College Admissions Planning:

STEM COLLEGE ADMISSIONS – Unique, Highly Competitive & Multi-Disciplinary

Greetings Students & Families
I’m often asked when to start planning for the College Admissions process. Even though College Applications aren’t submitted any earlier than the the end of the Junior year,  my answer may surprise some people: there’s no better time than ASAP. In STEM — early planning takes on an even greater sense of urgency as admissions rates in many STEM majors demonstrate how selective the process has become. STEM applicants have to address some very specific points in their application- difficult to do without early STEM college planning.
As regular readers of my newsletters and blogs know, I’ve spoken about how College Admissions Officers want to know two things about every applicant:
1 Who are You ? What are you passionate about? What experiences shaped your character and define the person who will arrive on campus? So please live and enjoy yourself at school, at home and within your community.
For STEM applicants, your problem-solving skills are of interest – and those of you with multi-disciplinary pursuits suggests a wider lens towards problem-solving (something that has been demonstrated as a desirable characteristic in innovative pursuits). It’s also important to demonstrate your collaborative/team-based experiences because STEM problem-solving involves this approach to learning and innovating.
2 What “Problem” do you want to solve- what do you want to learn with others on our college campus?
For STEM applicants- you will have a clear edge as an undergraduate student and also in admissions if you can clarify your specific academic interests in your essays. I’ll talk more about this – please don’t write an essay about how you played with legos as a child! Also, you didn’t build a computer- you assembled it from pre-ordered parts. If you’ve shadowed a physician or volunteered at a hospital – relate that to the core concepts in biology and chemistry you observed in practice.
Today I begin my fall series on STEM COLLEGE PLANNING – how to build your STEM college plan. We will take a look at the steps to be taken to set and realize educational goals that involve learning about different STEM academic paths and how to compare and evaluate potential majors that may be a perfect “fit” for you!
Our conversations focus on how your interests sparked in coursework could be further explored through extracurricular activities, collegiate summer programs and personal research projects and readings.
with College Consultant Bonnie Rabin, PhD
What inspires your student?
What are you passionate About?
Are you allocating time to deepen that interest?
The single most important goal of high school is for each student to develop a love of learning both within and outside the classroom – often accomplished by creating meaningful connections with others — collaborating on projects at school, in community organizations, and in extracurricular pursuits.
Learning about the types of problems and innovations taking place in a variety of potential fields can be inspirational. Inspiration if you’re lucky happens at school- but more often than not it’s beyond a textbook or classroom.
Having an opportunity to intern, solve problems, take an EdX course or explore in a collegiate summer program can help to develop a very specific interest area – your niche!
Discovery is sparked within the classroom – but it’s nurtured in hands-on activities- sometimes this takes planning to find that opportunity.
I have so many ideas- let’s talk!


In my college advising practice there’s an oddity that I haven’t yet been able to explain- and it’s this. While every young adult I meet is unique- I find it fascinating to observe a cycle– whereby some graduating classes are heavily STEM focused, and other years it’s the creative arts or business, etc. In my 2021 high school graduating class over a third of my clients submitted their college applications as aspiring Computer Scientists, Mathematicians and Electrical Engineers- with lots of overlap in their research interests or “niche”.  This year- many are Pre-med students and I several students are in the visual arts – some who were convinced at the outset of high school they were aspiring physicians. All of these students have a vision of the types of creative problems they might like to solve- discovered at courses, summer experiences, internships, research and extracurricular pursuits.  Follow your heart! Follow your talent.
If the thought of taking an AP science or mathematics class in high school sounds ominous – you’re probably not an engineer or scientist- but I’m certain I can help you re-direct into a multi-disciplinary STEM-related field. But don’t stress-out- no one has to define their life or field at 16, 26 or even 36. Our path and our pace are highly individualistic – you’ll arrive at various destinations in your journey -!
Love robotics-why?
Genetics excites you- tell your reader about where you discovered this emerging interest.
Think business is for you – how did you arrive at that conclusion?
What has inspired and sparked your attention?
Please don’t misinterpret my enthusiasm for finding a passion as you MUST have a passion.  In fact- colleges are really intrigued by students who have overlapping or multi-disciplinary interests – and there’s some colleges with custom-designed majors including Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and Brown! PERFECT!
I often meet young adults who seem to think they have already decided their field of study as undergraduates and even as graduate students! Their enthusiasm is wonderful, but at times these early academic/career choices rest upon preconceived notions about their interests and misinformation about a given field of study.  What students don’t know are the vast number of ways to leverage interests and strengths in educational plans that are multi-disciplinary and outside-the-box. Most universities have HUNDREDS of majors- many you may never have considered.




Is there a GAMER in your house? The team of computer scientists, mathematicians, artists, musicians, and business majors that bring you TWITCH– LIVE GAMING STREAMING are incredibly passionate about what they do and are well educated team players who earn some very impressive starting salaries. Parents – if you don’t know about TWITCH– you’re dating yourselves! The marketing dollars collected on TWITCH – astounding- but does it all come together? Again- business analytics, computers science, mathematics, social media – all fields to consider.
Palitair – not a household name- right? The name of this BILLION dollar IPO was created by its founders based on a connection to the Lord of the Rings. Palitair is committed to using “big data analytics”, AI and ML to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. The founders are an interesting group of former Stanford grad students on a mission. I recently learned that my brother lived in the same dorm as one of the primary founders when they were freshman at Haverford together — “everyone knew Andy would do something amazing one day”.
I’m sure you are curious about how to live longer- what to eat or not to eat?  A team of food scientists, bio-chemists, exercise scientists and marketing specialists deliver the latest information to your your social media newsfeed.
Clearly, in the past two years, we’ve all become well versed on what an infectious disease specialist does and how these scientists/MDs are working closely with computational biologists and public relations specialists to track, treat, and communicate with the public regarding COVID.
But it’s finance experts who are working closely with biologists to understand and model relevant information into investment and economic decision making. THE POINT – DECISIONS MAKING in nearly every imaginable situation has become COMPLETELY TEAM based and MULTI-DISCIPLINARY!
Data, data and more data– the computer scientists, mathematicians, statisticians, informational scientists, computational finance majors and an array of related STEM/Business majors are exploring all sorts of interesting problems more accurately and efficiently than ever.
Finding Your Passion:
 There’s a STEM field of study to match the unique strengths and interests of every young adult!
With nearly 4,000 colleges offering an impressive number of traditional and cutting edge majors and minors, it can indeed be overwhelming to navigate the maze of available degree options.


Engineering (Mechanical, Aerospace, ECE, Civil), Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering Physics, Robotics, Data Analytics, Molecular Biology, Pre-Med, Game Design, Architecture, Animal Science, Zoology, Neuroscience, Computational Finance, Genetics, Cognitive Science, Computational Physics, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Decision Sciences, Computational Biology, Financial Engineering, Industrial Design, Bio-Medical Engineering, Materials Science, Technical Writing, Technical Theater, Data Science, Actuarial Science, Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Architectural Engineering, Information Systems, Software Engineering, Physical Therapy, Nutrition, Nursing, Forensics, Biological Anthropology, Mathematical Economics, Artificial Intelligence, Bio-Ethics, Sound Engineering, Bio-Physics, Computer Music, Cyber-Security, Information Systems, Earth Science, Geology, Environmental Science/Engineering, Public Health, Infectious Disease and more!
As a former university professor, I’ve designed and approved accredited curriculum programs for several universities. Having spent thirty years advising thousands of students, I invite your family to leverage my knowledge of curriculum requirements and discover an academic area your student will be truly passionate about.
The more you know about your interests and your strengths, the more likely you’ll embark upon a path that is joyful and rewarding.
The subject areas introduced in high school are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Consider:
STEM: computational biology, robotics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, animal science, food science, viticulture and enology (the art of grape growing and winemaking)
BUSINESS: business analytics, information systems, f financial engineering are STEM majors!
HUMANITIES/SOCIAL SCIENCE blends including bio-molecular archaeology, cognitive science, technical writing are STEM majors!
FINE ARTS: scientific photography, costume technology, industrial design or even bakery science are STEM Majors
These are just a few examples of fields where great innovation is occurring in a multi-disciplinary way – Be Inspired!
Does your student have an Educational & College Admissions Plan? On Target?
Bonnie R. Rabin, Ph.D.
Personalized Educational & College Admissions Services
South Florida 561.509.0021
Boulder/Denver 720.737.9944
Nationwide Online 833.MY.ESSAY
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