OUT NOW: Your Future in Healthcare 2024!

    How to Prepare for a STEM Major in High School

    Posted by Heather Rose Artushin

    Getting ready for college can all at once be exciting and overwhelming, even for those who are passionate about a certain area of study. If you love science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), there are plenty of ways you can start preparing now for a rewarding college experience, and ultimately career, in the field of STEM. 

    “High school is a great time to explore different courses to find out what you may be interested in,” said Dr. Jennifer Albert, associate professor in the Zucker Family School of Education and director of the STEM Center of Excellence at The Citadel, a renowned military college in Charleston, South Carolina. “It is important to take as many mathematics classes as possible. Math can be a key factor to student success in STEM. Computer science is another area that will help students learn problem-solving and critical-thinking skills that will help them be successful.” 

    Classes in computer programming, chemistry, architecture, medical research and engineering are all great opportunities to learn more about STEM pathways. Dawn Boren, information-technology senior partner management specialist for The Boeing Company, encourages students to look for STEM aspects of the subjects they’re already interested in. 

    “Almost every subject has STEM influences,” she said, “and many high schools now provide trade courses to help students gain trade experience. For instance, culinary professionals use mathematics while measuring, and science to make sure that ingredients mixed will result in a successful product or recipe. The automotive sector is another STEM field since it is heavily saturated with systems engineering, artificial intelligence and technology.” 

    Outside of the classroom, extracurricular activities, like robotics, Science Olympiad, gaming and coding, as well as volunteer opportunities in settings like a hospital, can further sharpen STEM skills in preparation for college. “Figure out what problem you want to solve, and the skills you may need to solve it,” said Albert. “Try on as many different ‘careers’ as you can so that you have a better idea of where you want to focus your energy.” 

    While computer science and engineering remain popular STEM career choices, information-technology management, information security, software development, medical careers and more are exciting specializations in need of future leaders. “STEM is very fast paced. If you want to influence the world by innovation and  free thinking, then STEM is for you,” said Boren.

    Finding opportunities to work together with diverse groups of students toward a common goal can help build important skills that can pay off in the long run when it comes to pursuing a major in STEM. “STEM careers are important to solving the global challenges facing the world,” said Albert. “More important to these global challenges is a diverse population with diverse ways of thinking in STEM careers. Global challenges cannot be solved by the same old way of thinking. We need diverse teams of individuals working together.”

    Preparing for a STEM major is one important step toward making a big difference in the world in the future. “STEM careers change the world,” said Boren. “Without them, there would be no doctors, cars, social media or electricity. Even the latest pair of Jordans or the new trend of Stanley cups would be nonexistent without STEM. We all have a duty to better the world so it will be better for generations behind us, so, let’s do that through STEM!”

    Sign up for Free Tips and Guides direct to Your Inbox

    Heather Rose Artushin