Dunn & Halonen The Psychology Major’s Companion
Chapter 1: Charting Your Course in Psychology and College
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else. ~Yogi Berra
Communicate the typical goals and aspirations of college students.
Describe the concept of psychological literacy.
Introduce the structure of the Companion.
Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of the chapter, students should be able to
Describe the personal value of attending college.
Articulate the characteristics of psychological literacy.
Speculate about the impact of obtaining a college education.
Intro psych students
Brand new majors
Graduates heading into the workforce
Graduates planning on professional or graduate school
The Nature of the College Experience (1 of 2)
College is a rite of passage.
College is an opportunity to broaden personal horizons.
Education happens inside and outside the classroom.
The Nature of the College Experience (2 of 2)
Community or 2-year colleges offer 2-year or associate degrees.
Colleges and universities offer 4-year or baccalaureate degrees.
Today’s Students: Why Attend College?*
Get better jobs
Prep for graduate or professional school
Please the family
*From Eagan et al., 2017 survey of incoming 2016 first year students
Self-Perceptions of Personal Strengths
Seeing the world from others’ perspective
Tolerating those who believe differently
Being open to being challenged
Discussing/negotiating controversial issues
Working cooperatively with diverse people
Using critical thinking
Practicing time management
Do these self-perceptions apply to you?
Goals for Completing: Which are essential or very important?
Being financially “well off” (82%)
Becoming an authority (60%)
Gaining recognition from peers (58%)
Helping others in need (77%)
Developing a meaningful life philosophy (only 47%)
Satisfaction Ratings of College Experience
After 1 year
Fall 2016: 4.5% of first-year students intended to be psychology majors.
118,000 received baccalaureate degrees. Only a small percentage of these students later pursued a graduate degree in psychology.
1.7 to 2 million registered for intro psych.
College and Cost
56% of incoming students in 2016 reported concerns about being able to pay for their degrees.
13% claimed it was a major worry.
2017 graduates carried an average debt load of over $37,000.
Best to think of college cost as an investment in your future…
Graduates earn 98% more per hour (on average) than nondegree workers.
Skipping college costs average workers about half a million dollars across their career.
Making the Most of College
Participate in cocurricular activities
Establish balance between studies and downtime
Get regular exercise
Join a club or campus organization
An undergraduate degree in psychology promotes outcomes that are valuable in the future.
Psychologically literate students develop skills, values, and outlooks that enable them to use their knowledge of psychology in both personal and professional ways.
Characteristics of Psychologically Literate Students (1 of 2)
Are creative, amiable, and skeptical problem solvers
Appreciate and respect diversity
Possess vocabulary of psychology terms and concepts
Are reflective thinkers
Characteristics of Psychologically Literate Students (2 of 2)
Are savvy about information and technology
Apply psychology to personal, work, and community issues
Act ethically, not out of self-interest
Communicate effectively using different methods for different audiences
How well do your personal characteristics fit with those of the psychologically literate individual?
How do you know you aren’t being victimized by the Dunning-Kruger effect (the tendency for individuals to overestimate their level of competence)?
Elements of the Companion
Topical discussions that will help you make good decisions during and after your major
Self-assessment opportunities in features called Measuring Up and Reality Check
Major success profiles of former psychology majors doing fascinating things with their degrees
Authentic assessments that will sharpen your skills and improve your retention of key concepts
Majoring in psychology provides an array of skills and habits of mind that serve students well in their careers and personal lives.
A college degree is still a privilege: Only 32% of American adults have one.
What do you hope to gain from a college education? Why?
At this point in time, what interests you about psychology? Why?
Do you know psychology majors? What do they like about their studies?
What extracurricular activities interest you?
What would you be doing if you were not in college?