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‘Should I Major in Psychology?’ 7 Signs This Field Is Right for You
Most of your friends call you a people person. While that’s mostly true, your own description would go a little deeper. It’s not that you just enjoy the company of others — you’re also intrigued by the way people think, feel and behave.
Now that you’re beginning to think about college, you’re wondering whether it might be a good idea to allow your fascination with the human mind to inform your studies. You’ve started asking yourself, “Should I major in psychology?”
Believe it or not, there are a few things that psychology students tend to have in common. You might soon recognize you’re a great fit for this field.
“Should I major in psychology?” It could be the discipline for you if …
1. You’re naturally curious
If you’re always going the extra mile to really understand a concept, psychology could be a great fit for you. This scientific discipline seeks to better understand the relationship between brain function and behavior. Psychologists are constantly seeking answers to questions that can help solve complex problems. In this field, asking “why?” isn’t just accepted — it’s encouraged.
2. You’re more of an introvert
While it’s important to have an interest in the way others think and act, that doesn’t mean you need to be gregarious and outgoing to excel in psychology. In a lot of ways, introverts actually have an advantage in this field. Psychology students and practicing clinicians alike rely on observation, listening and self-reflection in their work. There’s even research to suggest introverts are better at understanding the way people behave in social settings.
This doesn’t mean you should steer clear of psychology if you’re extroverted. But it might mean you’ll need to put a bit more effort into developing skills that are more inherent for some of your more introverted peers.
3. You’re a mental health advocate
While discussing mental wellbeing is no longer as taboo as it once was, there’s still room for improvement. Mental health issues are far more prevalent than most people realize. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA), nearly one out of every five U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018. On top of that, the rates are highest among those between the ages of 18 and 25.
If you’re passionate about supporting those with mental illness, majoring in psychology as a college student is a great first step. Studying this discipline can help equip you with the tools you need to engage in thoughtful discussions. From there, you can get involved in advocacy efforts that lead to positive changes.
4. You’re a critical thinker
While psychology deals with abstract ideas related to thoughts and behaviors, it’s also a scientific discipline with decades of research behind it. That’s good news if you’re a critical thinker whose intellectual process involves analyzing and synthesizing information to tease out meaningful insights.
Not only does majoring in psychology expose you to established research, but it also affords you the opportunity to make your own contributions. It’s actually one of the few majors that provides undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research. There’s reason to believe those experiences are valuable, too. Evidence shows there’s a correlation between undergraduate research participation and better academic abilities.
5. You want to keep your options open
Believe it or not, psychology is a great major for students who are still trying to decide exactly what they want to do for a living. There are more career paths you could pursue with a degree in this field than you might think.
While it’s true that many graduates go on to pursue further education and become practicing psychologists, you might be surprised how much variety there is among students who begin their careers after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology. According to data collected by the American Psychological Association, those graduates frequently pursue positions in sales, management, teaching and more. It’s something to keep in mind as you wonder, “Should I major in psychology?”
6. You care about employability
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees receive a lot of attention these days. Many proponents say studying these disciplines equips students with the technical skills they need to be successful members of the workforce. Yet, employers are seeking candidates who have more than just role-specific capabilities.
A report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) reveals that business executives and hiring managers rank broad skills that cut across disciplines — communication, critical thinking, ethical judgement and teamwork — as the most important competencies for recent graduates they’re considering for employment. This should be encouraging for students who are interested in studying psychology. Why? Because those are the skills [CS1] psychology programs help students develop.
7. You want to make a good living
It’s a common misconception that pursuing a psychology degree puts you on the path to a low salary. But that’s a generalization that doesn’t account for the huge variety of careers graduates eventually pursue.
Just compare the salary outcomes for psychology majors at various institutions using the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. Some salaries are on the low end, but you can also see annual earnings that far exceed average. It’s worth considering that your choice of institution might matter as much as anything when it comes to preparing for a successful career.
Picture yourself as a psychology student
So should you major in psychology? Only you can answer that question. But if you can relate to many of the traits described above, you might be better equipped than you thought. If so, your curiosity probably has you wondering about potential psychology career paths.
Whether you’re interested in seeking employment immediately after obtaining a bachelor’s degree or want to obtain an advanced degree, you have options. Learn more about the professional roles that could await by reading our article, “What Can You Do With a Bachelor’s in Psychology? 10 Career Paths Worth Pursuing[CS2] .”
[CS1]Add link to “10 Essential Skills Needed to Be a Psychologist” once published.
[CS2]Add link once published.
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