How to Prepare for a STEM Career
Ever wonder how Albert Einstein got started? How about Isaac Newton or even Steve Jobs? If you’re interested in learning about the world around you and how it works, STEM careers might be a good fit for you. Made up of the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM careers are personally rewarding and a great outlet to explore your interests. You may not be at the stage where you have to set yourself on a career path (or you may have already decided to go down the STEM road), but there are things you can do to ensure you’re on the track to success in the field you choose.
Almost every college and university out there offers a multitude of STEM programs for potential applicants. These programs often have rigorous requirements for admission (for example, in fields like Life Sciences), and the competition can be tough. To properly prepare for post-secondary education in STEM, make sure you take all the necessary prerequisites for the program you’re looking at—and make sure you study hard to meet the mark cut-offs.
There are so many opportunities out there to get involved with STEM, even apart from post-secondary education. If you’re looking for some great job experience, you can investigate the opportunity for a STEM internship or apprenticeship, which could be a great way to put your practical skills to use. Volunteer positions with certain organizations can be very valuable as well, especially if they’re directly linked to your field of study (to continue the Life Sciences example, look into volunteering at a local hospital). Not only are these sorts of experiences good for your own personal fulfillment, but they look great on a resume, which can really set you apart.
If you aren’t quite committed to a STEM field but want to learn more, a school club or organization is a fantastic place to start. This gives you the added bonus of being able to meet equally motivated students that share your interests without the serious responsibility of any of the above opportunities. STEM extra-curriculars also look good on post-secondary applications but, more importantly, they give you the chance to explore your options. You are considering pursuing a career that focuses on discovery, after all—why not take the opportunity to discover some of your own STEM-based interests?
Though it may be a little early to start job-hunting, preparing for a STEM career can mean working on your academics, finding a volunteer or internship position, or even just joining a club. You may be surprised to see how truly valued these types of experiences turn out to be in the workforce. Good luck on your STEM path, whatever you decide it to be. Maybe you’ll be the one making all the discoveries one day!