to college, there are several steps you can take to help prepare for
careers in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, computing, or
Many of these ideas can help you focus on a career path
by giving you
exposure to the types of activities with different career areas.
Explore Different Career Paths
Step one is finding a resource where you can explore objective
information about career paths, including salary data, employment
trends, what degrees are required, what an average day might be like,
and what work is done in different fields. The Career Cornerstone Center is designed to help you do this! Explore this site to learn about
over 185 career options in science, technology, engineering,
mathematics, and medicine (STEM).
Selection and Learning Options
While in school, or in optional after-school programs, try to take as
many math and science courses as you can. Taking additional courses
will help you determine if you enjoy the subject matter, and will also
give you a head start on advanced coursework. It will also give you
an opportunity to meet other students with similar interests.
In middle school, consider
exploring pre-algebra or geometry -- read text books on these subjects
if they are not available to you through your school.
In high school, besides the
standard algebra and geometry, explore advanced
chemistry, calculus, trigonometry, physics, electronics, and
engineering concepts. Some high schools offer biotechnology classes or
other options. The bottom line is to take as many math and science
courses -- and AP classes -- that you can safely handle with your
workload while maintaining good grades.
Massachusetts is the first state to require
concepts be included in K-12 curriculum. The
offer many good ideas for course selection.
The College Board's
Advanced Placement Program enables students to pursue college-level
studies while still in high school. Thirty-seven courses in 22 subject
areas are offered. Based on their performance on rigorous AP Exams,
sections of which are scored by college faculty and experienced AP
teachers, students can earn credit, advanced placement, or both for
college. More than 3,600 colleges and universities around the world
recognize AP for credit, placement, and/or admissions decisions,
including more than 90 percent of four-year colleges and universities in
the U.S. Some of the subjects that relate to
fields covered on the Career Cornerstone Center include:
in Programs and Projects
Join in on engineering, math, or science projects and events that may be
offered in your area. These are great opportunities to network with
other students, meet professionals in the field, and gain experience.
There are dozens of mathematics, science, and engineering competitions -
many sponsored by local schools. Click here
for links to
suggested national projects.
STEM Summer Programs and Camps
Precollege summer camps that focus on science, mathematics, technology or
engineering can provide students with great hands-on experiences working
on activities that explore how these fields have an impact on the world.
Many universities that offer engineering programs offer programs in the
summer for middle and high school students. Companies and science museums
also often offer summer activities for high school, and occasionally
middle school students. Check your local university, or
click here for some examples.
Plans and Online Activities
Whether in a
classroom, home school environment, or online, there are many lesson
plans and online activities to explore. We've compiled a
list of resources for lesson plans and online
interactive games and activities for you to explore everything from
virtual knee surgery to designing and testing a solar car.
organizations and universities offer special
opportunities for students considering careers in science,
mathematics, technology, engineering, computing, or medicine.
These include scholarships and internships that provide real work
experience in a field of interest.
Try to keep in touch with other students who are also interested in
engineering, math and science. Join a math or science club after school,
or participate in
math, or engineering competitions.
Visit your school's career counselor, and find out what suggestions they
have for exploring career paths in science, technology, engineering,
math, computing, or medicine. They may
be able to suggest courses, internships, or extracurricular activities. Some
university career centers also have good
resources for pre-college students, and many offer career days for high
school students. They can also advise you about local and national
you, or your family, knows someone who works as an engineer,
mathematician, scientist, or medical professional -- see if they would
be able to mentor you -- or provide advice and exposure to their career
path. Perhaps you could join them at work for a day, or ask for guidance
in gaining internships, or summer jobs in your field of interest.
Whatever field interests you the most, it is a great idea to network
with people who are already working in the field to find out what they
do, and see if it might be the right field for you!
Learning Resources at Science Centers and Museums
Many science museums offer lessons, activities, and programs that can help
students explore science, technology, engineering, mathematics, computing, and healthcare. The Career Cornerstone Center offers an
online directory of science centers and museums
throughout the United States…but also check with your local center to
see what they have to offer. Many science centers and museums offer
virtual experiences through their website, so you can participate
interactively and online.
Plans and Activities
great way to introduce students to career options is through lesson
plans and online activities that provide hands on, or virtual
experiences. Whether a student is home schooled or participating
in a classroom setting, these experiences can introduce lifelong skills
and spark a career path at an early age. We have brought together a list
of many excellent resources for lessons plans and also selected and
tested many online activities that focus on STEM education. We've
compiled a growing list of lessons and
interactive online experiences.
year, more than 400,000 students attend national college fairs seeking
information about colleges, universities and other postsecondary
Local and national
college fairs provide a good opportunity to compare a wide range of
college and university options in one setting. They can be a bit
overwhelming, so if you plan to attend a large college fair such as
those sponsored by the
National Association of College Admission Counselors that are held
in large convention centers, download a map of the event ahead of time
and plan out a route through the booths that will let you explore the
schools you are most interested in. Plan out your questions in advance.
For example, if you want to know what type of co-op program the
engineering department sponsors, be sure to ask that of each school.
You'll also end up with load of brochures and catalogs, so be selective
in what you take because you'll end up carrying it throughout the day.
Consider pre-printing mailing labels with your name, address, and the
year you'll begin college and providing these to the university reps so
they can mail you appropriate materials.
Career Cornerstone Center Profile Excerpts
The following excerpts from Cornerstone profiles offer suggestions for
Software Systems Engineer
Advice to students? "Find something that
you can be passionate about, and look at your classes through that lens.
Being passionate about an end goal will make learning the basics much
Full Profile Online
Fisheries Research Biologist
Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Columbia City, IN
Advice to students? "Throw
yourself into whatever it is you have an interest in doing. Put yourself
out there, make connections with people, cultivate those connections,
and ask a lot of questions. Find what you are truly passionate about
because passion will help make you successful in whatever it is you
choose to do"
Full Profile Online
Natural Resources Manager
Town of Bluff
Advice to students? "Internships are valuable and should be sought. Not
only will they give you much needed practical experience, but an
opportunity to "test" out a career before fully committing to it so that
you can tweak your "life plan" if necessary."
Full Profile Online
System Quality Assurance Director
Advice to students? "Don’t
be afraid to take the more difficult math and science courses like
Calculus and Physics. Challenge yourselves, be confident in your skills,
and fly alone if you must. There may not always be someone who looks
like you in the class but maybe you’ll be a role model for someone else.
Find an educator or counselor whom you’re comfortable with."
Full Profile Online