Should I Major in Psychology?

So you are interested in majoring in psychology, BUT you are not sure if it is the right choice. There are so many different majors to choose from- which one is the right subject for you?

Even I had reservations about choosing psychology as my area of study. However, after taking courses in psychology, having long conversations with mentors, and reflecting on my own life goals, I decided that psychology was the field for me.

Psychology is my career choice, but it is not meant for everyone! Every person has their own path. Everyone experiences a different journey in discovering their future career. 

My hope is that I can provide some insight into this important decision.

Here are some reasons why you would choose psychology as your major.

3 Reasons to major in psychology

1. You are (mostly) certain you want to be a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or researcher
  • You have done the research... you have taken the classes... and you KNOW that you want to go into the field of psychology. It only makes sense to study psychology in college. If you know that you want to be a psychologist, to be a therapist, or to do psychological research, I recommend studying one of these majors in college. 

  • However, you do not have to study psychology in your undergraduate studies to have a career in psychology. There are many individuals (like me) who go into college wanting to pursue a different profession. There are therapists who studied business, communications, sociology, liberal studies, and other majors. It is recommended to study psychology in your undergraduate career, yet it is not the end-of-the-world if you have a bachelor’s degree in a different topic. It does seem to be easier for students pursuing graduate school to get accepted into a psychology program if they have studied psychology in undergraduate studies. 
2. You have a passion for helping people
  • If you absolutely love helping other people, psychology is a great field for you! Therapists and counselors regularly help clients with their presenting problems (it’s in their job description). 
  • There are other areas of studies if you like helping people, but you don’t really want to focus on the human mind; there is also the opportunity to study social work, liberal studies, and child development. These are just three of several other majors that primarily focus on working with people. If you really want to be in a helping people profession, these majors are great options. 
3. You are interested in the human mind
  • Maybe you aren’t super passionate about working with people, but you love learning about how the human mind works. There is always the option to go into a research area of psychology, sociology, and psychiatry (majors that focus on the mind, social interactions, and the brain)

Reasons to choose a different major

You don’t know what you want to major in

  • If you are thinking that psychology is going to be an easy A, this may not be the major for you. The beginning courses in psychology may be relatively “easy” however, as you go into your upper division courses, they become more difficult. It is so much easier to do difficult classes when you already have a passion for the topic. If you are having difficulty deciding what you want to do after graduation, pick a major that will be beneficial to many different types of careers (wish I would have done this in undergrad!). Majors such as business and communications may be better majors for you if you do not know what you want to do after graduating because there are more opportunities with these majors than the niche of psychology. HOWEVER, at the end of the day everyone is on their own journey and just because you major in psychology, does not mean that is going to be your future career either

You want to go into the medical field

  • If you are considering becoming a psychiatrist (a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness), study a science degree in your undergraduate career. You will need to prepare going to medical school rather than a graduate psychology program. Psychiatry focuses on the science of the brain/mind while psychology focuses more on processing through certain aspects of an individual's life.   

All in all, if psychology is something you are passionate about and you want to pursue psychology as a  potential career path, I strongly suggest this major because you not only learn how to help other people, but you also learn more about yourself! Let me know if you have more questions about this area of study. I know you are going to do great things!

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