5 Ways Stem Majors Can Stand Out In College Admissions

STEM Major
Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

Since childhood, you may have been passionate about STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and planned to go into a STEM field in the future.

If that’s the case, the bad news is that college admission rates to STEM majors at the best universities have become very competitive. Thanks to opportunities in STEM careers growing two times faster than other occupations, STEM majors are sure to stay in high demand, as well.

The good news is that this post will cover the five most important things college admission officers are looking for, now and in the future, in standout applicants:

Have good grades and do well on the required standardized tests.

While you will hear this advice from your high school counselors regardless of your college plans, impressive grades and doing well on the relevant standardized tests are essential.

Even more so, if you plan to get into a STEM major at a top-tier school. For instance, at tech-focused Caltech, Georgia Tech, and MIT, to name a few, the unweighted average GPA is expectedly 4.0.

Therefore, it pays to maintain your academic best throughout high school. Likewise, your standardized test scores need to be extremely high (750-800 for SAT Math range) for college admission officers at top-ranking institutions to consider you a serious applicant; an applicant who can survive their challenging STEM major curriculum.

Step up your game by taking the most rigorous science course load available.

While we’ve already discussed outstanding grades as a critical factor, college admission officers also look for STEM major applicants who’ve challenged themselves with an advanced STEM course load and still did well in them through all four years of high school.

It goes a long way to prove your passion for learning, your advanced level of math and science knowledge, and your capacity for surviving the demanding STEM major college coursework in the future. If you have the opportunity to take AP classes or early college courses, we highly recommend taking them to be a competitive candidate.

Involve yourself in a variety of STEM activities to gain solid STEM experiences.

While high school extracurriculars deserve a blog post all their own, a truly standout STEM major applicant will get noticed by college admissions officers for their STEM commitment beyond academics.

This can include taking additional STEM courses online or at a local college (like video game design); joining a robotics club or, better yet, starting one; participating in math and science competitions; and doing an internship at a STEM business or a local school.

Best of all, getting as much STEM experience as you can not only enhance your STEM major application, but also helps you narrow down your personal STEM interests.

Your professionalism, ability to work well with others, and other positive personal characteristics make you stand out.

One of the main benefits of STEM education is encouraging teamwork in students. Logically, college admission officers look for evidence that you can collaborate with others productively in a team-oriented environment.

As a result, the strongest STEM major candidate can prove their professionalism, teamwork skills, and communication skills not only in the classroom but throughout their school and community.

When the competition for STEM major opportunities is tight, you can count on college admission officers to consider good personal qualities through letters of recommendation.

Tell an engaging STEM story connecting your high school years to share with college admission officers.

Finally, you can impress college admission officers by having a personal STEM story that connects your high school classes, experiences, and passion to your future STEM major.

You can use your application, essay, resume, portfolio, social media, and interview, to name a few, to paint a bigger picture; one that shows how STEM has been your passion and pursuit throughout your high school career.

You can make your STEM major the logical conclusion of your personal STEM story, and look ahead to the future STEM career where you will change the world for the better.

Need More Help With Your STEM Major Application?

We hope the five insights we’ve shared to what college admission officers look for in STEM majors will help you stand out from the crowd.

However, if you need further assistance with this highly competitive undertaking, Empowerly can provide valuable college admission counseling services for STEM majors and other college applicants.

We’ve got you covered from A to Z, including expert application review, essay editing, and other programs. Book your consultation today to get started!

Questions? Let us know!