Careers don't always match majors

I couldn’t help but notice that The Crimson White’s Feb. 11, 2013, cover story on “UA majors mirror job growth trends” frequently conflates college “major” with future career “jobs” and employment. While it is true that some majors at the Capstone – the four largest, in fact, in your graphic – match up well with precise career fields, it is not true for all. I wonder if this might be an important distinction, not only for The CW to make, but for students to consider as they move through their college careers.

As faculty in a department, Communication Studies, that does not have one precise career track to feed into, we find ourselves often advising students about the difference between a college major and a career choice. Some of our majors come to COM for this exact reason; they feel their job options are broader after exploring the intellectual field of Communication Studies.

Some students, true, move on from COM to majors with a clear connection to specific employment tracks or add a minor that has this feature. Debating which type of major might be “best” is not the goal of my letter – but closer attention to our language and the implications they contain may help all of us thrive on whatever path we choose.

Meredith M. Bagley is an Assistant Professor in The University of Alabama Department of Communication Studies.

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