What Can I Do with a Major in Psychology?

The above question is one that I certainly raised as an undergraduate, despite my confidence that I would enjoy my major.  Family and strangers also felt compelled to ask where I thought my psychology major would lead me in life.  Now, more than ever, I believe that psychology can provide an excellent foundation for many careers.

First, I encourage you to evaluate if the major is a good fit for you.  Consider that psychology is a science.  As such, you will be required to complete courses in neuroscience, statistics, and research methods.  Also, keep in mind that many of the career options directly related to the study of psychology require education beyond a Bachelor’s degree.  Graduate programs typically have rigorous admissions standards and are quite competitive.

Let’s say that you have already confirmed that psychology is the major for you.  Baylor’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience has information on their website regarding a multitude of relevant career possibilities.  The site includes recommendations of specific psychology courses that could be most useful for students on various career tracks.  There is also a section dedicated to careers for students who do not continue their education beyond the undergraduate degree.

Some additional sources of ideas are:

How to Find Someone to Job Shadow

Career counselors often recommend that students do some job shadowing to verify a selected career path or to compare options.  Following around a professional in the real world sounds like fun, right?  Recognizing the value of job shadowing is a no-brainer.  Identifying someone to shadow might take a bit more effort.

Start by considering anyone you might already know or know of in an occupation that interests you:

  • Family members
  • Friends’ parents
  • Parents’ friends
  • Church members
  • A guest speaker from one of your classes or a student organization meeting

What if you rack your brain, and you still cannot think of anyone you know in a career that interests you?  First, try to determine if your focus is too narrow.  Do you know anyone in a related career?  Second, start asking around.  Talk to some of the people from the list above about your career interests, and ask if they know of someone who might be open to being interviewed or shadowed.  When you hear the term “networking,” this is what they are talking about!

For some of you, you might need to talk to faculty in your area of study for leads.  As a last resort, you might find it necessary to contact someone without having an existing connection.  Professional organizations and the chamber of commerce for a city are good places to start.  If you know typical employers of a certain kind of professionals, you know where to begin your search.  The Baylor Alumni Directory and LinkedIn can help you in identifying any Baylor connnections at an employer that interests you.

A key thing to remember is that once you identify someone to contact, you want all communications with that person to be professional and courteous.  If you are cold calling, identify yourself as a Baylor University student and explain why you think a shadowing opportunity or information could be helpful to you.  Be clear that you are not calling to beg for a job or try to get an internship.  Even when you are polite, the answer might still be “no” on occasion.”  Don’t take it personally.  It could be that the person is too busy or their employer does not allow shadowing.  For those of you who are successful in lining up an opportunity, remember that you are only there to observe and learn, not to contribute to the work.  Last, but not least, always send a note of thanks to follow up!

If you try all of the strategies above and still can’t identify someone to contact, leave us a comment.  We are here to help!

Grad School Workshop Tonight!

Are you bound for grad school?  Do you want to increase your odds of getting in?  The Career Services office is presenting a workshop TONIGHT, October 24, for those students who would like to learn more about graduate school admissions.

Dos and Don’ts:  Getting into Graduate/Professional School will be from 5-6 p.m. in the Baylor Sciences Building, Room E125.  Learn how to succeed in the grad school application process, review the graduate school admissions process, and get some application tips.  Maria Pate, Manager with Kaplan, will be the presenter.  RSVP in your HireABear account.

Children’s Hospital of Dallas Benefit Tonight

Tonight is the Children’s Hospital of Dallas Benefit Red Balloon Run and Relay.  It looks like lots of fun: music, games,  a Princeton Review MCAT/DAT/GRE Auction and 50/50 money raffle, and lots more!  If you are interested in participating in the raffle please contact Corbin Goerlich, MSO President, at Corbin_Goerlich@baylor.edu. The event will take place in the SUB Den tonight from 7-9 pm.  Einstein Bagels is providing food, too.  Hope you are having a great week!





Career Spotlight: Genetic Counselor

Many students express a desire to combine an interest in science with a desire to use interpersonal skills to help others.  Genetic counseling is one such field.  As the name implies, a genetic counselor helps a client by “mapping genetic patterns within the family” (OOQ Online, 2011).  This information can be used in prenatal counseling, as well as helping clients understand genetic conditions from which they are suffering.

According to an article in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly,

Genetic counselors must have a master’s degree in genetic counseling from a program accredited by American Board of Genetic Counseling. There are currently 30 of these master’s programs nationwide, and admission to them usually requires completion of significant undergraduate coursework in biological science. The programs combine scientific aspects of genetics with counseling study and take about 2 years to finish. In addition, most employers require certification, and some states require licensure.

A list of accredited programs can be found here.

The following articles can provide you with additional information on the profession:

Nashville hopefuls, check this out!

Uproar Records presents the ASCAP Music Publishing Panel

Join Uproar Records for a panel discussion on the music industry, songwriting, licensing and publishing with ASCAP’s Michael Martin, Nashville senior creative director, and hit country songwriter Elliott Park. The panel will be held Thursday, Oct. 20th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.

Elliot Park  http://www.elliottpark.net/

ASCAP  http://www.ascap.com/

Academic Integrity Tutorial

Academic Integrity is a key piece to your time at Baylor.  Each new student will be required to take the Academic Integrity Tutorial before registering for classes for the Spring.  If you are a new student, please be sure to do this before registering.  And whether new or not, here is a link to the Honor Code online: http://www.baylor.edu/honorcode/index.php?id=44060.  It’s always good to have a refresher. 🙂

What are you doing for Fall Break?

For those of you without any firm Fall Break plans, why not spend your break taking active steps toward preparing for your career?  Whether still in the exploration stage, or focused on the career of your dreams, Fall Break could provide a nice opportunity for job shadowing.

For one thing, you have a day off from school, freeing up a large chunk of time.  Second, many students return to their hometowns for the break, where they have a larger network.  Think of family members, friends’ parents, and people from church who work in careers that interest you.  Contact them, and ask if they would be open to you shadowing for a couple of hours.  If that is not feasible, maybe you could invite them out for coffee for a brief information interview.  Quintcareers.com provides a nice “Informational Interview Tutorial.”

Of course, take some time over the break to rest up, so you can return to schoolwork and your career exploration refreshed and raring to go!