Communications majors (sometimes called Communication Studies) study how messages are passed on. While they learn a lot of the same things a Mass Communications major will – how the media shares messages with the mass public – they also break down Communication into its most basic form and study the all the little details.
Communications majors enjoy a good 3 a.m. conversation on just about any topic. They enjoy listening just as well as talking. They like hearing more than one side to every story.
Communications majors need to be good communicators themselves. They are good public speakers, and they have strong writing skills. Their vocabulary is pretty impressive, but they are able to talk at just about anyone’s level.
One of the first classes you’ll take is public speaking. If you’re one of the many individuals so deathly afraid of public speaking that you’d rather die in a fiery plane crash than accept a Grammy on national television, you don’t want to major in Communications.
Remember hearing something once about verbal and nonverbal communication? As a Communications major you’ll take that concept to a totally new level, exploring things like how silent films communicate emotion, why people cross their arms when they’re frustrated with a conversation, how language evolves within communities with the use of slang. With so much communication going on in the world, you’ll have plenty of examples to draw from as you study the science and art of Communications.
As communication has become such a focus of business and industry, a Communications major can find work just about anywhere. There’s easy crossover into fields like Public Relations, Journalism and Marketing. But even companies like science research facilities or engineering firms hire Communications majors to help with internal communication (getting messages to staff) and external affairs (letting the public know what the company does).
If your high school offers a debate team or club, jump all over that chance. You’ll get to use all the principles of communication that you’ll spend the next four years learning about, and you’ll polish your own speaking skills in a hurry.
You’ll want an internship toward the end of your education to get some experience putting what you’ve learned into practice in the “real world.” Or you may consider doing a semester abroad to learn the difference in communication in another culture.