Transitions, regardless of circumstances, are difficult. It is common to feel overwhelmed by, and underprepared for, many of life’s passages. A particularly challenging one can be the leap to higher education. For many, this period is marked by moving away from family, assignments more complex than any tackled thus far, and a general feeling of disorientation. But this transition does not have to be unpleasant, especially if you take advantage of all that the National STEM Honor Society has to offer. Read on to learn of the three top ways NSTEM™ can alleviate much of the stress that may come along with beginning college.
1. NSTEM™ Provides Exposure to Many Career Possibilities
One of the greatest concerns of college freshmen is not knowing the degree they want to pursue. Although there are many schools that do not require students to commit to a major right away, having a general sense of your key interests will help you in your course selection. Students often tackle their uncertainty by imagining the kind of career they would like. What kind of work setting do you want? Do you want to collaborate with others or be independent? Do you want a job that is active? One that targets certain problems? By pinpointing the careers that interest them, students are already on a great path to finding the degree they would like to earn. But what if you had already begun asking yourself these questions before ever setting foot on your college campus? What if exposure to various STEM fields through NSTEM™ webinars, blog posts, online resources, internships, and projects helped you to confirm your interests sooner? Perhaps NSTEM™ even helps you to clarify that STEM isn’t your preferred path. That’s okay! Learning your affinities and aversions ahead of time will only propel you further in the direction of your choice..
2. NSTEM™ Highlights Scholarships, Grants, and Other Awards that Can Alleviate the Financial Burden of Higher Education
NSTEM™ recognizes that cost remains a large barrier to education and its equitability. Unfortunately, American colleges and universities have prohibitive tuition fees that lead to a lack of access for those of underserved backgrounds. It is for this reason that NSTEM™ does all it can to make chapter membership affordable and accessible to as many students as possible. Additionally, NSTEM™ wishes to encourage its members to pursue forms of STEM education beyond their school’s chapter; we highlight scholarships, grants, and work opportunities on our site as much as possible, and partner with organizations and figures who can grant us access to their educational opportunities as well. NSTEM™ even offers its own scholarship program! The program includes a college/university scholarship as well as an extra-curricular scholarship. To learn more, check out this page on NSTEM™.org.
3. NSTEM™ Prepares Students for Undergraduate Work
NSTEM™ prepares its members and interns for many aspects of life, but it especially gives students invaluable work experience and exposure that many are not fortunate enough to have before college. Firstly, involvement with NSTEM™, whether through a chapter or an internship, demonstrates to potential schools that you are a dedicated and intellectually curious student. Your application will stand out in the eyes of admissions officers when they read about the firsthand experience you have had with STEM work. Schools that value this kind of student and their commitment to STEM will be more likely to accept you, and you will find yourself with educational options that better reflect what you hope to gain from a college education. And then, of course, when you get there you will be better accustomed to the responsibilities and higher expectations that come with college, because you already have experience navigating this type of work from your chapter or internship.
In sum, NSTEM™ wishes for all of its students to uncover and pursue their passions. We work to provide as many opportunities and tools to our members as possible, and we hope you will consider taking advantage of them for the betterment of your future.
Written by: Lucy Reid