STEM Education: Everything You Need To Know
Are you looking for the perfect way to boost your college admissions? If you are passionate about technology and find your math and science classes interesting, STEM education is a great way to do just that. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and it is becoming increasingly important in today’s world.
By focusing on these four areas of study, students can gain important skills to help them excel in college and beyond. Keep reading to learn more about pursuing a STEM education.
What Is STEM Education?
STEM education is a curriculum that focuses on four main subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. By focusing on these topics and developing skills in each area, students can gain an understanding of how the world works and how they can use their knowledge to solve real-world problems. Students also develop essential critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Students who study STEM disciplines in college generally show an aptitude for these subjects in high school. Therefore, high school students who wish to pursue a STEM education should do what they can to expand their knowledge and skills in these areas before applying to college.
Why Is STEM Important?
The STEM fields are responsible for the advances and innovations in technology and science that make our lives better. Students who study STEM often want to address challenges that have a global impact, such as environmental sustainability and the need for technological developments that drive society forward. Additionally, STEM jobs are on the rise, meaning these disciplines are becoming increasingly important to our economy.
The Benefits of a STEM Education
Students who pursue a STEM education receive many benefits beyond gaining knowledge of the subject matter. You also learn many professional development skills that help you stand out to future employers. Students learn problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration and teamwork, risk-taking and experimentation, resilience, creativity and ingenuity, how to apply knowledge, and adaptability. Not to mention, students in STEM disciplines learn to embrace new technologies.
What Makes a Competitive STEM Applicant?
College STEM programs tend to be very competitive, but you can do a lot to put your best foot forward as a candidate:
- Take the most rigorous courses you can in math and sciences, including calculus, chemistry, biology, and physics.
- Maintain a high GPA, especially in your math and science courses.
- Participate in STEM-related extracurriculars. Better yet, start a group at your school. It’s important to show leadership skills, initiative, and an ability to think outside the box.
- Be able to communicate why you’re interested in STEM, and demonstrate your understanding of the field and why it’s a good fit for you.
- Demonstrate strength of character and personal qualities by being a good citizen at school and in your community.
Types of STEM Degrees
The great thing about STEM is that it’s a diverse field that offers a variety of majors and degrees within each STEM discipline. Here are some STEM degree programs you might see, depending on which schools you’re applying to:
- Science: biology, health science, physics, astronomy, chemistry, environmental science
- Technology: information technology, cybersecurity, data analytics, software development, computer programming
- Engineering: chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, electrical engineering
- Mathematics: mathematics, applied mathematics, computational mathematics
How to Prepare for a STEM Degree in High School
As we mentioned before, one of the best ways to prepare for a STEM degree is to take advanced courses in math as well as earth, life, and physical sciences. Successfully completing coursework at the AP or IB level will help you impress admissions officers. But what science classes do colleges look for specifically?
We already mentioned biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as advanced math courses. Students interested in computer technologies should take an AP computer science class. Even psychology courses are useful. If your high school doesn’t offer some of these courses, look into taking college-level coursework that also allows you to earn college credit.
Do you have interests in the liberal arts as well as STEM? You can prepare for colleges that combine liberal arts and STEM education.
5 Extracurricular Activity Ideas for STEM Students
Coursework is one important component for college admissions, but extracurricular activities and outside interests matter as well. Some popular choices include:
- Participating in science fairs or mathematics competitions.
- Joining (or starting!) a STEM club, such as robotics, math, physics, astronomy, LEGO, or coding—just to name a few.
- Volunteering for a cause or organization related to STEM.
- Tutoring students in STEM topics.
- Participating in an independent or group project related to STEM.
Learn more about why interests matter for STEM college admissions.
Tips For Students Interested In STEM Programs
Students have the best chance of getting accepted into a STEM program when they can demonstrate an interest in STEM outside of the classroom. We already mentioned five extracurricular activities above, but these STEM program tips offer some more details and ideas for getting involved in STEM-related activities.
Popular Careers with a STEM Degree
STEM careers are diverse, and many of them are high demand jobs with a low rate of unemployment. Regardless of which STEM discipline you prefer, you can find a range of traditional and non-traditional careers. Popular careers you can pursue with a bachelor’s degree include software developer, web developer, computer systems analyst, medical and health services manager, actuary, civil engineer, cartographer, and environmental engineer. Pursuing a STEM-related graduate degree can open the door to even more career opportunities.
Opportunities for Students Pursuing STEM Degrees
You have a range of opportunities that can prepare you for studying STEM in college including spending your summer at a STEM summer program. Preparing for college admissions can seem overwhelming at times, so getting some expert guidance is always helpful. Schedule an Initial Consultation with an IvyWise counselor who can help you identify opportunities and create a strategy to reach your academic goals in STEM.