Majoring In Psychology: 5 tips every psychology major needs to know

I'm clinical psychologist dr. Ali Mattu

and in this video I'm gonna share my

five best tips for majoring in

psychology a lot of you been asking for

my tips on studying for psychology in

college at uni most recently Emmett or

coy asked this question and kinda got me

thinking why haven't I made this video

yet why haven't I made a video that

shares my best tips I mean I majored in

psychology went on to get my PhD in

clinical psych I'm an assistant

professor now I've taught a lot of

psychology classes I served on the board

of directors of the American

Psychological Association I know a lot

about psychology so here's what I did

asked all my psychology friends all

folks who majored in psychology what

advice do they want to pass forward to

you and I combined that with my best

advice that I share with students who

are studying psychology and that is this

video tip number one understand what the

psychology degree is designed for and

what you want to get out of it the

undergraduate psychology degree is both

a liberal arts degree as well as a

pre-professional major if you get a

liberal arts degree you aren't limited

to just one field after you graduate you

can go into lots of different industries

and lots of different jobs the liberal

arts degree prepares you for the big

skills that you need to do lots of

different things a pre-professional

degree is designed to help you get ready

for further study according to the

American Psychological Association as

undergraduate psychology degree has five

main goals the first goal is to have a

knowledge base in psychology to know all

the key historical events the big

theories the important ideas the

questions that are facing the field

right now goal number two is to think

like a psychological scientists to take

the scientific method and apply it to

thoughts feelings and behaviors goal

number three is about ethics and social

responsibility to make sure that you can

think through if something is done

ethically and if it's done in a way that

is responsible give

in larger societal concerns goal number

four is all about being able to

communicate what you know about

psychology to other people goal number

five is all about professional

development to be able to work in teams

to take the information you know and

apply it to projects to see those

projects to successful ends and to take

your knowledge of psychology and apply

it to the next step in your career after

you graduate to put this all together

the psychology degree is designed to

help you see the world through the lens

of psychology to be able to understand

human thought and behavior as a

scientist does and to communicate all of

this to other people and apply it to the

work you do every single day

now that sounds awesome but the

challenge of that is you can do that in

lots of different ways there's no

clear-cut path in psychology you can

take this stuff and apply it to business

you can apply it to marketing you can

apply it to education you can apply it

to health care you can take all of this

stuff and then go to law school you can

go to med school you can become a

counselor you can become a psychologist

there's a lot of different ways to apply

this stuff so if you're studying

psychology right now you really want to

start thinking about how do I want to

apply this what aspects of this appeal

to me what are other things in my life

that I enjoy what are other classes I've

taken that have really liked and then

start thinking about what kind of

setting do I want to be in what kind of

job might I want and work your way

backwards what degree do I need to do

that is my psychology degree good enough

do I need to go and get more graduate

training what do I want to do these are

the questions you should really start

figuring out when you're majoring in

psychology Cori and men had some really

great advice about this and he says

psych is a much bigger field than you

could ever learn about in four years

find something you're interested in and

pursue it you'd be shocked at where you

end up I'm a psych major now that

stimulates human brains to

enhance memory didn't even know that was

possible in undergrad tip number two is

to combine psychology with another

interest what's really cool about

psychology is it's one of seven major

hubs Sciences a hub science connects to

a lot of other different fields and

psychology is connected to nursing and

neuroscience and biology and artificial

intelligence and education and public

health and anthropology nursing daredi

say nursing I don't know it's connected

to lots of different stuff and if you

really want to have an edge as a

psychology major take some classes in

these other disciplines and you might

discover a related feel that you didn't

know yet an interest in and number two

you might actually open yourself up to

job opportunities in that field that you

might not otherwise have access to if

you're just taking psychology courses so

that's also speaks to a trend in the

scientific fields there's a greater

trend towards interdisciplinary science

where scientists from different fields

are coming together and if you can take

a class in one of these other fields

that is connected to psychology you'll

be able to speak the language know the

terminology and sort of interface

between psychology in these other fields

Rob Chavez had some really great advice

here where you said if you are allowed

to complete a minor or if you double

major pick something challenging and

useful I did statistics but CS math and

even biology would have been good it

helps to round out your knowledge base

whether or not you're headed for grad

school I really wish I took more in

computer science

it would really help me right now as a

clinical psychologist there's a lot of

movement towards VR and weaving in other

forms of technology making apps all this

kind of stuff would have been so helpful

for me so I wish I took more of that in

grad school and then I also want to

highlight what Brian Resnick said when

he said I majored in psychology it's a

nice broad education and science

literacy and writing skills but it's

very widely up to

you to determine what to do with it

getting hands-on in college like joining

the school paper doing research etc is

what points you towards a career what's

so great about Brian's comment is it

speaks to this whole other arm of

psychology is how it can be a really

great preparation for science literacy

science communication science writing

and to do that you want to take a lot of

writing classes and get more experience

doing that kind of stuff on campus tip

number three is to work in a lab or a

clinic a lot of concepts in psychology

can be kind of heady

no pun intended but they can be things

that are very hard to practically

understand and this is why I think every

psychology major should get some

hands-on experience either in the lab or

in some type of clinic and what happens

in those kind of experiences is you see

real-life psychologists taking all the

methods that you're learning about in

your classes and applying them to real

people or to real animals or real

situations and through that you actually

get to see how the science has done you

see the the nuances of stuff that aren't

really shown in your book you see the

struggle the excitement the discovery

there's still so much that I think about

from my experiences working in a

cognitive science lab and then a

marriage and family development study

and then working in an OCD clinic really

kind of guided my whole career path to

this very day it's all those early

experiences I had where I got to see

what do actual psychologists do and how

is psychology actually applied whether

or not you want to take any more

psychology after you graduate these kind

of experiences will help you to

understand how you apply the rigors of

science to the wackiness of human

behavior and I really like what Livia

Guate Ginola said in her tweet any

research experience regardless of how

much it directly relates to your

interests is extremely valuable and

translatable I constantly find myself

applying skills I

while an undergrad RA and child psych

lab even though I'm an adult health

person tip number four is your

professors don't know much about life

outside of academia but they might know

someone who does most of your professors

are like me well you know not quite

exactly they don't have a youtube

channel probably but most of them spent

a lot of time getting through undergrad

so they can get to grad school spent a

lot of time in grad school so they can

graduate get a postdoc got a postdoc so

they could get some type of other

academic job and they've been in that

job ever since or they've been a variety

of academic jobs ever since I have never

held a job a salary job that has been

outside of psychology never happened

when students come to me and they might

they might want my advice on whether

what are other career options outside of

psychology I really don't have a lot of

good advice to give them now fortunately

most psychology majors do well the

unemployment rates for psychology majors

is very low and comparable to a lot of

other fields including a lot of other

sciences people tend to do okay and what

tends to help most is if you can ask

your professors if they might know

someone else who might be able to help

you apply psychology in a business

setting or they might know someone who

applies psychology at I don't know

Facebook or Google things like that they

might be able to point you in that

direction I had a student come to me

from my intro psych class and through

talking in office hours also a big tip

go to your professors office hours we're

required to have them and we just sit

there and most of the time no one comes

so go to your office hours get to know

your professor it's like so exciting for

me when someone actually comes and I

have someone to talk to so go go talk to

them but this student of mine came to my

office hours wanted my advice on how to

get a how to get into a clinical

psychology program and I was talking to

her and it was pretty clear that her

interests were actually

in the intersection of psychology and

law sort of forensic psychology so I was

thinking about I was like okay well I

don't know if I'd necessarily recommend

a doctorate for you it's really hard to

get into

in most situations it's not worth

getting a doctorate you're much better

getting a master's degree and we were

talking about that a few days later I

found out about this JA or this

internship the summer internship at the

FBI you know they were looking for

people who had a background in

psychology who were psych majors

forwarded to her she thought it was a

good fit applied for it I wrote her a

letter of recommendation and she got in

and now she is still working at the FBI

so stuff like that can happen is your

psychology professors might be able to

connect you to other people but if

you're relying on them to give you

advice on things outside of psychology

they're not gonna be that great for that

on the flip side if you want to ask them

for advice in grad school they're gonna

be really good at giving you advice for


Eliab Endermen summarize this up really

nicely psych faculties tend to do a

terrible job of preparing grads for the

job market it's like if you don't go

into clinical or academia there are no

options which is incredibly discouraging

fields like HCI UX testing are

essentially built on psychology and

grads should know this absolutely there

are so many fields out there's so many

ways to apply psychology but if you just

ask us the people who have spent their

lives in academia we might not be the

best sources of information tip number

five is to apply everything you're

learning to your life the thing about

psychology is half the time it's sort of

like oh yeah that makes complete common

sense and the other half of the time

it's like wait what that doesn't make

any sense at all why would we do that

you're gonna have such an easier time

with all of your classes and then after

you graduate applying this information

to the

you do if you apply psychology to your

life what I would do as I was studying

for my test is I would make examples of

these terms of these theories that are

related to my life that are related to

my friends that were related to my dorm

that were related to my family related

to stories that I heard related to

movies and TV shows that I watched the

more you can apply it to the stuff you

already know the more you can bridge

this new knowledge with the knowledge

you already have the easier it's gonna

become to learn it to know it and to

apply it that's always been my secret to

studying psychology I just apply it to

myself don't think of these things as

abstract concepts think of them as

everyday occurrences trace Dominguez had

a really good example of this where he

says memorization is important but

understanding concepts is vastly more so

don't just study the vocabulary but

really explore the theories if you

understand theory you'll be able to

figure your way out of a behavioral

puzzle I always tell that to all the

students I work with I also like what

Richard Clarke did over here in this

tweet where he says psychology is like

the oxygen mask that dropped during an

airplane emergency apply to self before

attempting to apply to others if you

want more tips about majoring in

psychology check out the link to the

original tweet I sent out in the

description below and while you're down

there leave a comment with your favorite

tip for majoring in psychology thank you

to Emma for inspiring me to make this


shout out to Alex n if we're becoming my

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video like if you like it and share it

with someone who is studying psychology

who might get something out of it and if

you want to know more about going into


or counseling fields in psychology check

out this video that I made it goes into

a lot more detail about that