6 Things People Get Wrong About the Communication Major

Communication is one of the most popular majors on campus. Yet, the communication major still manages to be one that many people are misinformed about, and honestly, I don't blame them. Before I became a communication major at UCSB, I definitely had a lot of misconceptions about the major that I've since learned the truth about. As such, I wanted to compile a list about the biggest misconceptions people have about the communication major and talk about the reality behind these misconceptions.

Image via UC Santa Barbara

  1. 1. Misconception: I can major in communications at UCSB.

    Truth: You can major in communication, not commucations. The 's' might not seem like it makes a difference, but it does. Communication refers to the study of human interaction while communications refers to the application of that knowledge. Majoring in communication might mean studying the effects of media on children or the evolutionary reasoning behind the cultural differences of chronemics while majoring in communications might mean learning more about journalism or even how to install a cable box.

  2. 2. Misconception: Communication is an easy major.

    Truth: To get into the communication major at UCSB, you'll need to get at least a 3.0 GPA in your pre-major courses, making communication's pre-major GPA requirement the highest in the College of Letters and Sciences. Because of this high GPA requirement, there are many students who fail to get into the major every quarter.

  3. 3. Misconception: Communication is a very limiting major.

    Truth: Communication covers a large range of topics. In fact, UCSB's communication department actually offers upper division courses in a number of topics which include evolution, emotion, persuasion, video games, marketing, race and ethnicity, media entertainment, law, and so much more. Communication is a multifaceted major that teaches students how to conduct research, write papers, and think critically about the psychological and sociological aspects of human interaction.

  4. 4. Misconception: I won't be able to find a job if I major in communication.

    Truth: There's a general misconception that your major in college determines what jobs you'll get in the future, but in reality, studies show that less than a third of American adults over the age of 35 have ever worked in a job related to their major. Meanwhile, good communication is not only a skill that is highly valued by employers, but it's also a requirement for nearly every job out there. Majoring in communication might not lead to any specific career path, but it instead opens up the possibility to a wide variety of career paths.

  5. 5. Misconception: I won't be able to make a lot of money if I major in communication.

    Truth: Because there are so many possibilities career-wise for communication majors, it is absolutely possible for communication majors to find well-paying jobs. You might actually find that some of the most financially successful people you know were once communication majors such as talkshow host and producer Oprah Winfrey, filmmaker Spike Lee, actor Matthew David McConaughey, artist and producer J. Cole, and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

  6. 6. Misconception: Communication is just common sense.

    Truth: Communication is a social science that involves a lot of research. Of course there are many concepts in the field of communication that might seem like common sense, but the same can be said about concepts in the field of natural sciences such as gravity. Through experimentation and data analysis, communication researchers work to find the explanations for certain communicative behaviors and make predictions based on those findings. It's also important to note that being able to communicate is not the same thing as being able to communicate effectively, and with communication courses at UCSB, students learn about how factors like culture, gender, and relational dynamics impact communication in ways that aren't always innately obvious.

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