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AcademicGround >> % of kids that consider psychology?


5/31/12 9:53 AM
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After getting to college?  

My daughter is majoring in aerospace engineering, taking summer classes after her freshman year.  She did well in her math and intro to engineering classes, even won first place in the glider design competition for engineering week.  She's wanted to do something related to space ever since she was a little kid. 

Before she went to college I warned her that at some point early in her college career she would think about going into psychology, and that this is very common, but there is pretty much zero decent employment prospects with even an MS, let alone just a bachelors.  

Well I got that call last night.   Now she says she's not sure engineering is for her, and that she wants to help "heal" people and is thinking about switching to psych.  My response was go ahead and get a degree in psych - after you get a degree in something employable, where you can support yourself while getting your psych degree.  

Anyway, is this as common as I think it is?  It seems like almost every college kid hits that intro to psych class and thinks "I really like this, I could help people."  

 

http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/

6/5/12 5:52 AM
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smokeweed420
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coming from newzealand im not sure if the situation here translates fully to where you're from, but:

there are jobs available as researchers IF you get excellent grades and so can basically "choose" ur own postgraduate supervisor (this is assuming you will go down the route of getting a PHD or similar)

other than that, assuming she wants to "heal" i imagine she is looking at getting into clinical psychology (which in general also requires a PHD or w/e). there will always be jobs in clinical psyc

in saying that, you need top grades and life experience to even be accepted into the course. the university i'm at lets in 10 people a year, about 100 or more apply.

This is coming from somone who is finishing an undergraduate psyc degree and most likely getting into the clinical psyc course next year (however, this is not guaranteed even tho i average A+ and work part-time helping intellectually disabled people).


In sum, if your daughter wants to get into a similar course, make sure she fully understands the commitment required. Even then, with outstanding grades there is no guarantee of getting accepted into the course.

p.s. you are spot on in your assessment that many people get a psyc degree and then have no relevant job prospects. its only if you specialise and dominate postgraduate studies that opportunities seem to open up
6/5/12 11:43 AM
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Thanks for the response.  It's pretty much the same here - a PhD. is necessary to do any kind of significant psych work.  My coworker's wife has a masters in psych and wasn't making any money.  I guess she did not want to go on to a PhD, so she gave up on psych and got a degree in computers.  One of my good friends from law school was a licensed psychologist, and he had a hard time finding work in private practice and was working for government institutions, which he did not enjoy.  

My daughter has settled on biology, and is looking at a program in mathematical biology the school offers, which I had never heard of, but after some looking it seems like quite an interesting field.    
6/24/12 11:46 PM
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Gullivers Travels
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I wouldn't allow it unless she 100% plans to go on for her PhD, and I majored in Psych. My decision was really based on school being free (parent worked there) and having no real knowledge of what I wanted, and realistically should have waited to attend until figuring out what was right. The only employable psych career you can really have without a PhD is I/O psych ("business psychology", what I'm going for now), but still requires a masters in most cases.

Try your best to keep her on the engineering/sciences track if she can do it without killing herself - she'll thank you after graduation when her liberal arts friends aren't employed and she at least has options.

Lastly, in order to "heal" people, she's likely thinking clinical or counseling psychology, the two most popular fields out there which are becoming increasingly competitive.
7/29/12 11:20 PM
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alley
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I'd tell her the that vast majority of psych students are the bottom of the barrel academically. It's a last-chance degree for people who can't do hard sciences or other difficult degrees. Tell her she's brighter than that, and if she wants to help people, do it by designing safer airplanes.

Shame her out of thinking about psychology by explaining it's for dumb people.
8/1/12 9:12 PM
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Hollywood Blonde
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Hard to justify unless she knows she wants the PhD. Could she double-major in psych and engineering?

If she's interested in doing human resources work, an undergrad major in psych might help in prep for a Master's in organizational development or a similar concentration.
8/5/12 8:51 AM
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smokeweed420
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alley your pretty off the mark tbh and so is the notion of psychology as a "soft" science.

in fact, trying to design sound experiments with so many potential confounding variables makes a lot of it very "hard". for instance, id say psyc is much much harder than something like biology, ecology, and many other sciences.

do you consider neuroscience as soft? guess what, its a branch of psychology.

you are however, correct that the vast majority of psych students aren't performing well academically. while it is also true for most university paths, a lot of people do psyc because they don't know what else to do and so aren't very motivated
8/18/12 7:00 PM
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sly fox
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my background is psychology... undergrad and post grad and employment, its very hard to get into at post grad level and truthfully if i was to do it again I wouldnt bother. Its not the profession it was as well..
8/19/12 10:05 PM
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alley
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420 - Any field can be complex. And to the extent that psych involves mathematical modelling it could be complex. But it's not exactly the mathematical modelling of astrophysics. I still think that as an undergrad field of study, it's a notch above basket weaving.

As for neuroscience, that is also a branch of both medicine and physiology. Psych students might take a few courses in it, but the folks who win Nobel prizes for work in the field of neurosciences are the ones from medicine and physiology.

BTW, my favourite stripper at the local strip club has a degree in psychology. She told me it was pretty hard, so I'll trust you and her.
9/1/12 12:10 AM
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Seul
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If she really is interested in "helping" or healing in a direct sense, tell her to get in to nursing.

She could be a psych nurse for a couple years, then go back to school to be a Nurse Practitioner and specialize in psych. Less school, easier to get jobs (there is lots of opportunity in nursing, so however long it takes to sort out her psych ambitions she will be able to work).

I'm an RN, and I was *sure* that i wanted to work in psych after graduation; i changed my mind after seeing the inside of the field during clinicals (we did community groups for mmental disorders and substance abuse and spent time in both an acute care psych center and the state mental hospital). It was not at all for me, so I'm very glad I had a very marketable trade that afforded me many, many choices and options. Anything she does in the medical field (especially nursing) that involves direct patient care will include a lot of psych, anyways; we often get medically unstable baker act patients (or people who we have to have our on-call psych MD baker), and I've had to physically restrain patients on several occasions.

Lots of people with mental disorders, the homeless, substance abuse, etc.

The desire to be in a field where I was of service to the sick was a big motivation for me, but an undergrad in psycology will not give her many options.

I know a number of people with psych degrees; all were poor students with little direction and have not found employment in the field (we are all 2-4 years out of school); most still work in menial jobs that don't require education or work in generic office positions (the sort that will take anyone with a 4-year degree). The same holds true for my friends who went with religion or philosophy (cell salesman, cashier at Sam's club, and current nursing student, respectively).


In contrast, all the people I knew who went with Bio or math are in good grad programs or found jobs as researchers. Good for her, and I hope everything works out well.
11/14/12 11:35 PM
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smokeweed420
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Alley what you said may be correct, however, you missed my point.

What you put in is what you get out, If you go really hard and be one of the best students in the class (not hard if you are motivated) then opportunities for postgrad and professors wanting you as one of their future PHD students will come.

I know this because this is the situation I am in right now. I have several career possibilities the first and preferred is a clinical psychology degree with associated PHD, the second is as a researcher with a PHD under one of the most respected research psychologists in my country.

Obviously, if you meander through the undergraduate degree you will have no options when you leave. I imagine your stripper friend wasn't near the top of the class.

If you are motivated to get where you want to be, then psychology is a fine choice. If you are going to be slack then yeah, you're right. But that probably goes for most degrees

11/14/12 11:37 PM
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smokeweed420
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oh and Seul if everyone you knew who did Bio has a job out of it, i suggest you probably know 2 people who did it.

My flatmate is a PHD bio student and he says there are hardly any jobs available, and the vast majority who finish an undergrad degree in bio (like psyc) do nothing with it, as they didn't do anything to distinguish themselves from the rest of the graduates or didnt go on to postgraduate study
12/2/12 11:57 PM
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Santino DeFranco
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Edited: 12/02/12 11:57 PM
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You should suggest she get her degree (BS: Major) in Aerospace Engineering and get a Minor in Psych.

If she does decide she wants to go the Psych route she would probably be very competitive while applying to Grad School with the Aero major and a Psych minor. People don't realize that your BS/BA degree has little influence on what you can go to grad school for. Of course, in certain areas it helps and may be necessary, but not always.

I am getting my MFA in Fiction writing and my undergrad was in Public Admin. I have a friend that is in Med School now and his undergrad was in History. What is more important than undergrad Major is GPA, Test Scores, and Personal Statement/Research interests.

Good luck. And you may also want her to research how difficult it is to get into an APA approved fully funded Psych Ph.D program and the process. I have seen many studies that claim it is statistically harder to get into psych programs (phd) than Harvard Law/Med school.
1/9/13 5:55 AM
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smokeweed420
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santino makes some good points

i forgot that in the USA undergrad courses dont really have much bearing on postgrad, it is different than that in New Zealand and some other western countries.

He's also right that it is harder to get into some psyc programmes than getting into law or medschool, at least in new zealand
2/5/13 1:17 AM
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gusto
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Bio is just as bad, imo

math/bio might be different

she needs to decide what job she would like and pick the appropriate major, not what classes she likes and then hope to find a job. she should do as many internships (even unpaid) to find out what jobs are really like


congrats on raising an empathetic daughter though, not all girls her age are
2/5/13 7:05 AM
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asdf
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She could go to med school and be a psychiatrist instead. Explain to her that psychology major is the soft and weak version of becoming a psychiatrist. As Seul said, she can also go into psychiatric nursing.

2/9/13 1:40 PM
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Gullivers Travels
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smokeweed420 - santino makes some good points

i forgot that in the USA undergrad courses dont really have much bearing on postgrad, it is different than that in New Zealand and some other western countries.

He's also right that it is harder to get into some psyc programmes than getting into law or medschool, at least in new zealand

STEM degrees do have a huge bearing on potential graduate education. I considered going back to fulfill pre-reqs in order to get a masters in engineering, and would have needed at least 2 years worth of education just to qualify for the program, which still would not have earned a second BS. It was the same thing for Bio.

If she does go liberal arts, make her take a science heavy path in case she changes her mind.
2/9/13 1:42 PM
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Gullivers Travels
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And for med school, I've read more students are going the engineering route to separate themselves.
3/10/13 11:50 PM
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None So Blind
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Edited: 03/11/13 9:12 AM
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Speaking as a psychologist, and I don't mind saying a pretty successful one, I would tell her to stay the hell away from psych. The degree is worthless unless you get a Ph.D., and even for those folks, the field is dying. What psychologists do is quickly being eaten up by other disciplines for the most part, and insurance companies are dropping reimbursements left and right for most of the practice as well.

I'm in a job now where I run a clinic and have a posting as a medical school professor, and I have to tell new grad students every year that their job prospects are dwindling rapidly. (edit) Jobs like mine are few and far between. I feel terrible for these kids. And also, you are *required* to get a one year pre-doctoral internship and at least 1 year of post-doc training in order to be licensed (and in my specialty, the post-doc is 2 years) - the bad part is that there are only enough internships and residencies for about 2/3 of the folks coming out of grad school.

Think about that - you bust your ass in graduate school for 4-6 years (or even longer), live on slave wages, rack up a ton of student loans (can go over 100K easy if you go to a so-called "professional school"), and you are by no means guaranteed a job when you get out. That's fucking horrifying. It's also a disgrace and a bad black eye for the profession. It's not like people are graduating med school and then winding up unemployed.

If she wants to "help people," go to med school or be a teacher.
4/23/13 1:25 PM
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smokeweed420
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What other discipline is taking over supporting people with mood/anxiety disorders, or family type assessments for courts etc?
4/23/13 3:02 PM
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None So Blind
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^^^ Therapy is going to multiple groups - everyone from social workers to master's level psychologists to counseling psychologists to school psychologists to marriage and family therapists (MFTs). And FAR more people would rather take a little SSRI pill instead of going to 8-12 CBT sessions. And as far as "supporting" those folks (not sure what you mean by that), it's fairly common for family practitioners to write a scrip for meds and leave it at that.

Forensic assessments (family, personal injury, even criminal) are still a reasonably safe area, no one is going to poach on that for a while, and it pays very well - but it's highly competitive because it pays so well, and there are only a few schools that teach that area of information. Try doing it without going to one of those school, and you won't sit down for several months (because your ass will get torn off). But it OP's daughter wants to help or "heal" people, this is about the last place you'll accomplish that goal.
4/26/13 7:05 PM
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AWilliams
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None So Blind - ^^^ Therapy is going to multiple groups - everyone from social workers to master's level psychologists to counseling psychologists to school psychologists to marriage and family therapists (MFTs). And FAR more people would rather take a little SSRI pill instead of going to 8-12 CBT sessions. And as far as "supporting" those folks (not sure what you mean by that), it's fairly common for family practitioners to write a scrip for meds and leave it at that.

Forensic assessments (family, personal injury, even criminal) are still a reasonably safe area, no one is going to poach on that for a while, and it pays very well - but it's highly competitive because it pays so well, and there are only a few schools that teach that area of information. Try doing it without going to one of those school, and you won't sit down for several months (because your ass will get torn off). But it OP's daughter wants to help or "heal" people, this is about the last place you'll accomplish that goal.

Agree with all this.

Also, while I'm not sure what specific schools NSB is referring to with regard to forensic assessment, they are definitely NOT the professional schools (e.g., the Chicago School of Professional Psychology) with specialties in forensic psych. Avoid those schools unless you want to end up like most of their graduates: 6 figures in debt with no way to pay it back.
4/26/13 7:15 PM
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None So Blind
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^^^ Correct, professional schools are one step away from a Ponzi scheme.

I was thinking more of the programs associated with medical schools that have a solid forensics unit - West Virginia (Jeff Barth), UCLA (Kyle Boone), Tulane (F. William Black), Chicago (Jerry Sweet), Tennessee (Glenn Larrabee), folks like that.
4/27/13 9:16 PM
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smokeweed420
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by supporting i generally mean helping them to get over their issue (or to a manageable level) whatever it may be

thanks for the information, im just not entirely sure it is applicable to where i live. in NZ there is only a handful of schools with a handful of graduates a year, i guess the area is a lot more flooded in USA
4/27/13 10:01 PM
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None So Blind
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Funny you should mention that - guy I mentioned above, Jeff Barth, he's a big dog in the field of brain injury, he's the chief of the whole NFL brain assessment group - he just went to NZ for vacation, and said he'd kill to move there. He also noted he'd have to retire to go there permanently, since NZ is really brutal about protecting jobs for the home-grown folks ;-)

But more seriously - anything and everything I said may not apply once you go out of the US, things can be very different in other countries. I have colleagues in England and Germany, and their practices have some huge differences from what I do in the states....

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