licensing of what you practice. Would you rather work with companies and their organizations? Are you not sure what you want to do long-term, but just love the idea of learning more about psychology? Helping to determine why psychology may be useful for your career is a good step, but again, there are psychology majors in many industries from business to human resources and anything else. Generally, choosing a major that's something you're passionate about learning and excited to use in the future is probably the best advice to have an enjoyable and rewarding college experience and career.
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Mary Ann’s Answer

Hello Angel,
My best advice is to take an Introduction to Psychology class to get started (Maybe your school or a local Junior College offer this). This will give you a broad overview of Psychology. And, there will likely be something that sparks an interest for you and you can follow that path to learn more. The interesting thing about majoring in Psychology is that it can lead to a number of different careers. Of course, there's the opportunity to become a counselor or psychologist, but there are also a number of jobs within a large company where a psychology degree is helpful. There are roles in organizational development (helping employees gain new skills), change management (helping people adjust to a big change in a company), and Psychology can even help someone to be a good manager of people (being the boss of a team).

When I went to college, I started as a Psychology major, then changed my major and graduated with a degree in Social Work. I went on to work in the following jobs Administrative Assistant, Recruiter, Training designer/leader, Organizational Development specialist, Field Representative for a California Assemblyman, Change Management Specialist and I even ran my own company for a time as a Life Coach. In addition to the positions I've held, I've worked in a number of different industries. Companies that I've worked for include Macy's (retail in the buying offices),The American Heart Association, The Clorox Company, the California State Assembly, Cisco Systems (tech) and Splunk (tech).

All of these jobs were people focused jobs. My education in Psychology and Social Work helped me to be successful in all of these jobs.

As you explore your possibilities, always remember that you can change your mind. And if you choose psychology, there are lots of ways to apply that knowledge.
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Sharon’s Answer

Psychology is a captivating area of study with numerous career paths. Start by identifying the type of job you'd like to pursue. A degree in psychology can equip you for a clinical career, such as becoming a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. Alternatively, you could delve into psychological sciences, leading to research roles or even medical school to become a psychiatrist.

You might also consider combining psychology with a major or minor in business or education. This approach broadens your career prospects, allowing you to apply your knowledge of human behavior and the mind in a business or educational setting. The possibilities are endless!

To get started, I recommend enrolling in a few introductory psychology classes to familiarize yourself with the field. Conduct some online research and consult with an academic advisor to explore potential career paths. Remember, if your interests shift later in your college journey, psychology also makes a great minor!
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