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Dramatic Shifts Since Fall 2001 in Student Interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Careers

Lee's Summit, MO, September 18, 2009 --( Today, My College Options® released preliminary findings from their 2008-2009 analysis of high school student interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. This research was conducted over eight years with millions of students at over 90% of high schools nationwide.

Complete findings will be presented at the upcoming National Association for College Admission Counseling National Conference to be held in Baltimore, Maryland on September 25, 2009. Developed as part of MCO’s ongoing commitment to understand and measure the education and career aspirations of America's youth, this research reveals new information that will impact educators and policy makers.

The research shows:

Total high school student interest in the four STEM disciplines took a dramatic dive after Fall 2001 and bottomed out in 2004, but has been rising slowly ever since. Since 2004, interest in science and math careers have both climbed dramatically, offsetting declines in technology and a flat interest in engineering.
There is a strong correlation between students with an interest in military service and an interest in STEM careers. Thirty-five percent of those with military plans also report an interest in a STEM discipline – 10% higher than the general population.
Interest in STEM careers by African American students has dropped over 20% since 2000. With around 23% for the class of 2010, African American students now constitute the ethnic group with the lowest level of interest in STEM careers.
The number of female high school students who express an interest in technology and engineering careers is shrinking. Today, less than 2% of female high school students in the class of 2010 report an interest in engineering. This represents a 59% decrease from the high recorded in the high school graduating class of 2000.
The gender gap between male and female students interested in STEM careers has returned to nearly the same level as the early 1990s.

The presentation at NACAC will focus on the trends related to underrepresented populations in STEM fields. Among ethnic groups, Asian students display the highest interest in STEM careers, but despite a slight rebound from 2005 to 2007, the percentage is down over 23% since 2001. Interest by American Indian students has grown the fastest and is now substantially higher than pre-9/11 levels. Hispanic and Caucasian student interest has rebounded to near 2001 levels.

The full presentation will be available following the NACAC conference at the NRCCUA website:

About® is a comprehensive, free online college planning service provided by the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ (NRCCUA®). NRCCUA is a non-profit educational research organization based in Lee’s Summit, MO. For 38 years, NRCCUA has conducted the largest nationwide survey of high school students, which serves as a communications link between college-bound high school students and public and private colleges and universities. For more information, visit

Contact Information
My College Options
Cara Strothmann

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