Juniors Complete your Common Application before Summer Vacation

College Admissions Tips: STEM College Planning

Greetings Students & Families!

A continued round of applause to our seniors for their accomplishments and acceptances. 

Sample of recent Acceptances including STEM majors- Engineering, Chemistry, Pre-Med, Mathematics, Computer Science, Operations Management, Computational Finance

Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, UNC, Emory, Cornell, NYU, Rice, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, Drexel, Tulane, Purdue, Ohio, Miami, Johns Hopkins, University of Arizona, Penn State, Villanova, Northeastern, SUNY-ESF, St. Johns, Colgate, WUSTL, Fordham, Swarthmore, Pittsburgh, Dickinson , Fordham, Colorado, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, Boston, Hobart & William Smith, Gettysburg, Temple, SUNY-Stonybrook, Denison, SUNY-Binghamton, Hamilton, George Washington, American, Indiana, SMU, James Madison, UF

Summer  Programs: :  UF STTP, UF Rise, Duke-Mathematics, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell University,MIT, Tulane, Johns Hopkins, Rose-Hulman Catapult, Boston University, FAU H20,  Embry Riddle, Georgetown, George Washington

TO DO NOW: 8th to 11th Grade families

With course planning taking place at many high schools, this is a great time to assess your strategic educational and college admissions plan.

  • Are you taking too many AP classes or are you avoiding a challenge? I often speak with students who step-off their mathematics track and don’t recognize that all STEM majors will require Calculus as undergraduates.
  • Did an experience with a teacher inspire (or the opposite) an interest in a given subject area?  What electives are you taking to continue to develop your interest?
  • Have you considered a discrete mathematics class or a STEM competition?
  • Is “Dual Enrollment” actually the right “fit” for you based on your educational plans and potential undergraduate major?  Please don’t take classes simply for the purpose of raising your GPA. Selected electives should offer geniune learning opportunities that push you to discover something new that you CANNOT accomplish at your high school.

This is also the appropriate time of year to review extracurricular activities and plan your summer. If your plans don’t include attending a competitive collegiate summer program,  there is still time to organize an independent project or internship to continue to help you nurture and discover a connection between your strengths and potential academic interests.  Please connect with me for ideas.   All students should take advantage of summer vacation to recharge, but also might consider structured on-ramp programs for difficult AP classes on the horizon, preparation of standardized testing and community internships and volunteer opportunities.  It takes some organizing to get going- but there are many organizations that welcome your energy and skills with open arms.

Please review my earlier Newsletters:
Advantages of Summer Programs, B.R. Rabin, PhD
How To Select a Major and College – 4000 Choices! B.R Rabin, PhD



Do you enjoy and excel in your science and math courses?  Do you think you want to become a physician? Maybe you’ve learned to code and write APPs or were told you would make a great engineer?

You might be the next Tony Stark or follow in the footsteps of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Sally Ride (NASA), Jeff Bezoz (Amazon), Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo), Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks Animation), Caterina Fake (Flickr),  Helen Greiner (iRobot), or Antonia Coello Novello (Surgeon General).

Aspiring STEM students! Make sure you’ve received STEM pre-college academic advising to prepare  for academic success as an undergraduate while guiding you to appropriate ways to set yourself apart from other STEM applicants.

Traditional STEM majors include

  • Science (Biology, Physics, Chemistry),
  • Technology (Computer Science, Information Systems),
  • Engineering (i.e. Mechanical, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, etc.) and
  • Mathematics.

The complete list of STEM majors and careers contains dozens of selections and extends far beyond the courses you’ve explored in your high school AP, AICE or IB classes. Given your interests and strengths, or perhaps there is an area you have yet to uncover, let me guide you to the discovery of unique and cutting-edge STEM majors.

You’ll be surprised to know that there are STEM majors for students who enjoy the “Liberal Arts” and for students with overlapping interests in business, social sciences and even the fine arts.

A variety of fields have been influenced by the analytical approaches and scientific techniques taught in STEM programs. Collaboration taking place within multi-disciplinary teams is the direction of future innovation in all fields.

Be inspired! Let me help you take the next step!



The nature of STEM fields continues to evolve. Advanced preparation for an undergraduate STEM major should include the following:

  • Mathematics:  All STEM fields require a comfort and aptitude for quantitative analysis. High school coursework preparing you for Calculus & Statistics is advised.All  engineering programs have math pre-requisites preparing for advanced coursework.
  • Pre-medical students will complete rigorous Chemistry classes requiring mathematics thru multi-variate calculus.
  • Business school students, especially those in Finance & Marketing should anticipate coursework in advanced statistics and calculus.
  • STEM AP/AICE coursework:  STEM majors are more structured than others leaving few credits for exploration at the undergraduate level.   Achieving high (threshold) scores on AP STEM exams related to your chosen major  not only enhances your admissions portfolio, but better prepares you for the challenging coursework ahead and leaves room to enroll in non-STEM electives/minors.Challenge yourself to complete as many of these AP classes as possible during high school:  Computer Science, Calculus BC, Biology, Chemistry, Physics C, Statistics
  • CODING:  Multi-disciplinary problem-solving is typical in the fast-paced and incredibly competitive technical sector.  Students in all fields, including video-gaming/artists, filmmakers, financial gurus and even aspiring physicians are at a competitive advantage having acquired basic programming skills.   Robotics and Artificial Intelligence continue to influence all fields. Understanding the basics of coding is essential to success in STEM and many disciplines.  Have you considered “Computational Finance” or “Computational Biology” as potential majors? 


Discover you passion!


First and foremost- be yourself because everyone else is taken! That’s not cliché-it is truly the most important piece of advice I can provide. Discover an area that you are truly passionate about and dive in!   Demonstrate informed interest thru experiences.

STEM admissions is different!
How do you increase your chances of admissions?


More than any other major, STEM applicants must clearly demonstrate “informed interest”!  Admissions officers don’t want to read an essay describing your fascination with Lego since childhood.

Your application must leave no shadow of a doubt that you are prepared to succeed in some of the most demanding academic majors.  STEM curriculum are intense and challenging!

An astounding 25% of all intended engineering students exit the field after their freshman year. Only 40% of college students who declare a STEM major complete their degree.   Demonstrating you understand the challenges ahead is essential.
STEM “informed interest” can be demonstrated through:

  • In addition to completion of AP STEM coursework, engage in sustained formal or informal STEM extracurricular activitiesand independent projects (we have plenty of ideas for an independent project)
  • STEM Research: participation in local, regional and national competitions working with our  competition educator.
    thoughtful college specific supplemental essays showcasing maturity and self-directed exploration of a potential narrow area of interest (i.e. stochastic processes in Financial Modeling, Genomics, Artificial Intelligence applications to pharmaceutical development)
  • CONSIDER Applying to a cutting-edge, LESSOR KNOWN or BLENDED MAJOR:

Allow me to help you think outside the box, increasing your chances of admission. STEM majors such as Nanotechnology, Computational Finance, Oenology, Cognitive Psychology, Human Computer Interaction are just the tip of the iceberg of exciting STEM fields of study.

You’ve seen that bumper sticker: CO-EXIST!

Many colleges have unique programs balancing a STEM field with an interest in the social science, liberal arts, business or even the  Fine Arts!
With the cost of a four-year education continuing to rise, families are justified in exploring the ROI of any major. Employers are seeking STEM graduates who demonstrate an ability to communicate, manage and collaborate with others.

Click and explore these three unique STEM degree programs combining engineering with liberal arts, fine arts and international studies!

Based on your academic strengths and personal interests, we will work together to create a personalized strategic STEM ADMISSIONS plan including:

Pre-college academic advising on coursework to not only increase your chances of admission, but ensure a seamless transition to your initial undergraduate experience. There’s more to STEM than “engineering”!

We’ll work together to identify and apply for highly competitive local and national STEM summer research programs. Our team has inside-knowledge of programs and faculty.


  • Develop your unique research interests
  • Engage in competition
  • Present an effective admissions portfolio showcasing and distinguishing your strengths as an aspiring STEM student.
Why is participating in STEM research competition particularly important?
  • Enhance your high school STEM education!
  • Increase your chances of Admission!Learn More: Google Science Fair
  • By participating in a major STEM competition for high school students you are stepping out of the crowd of students having high GPAs and extensive extracurricular accomplishments.
  • Your Common Application will showcase formal and/or informal STEM research activities and competitions.  Admissions representatives prefer students who have already demonstrated an ability to conduct independent research essential to the problem solving you’ll experience as a STEM undergraduate.
  • Through academic research (lab work, computer science programs/APPs, math competition),
    STEM competition not only enhances your pre-college education, it effectively demonstrates an ability to accomplish a major task validating your creativity, independence and ability to see a task to completion. 
    It doesn’t matter whether you win first place at Intel – participation is impressive and unique!    
We maintain an extensive database of available STEM based venues as well as ideas for feasible independent projects.  
Think beyond FIRST Robotics, Science Olympiad or HOSA.   
So much more awaits you….
Have a wonderful day!
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.

Discover your passion!

Meet with Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D., STEM Admissions Expert