STEM courses are an important part of any high school curriculum. They allow students to explore their passions, develop strong critical thinking skills, and prepare for various careers. In addition, STEM jobs are predicted to grow by 10.5% between 2020 and 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With all this in mind, students who want to pursue a STEM degree must take advantage of all the opportunities available before going to college. Fortunately, there are many ways that high schoolers can get started on their path toward becoming an engineer, scientists, or mathematicians:
1. Consider Opting for Core STEM Subjects in High School
If you want to take core STEM courses in college, consider taking some of the core STEM subjects in high school. These are mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. High school students with a good background in these areas can skip introductory courses at their universities and move directly into upper-level courses or graduate work.
If you’re unsure which classes qualify as core STEM subjects and your high school doesn’t offer them yet, ask around! Your guidance counselor might have a list of what they accept from other schools.
2. Consider Using Online Resources and Online Videos
Online resources and videos can be helpful for learning, especially if you’re working on your own time. If you have a friend or family member using online materials, ask about their experience with it. You should also check out some of the websites specifically for STEM courses. However, YouTube can also be a good reference source for learning online. Furthermore, STEM preparation sites like Proprep.com offer video tutorials covering various concepts from high school math, science, and engineering courses.
3. Target High School Internships
An internship is a short-term, usually unpaid job that gives students experience in their chosen field. Students can understand what it’s like to work in the real world and connect with people who may become mentors.
How do you get an internship? You could ask your guidance counselor, who might have some ideas or be able to help you find one on your own. You could also check with companies where STEM jobs are available in your area. Once you know what type of company would be interested in hiring high school students, talk to them about internships. Ask if there are any opportunities for entry-level positions or other ways for students to gain experience before college starts up again next year. Remember that this isn’t just about getting hired by a company; it can also help pay off those Private student loans later on.
4. Participate in Extracurricular Activities
Participation in extracurricular activities is a great way to build relationships and networks, develop useful skills in college and learn about yourself. In addition, research has shown that students participating in extracurricular activities are more likely to graduate from college. So if you’re considering taking STEM classes in college, consider joining clubs or organizations related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
A National Center for Education Statistics study states that 30.6% of students who participate in extracurricular activities have a GPA of 3 or above compared to only 10.8% of students who are non-participants. Likewise, 68.2% of participants are likely to earn a bachelor’s degree, while for non-participants, it is only 48.2%. The stats reflect that extracurricular activities are very crucial for the overall development of a student.
5. Remember, College Fairs Are Also Important
If you are interested in taking STEM courses in college, getting as much information about your prospective school as possible is important. A college fair is a great way to learn about the colleges you’re considering and ask questions directly from admissions officers and current students. At these events, you’ll be able to talk with people who can give you numerous details about:
- What it’s like for students at the university;
- How easy or difficult it is for them to fit into the academic environment;
- What kind of financial aid they may receive;
- Whether the campus has services that support student success.
You’ll also be able to observe what resources are available on campus—things like libraries, classrooms, and dorms and ask questions about these things too.
6. Prepare for Advance Placement Test
Preparation for AP tests is an important part of your education. The College Board offers AP tests in various subjects, including biology, physics, chemistry, and psychology. These exams are offered in May and can be taken by students who are in 11th or 12th grade.
All candidates must register for the exam. Some may also pay to take it at a testing site outside their school’s boundaries or pay extra money if they want their scores sent to colleges and high schools.
The AP exam is based on the curriculum taught in your high school class. It is designed to test students’ knowledge of this curriculum and their ability to answer questions based on more advanced topics covered in introductory classes.
The AP exam is divided into multiple choice and free response.
- The multiple-choice portion of the exam tests your knowledge of various topics within biology, physics, chemistry, and psychology. For example, if you take the AP Biology exam, there will be questions about cellular structures and processes such as photosynthesis or mitosis.
- The exam’s free-response section is more difficult and requires you to write essays based on material taught in class. For example, if you take the AP Psychology exam, there will be a question asking what social factors influence human behavior.
7. Do Your Research
Once you’ve decided on a college, it’s time to research. The first thing to do is look up the college’s website and check out its academic programs. Look for schools that offer the type of program you want and those with great reputations in teaching these courses.
Next, research the major itself to find out what kind of courses are required and if they’re offered at your desired university. If they aren’t available, consider applying to another school with a better curriculum suited to your interests.
Once you know which schools have programs that interest you, look into their faculty members’ professional backgrounds. It helps when choosing where to apply. What matters most is whether or not the professors are respected by their peers within academia and outside. In addition, it means asking other students who’ve taken classes before about how much help they received from their mentors during projects/assignments.
Taking These Steps Will Help Ensure Success in College
If you are interested in pursuing a STEM degree, taking advantage of all the opportunities available in high school is essential. Taking school science, math, and engineering courses will help prepare you for college. If possible, you should get an early start by ensuring an accredited program at your high school that fits your interests. Choosing a college with a reputable STEM program will also ensure that the classes you take will apply to what is being taught at those universities. If there isn’t one available in your area, consider attending a STEM-focused high school and participating in research projects with local universities.
Hope that this article has helped you to prepare for your future STEM courses. Remember that no matter where you go to college, there will always be someone who can help guide and support you through each step. So don’t be afraid of reaching out; your professors are there for a reason.