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Sparties Offline
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Question What major? - January 19th 2017, 07:32 PM

Hello! I am not yet in college (I am an HS junior), but I am taking dual credit courses here at my school, and graduation is coming faster than I anticipated.
My strongest subject has been English, and I feel as though I'm better at general linguistics than most of my other classes. I've had teachers and my own parents push me more towards majoring in art or English, but I enjoy both and do not wish to make them into my work. I want a major than can help me find a purpose-driven job because I find that purpose gives a stronger incentive and lasts longer over passion, but that is just in my experience.

That being said, I am considering aiming for a criminology major, but I do not want to be an officer, per se. I've had an interest in criminal justice and criminology since I was very little, I'd estimate around fifth grade. I am hoping to go into a forensic field, but I am very confused as to what I should do. I never had to guts to be an officer or to even attempt being a field agent. I don't feel as though I have what it takes, but I do feel as though I could be apart of the background operations of a case. I am perfectly fine with the thought of investigating crime scenes and handling human remains (this is not to say that it will change later, but I truly feel as though I could handle such a thing). I've narrowed it down to two specific fields I might be interested in.

Firstly, I considered forensic psychology. I've got it set in my mind that I would like to take a psychology course in college simply because I've always wanted to, and I could actually start on a psychology college course in my senior year. The problem is I don't know what all is involved in setting myself on a path to become a clinical psychologist. I've been told it involves a lot of math, and I can handle algebra/basic trig, but other than that, I'm awful at maths used in classes such as physics. I feel as though I wouldn't be able to be a psychologist if it got to be too complicated, which is disheartening because I want to help people, and I want to help stop crime from happening. I do not expect to get such a job right off the bat. After all, if I'm correct, a psychologist is a doctor and requires more than four years in college (I've heard about eight years), and being a forensic psychologist is only possible after you've become a clinical psychologist.

On that subject, I'm assuming it is important that I take courses in criminology to show that, in the future, I do have knowledge in both fields and can apply it accordingly, but I still feel a tad bit confused. If anyone can address this, it would be appreciated.

Secondly, forensic anthropology. I have a fascination with the human body and for medical knowledge, but I do not want to work in a hospital environment nor a morgue (even though a morgue sounded somewhat interesting, to be quite honest). I have no idea where I would even start with anthropology, though. Would I have to start with a class such as anatomy or take medical courses in college? If so, it would be available to me next year. Most information I managed to dig up on requirements to be a forensic anthropologist is very scattered and hard to understand because there are no specified classes. The only thing that has really stood out is that I'd need to major in something such as anthropology, possibly archaeology, but is it really that cut and dry?

I realize that I do have some time left in high school and that my desired college does not require you to know your major until your sophomore year, but I would like to get a head-start on whatever I may be interested in if possible. I suppose I essentially made this post to get info from other users who might have more knowledge on these subjects than I would. I have also taken into account that I could definitely change my mind again, but this is a very strange situation for me because I've had my heart set on an English major for over six years. I'm not used to suddenly feeling detached from something I've enjoyed so thoroughly.

Sorry if this post seems jumbled or all over the place! I'd just appreciate answers if someone could help me out.
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Re: What major? - January 19th 2017, 09:18 PM

Hi there!

I am currently a Sophomore in college myself, I am an English major though. My suitemate however, is majoring in criminology. She wants to puruse a different career choice than you but I talked to her a bit about her process and hopefully maybe some of that will help you out!

I think it's good that you're looking early. That can give you a head start - especially with taking classes in high school. It is always good to get a head start on dual credit and classes that you are interested in that might help a potential major. This can help you see if it is something you want to do, and will help you credit wise when registering for classes and things like that.

I think it would be in your best interest to bring up these concerns with a counselor at your school. They are really trained in helping high school students find good colleges - and will help you find information at the potential school you are looking for. It might be helpful to also arrange a campus visit and perhaps meet with the professor or head chairmen of the Criminology department. If this is possible, I highly recommend it as they can help you see what types of classes, requirements and how long those type of degrees will go for you. You can talk to your counselor about looking into this too as they can help you arrange visits if at all possible. Most high schools allow Junior and Senior students to take days off of school for these visits (Mine allowed one for Juniors, and two for Seniors) and there's a lot of information you gain from doing this.

My suite mate came in knowing she didn't want to be an officer but did want to do Criminology. She came in with a few high school credits and was able to figure out by taking basic intro courses in Criminology of what she really wanted to do with her degree and by talking with her advisor. This might be something that happens to you - but looking into it early is no harm at all.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

"You'll have to decide for yourself. Walk on your own. Move forward. You've got a strong pair of legs, Rose. You should get up and use them."
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Re: What major? - January 20th 2017, 03:21 AM

This helped a lot! I have not yet talked with my counselor as I can never seem to catch her at the right time, but I have arranged a campus tour within the next month. Thank you!
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Re: What major? - January 20th 2017, 04:10 AM

I was pursuing something similar to what you want to do (professional counselor). It didn't work out for me, but left me with a TON of untapped knowledge about these types of fields. I would strongly suggest looking into social work. It's the broadest one and gives you flexibility to change your mind or change focus without having to change major or earn a different degree later. with the bonus of very little math

What you're describing as a clinical psychologist, is actually describing a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist is the only mental health professional that can prescribe medication and that's pretty much all they do. They can conduct psychotherapy, but most don't. That requires medical school and you would graduate with an MD.

If you want to be a therapist you actually have a few options:
Clinical psychologists earn PhD's and do research in the topics they specialize in and treat clients for. PhD. programs are hard to get into, but it's doable. Requires very little math, mostly statistics for research

Professional Counselor: This is what I was going for, you can earn a degree in pretty much anything and then you'd earn a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling. This is good if all you want to do is conduct therapy and nothing else. I got into trouble with it when I was diagnosed with a disability that makes this too hard for me and it left me with few options.

Social work: You can earn a bachelors degree in either psychology, other social science, or social work (not all schools have social work bachelors degrees), but you can do a ton with this. At the bachelors level you're somewhat limited to things like case management, but a masters (only 2-3 extra years as opposed to 6+) leaves you with a lot of options. You can provide therapy services (clinical social work), conduct research, or work in a more broad sense and do like advocacy or policy work. I know the least about this area, but if you're interested, try starting here: http://careers.socialworkers.org/explore/choose.asp

Double majoring or adding a minor may also be an option and psychology majors do a TON of writing. If Social work isn't an undergrad major, I'd suggest a combination of psychology and criminology. As Lauren said, your counselor can be an excellent resource for sorting it all out.

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Re: What major? - February 1st 2017, 08:01 PM

I have determined that no matter what job I pursue, I will have bad pay either way. I started to look more into morgue technician, but the salary is absolutely awful. :^)
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