Course offerings in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—have become much more numerous and varied at the high school level in recent years, and there has been a concerted effort in many parts of the country to increase the influence of STEM studies in high school curricula.
Nevertheless, many students who do not plan to study STEM-related subjects in college often enroll in the minimum number of required STEM courses during their high school careers. There are many benefits to students completing STEM classes outside their minimum graduation requirements, and these benefits apply equally to students who plan to major in a STEM field in college and to students who do not.
One such benefit is the challenge that STEM courses offer. Certain students find classes in engineering, mathematics, science, and technology less difficult than liberal arts offerings, but these students frequently major in a STEM-related field in college. For students who are more naturally inclined toward the liberal arts or social sciences, the challenge of a STEM course can serve as a vehicle to further build their academic skills in all disciplines. Here are some great tips on how to succeed in science and engineering.
Preparation for general education requirements
In addition to the intellectual benefits that students receive from STEM classes, completing such studies while in high school can assist students with their graduation requirements in college. Most universities require students to participate in at least some STEM education – while completing STEM courses in high school may not allow you to forego those requirements, this exposure can better prepare you for succeeding in those general education classes. Better preparation typically results in a better grade, and every improvement to your college GPA can improve your career and graduate school prospects.
STEM courses can help students build skills that are key to employment, even if their careers are not in a STEM field. STEM offerings, for instance, promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The STEM curriculum teaches students to collaborate in order to discover solutions to complex, multi-step problems, thus building the teamwork skills that so many employers seek in job candidates. It is often the skills developed while working with the material—as opposed to the material itself—that will benefit students most. You may also want to consider these great reasons why you should have a part time job in college.
Variety of offerings
Finally, the scope of STEM has expanded greatly in recent years to encompass classes that you may not have thought were available in years past. For instance, subjects such as alternative energy, digital design, and television production are increasingly common. Students who tend to avoid math and science courses would do well to notice the diverse array of offerings now available under the STEM umbrella.
Modern high school STEM studies have expanded greatly beyond the standard high school math and science courses that most students already take, and at their advanced levels, these classes provide curricula that do a great deal to promote collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Enrolling in such classes beyond the minimum requirements can help prepare students both for college and for the workplace in a myriad of ways. Students who would otherwise not consider STEM studies should give them a second look as they contemplate their high school course schedules. You may also want to check out the STEAM movement.