Initial Publication Date: September 22, 2016

Attract Students to Courses and Programs

In order to persist in STEM majors, students must first be attracted to them. The state of minority participation in STEM majors has shown improvement over the last decade, but more can be done. There are a number of proven strategies faculty and departments can use to increase student interest in STEM majors.

Reach Out to K12 Students and Teachers

Engaging with K12 students can help excite them about STEM opportunities and also see a place for themselves that community. Teachers will appreciate support and development around STEM content and help with making it relevant to students' lives.

Partner with Community Colleges

Two-year colleges are a very important part of broadening access to STEM disciplines. The majority of first-generation students and those from underrepresented minorities start their post-secondary education at these institutions.

Prioritize Introductory Courses

Introductory courses provide students with their first real taste of STEM at the college level. This first contact can either help draw them in or push them away.

Communicate Career Opportunities

Many students want to know what kinds of careers they can pursue if they major in a particular STEM degree program. For students from underrepresented populations, the need to envision possible futures is likely more important because they may not have family members in STEM fields or other connections to people who can tell them about available opportunities.

Involve Students in Research Experiences

The opportunity to do STEM work has a dramatic effect on students' ability to see themselves in a STEM discipline and career. From in-class activities to REU programs, these experiences can provide a powerful pull to draw students into the major.

Demonstrate Relevance To Students' Lives

Many students want to see why course content should matter to them before they are willing to engage with it. Demonstrating relevance is a way to give students a feeling of agency in tackling issues they care about.