The Need for Middle and High School Intervention

Just over 31% of high school freshmen declare interest in a STEM-related field - around 1,000,000 students each year. Of those students, nearly half will lose interest in STEM by the time they graduate from high school.

It requires fewer resources to support and maintain interest than to create new interest where it is not present. Therefore, it is crucial to encourage the development of and investment in programs designed to maintain the existing interest of students throughout high school, college and into their future careers.

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Data Source and Research Methodology:

This tool was created through a joint effort between the College Options Foundation and myCollegeOptions®.

The data represented in the STEM Interest Trends and Current Student Snapshots were gathered over the previous 13 years through annual registration and research efforts conducted for the My College Options program. Primarily, that data is collected through educator proctored, paper instruments administered in U.S. high schools.

The STEM Interest Attrition tool utilizes a cohort of nearly 100,000 students selected from the My College Options program. Each student in the cohort participated in the My College Options program during both their freshman and senior years. The freshman major and senior major selections were analyzed for persistence and migration pattern information.

The High School Landscape tool uses 3 years of student and educator data collected through the My College Options/STEMconnector cooperative research program collected through educator proctored, paper instruments administered in U.S. high schools.

Sampling Error
The margins of error and the confidence intervals below are measurements of how accurately each dataset can be generalized to the entire student community. For example, in theory, one could say that if we performed the research 100 times, the results for each respondent would fall within the margin of error above or below the percentage reported 99 out of 100 times. It is possible that question wording and logistical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings, in addition to that caused by non-response and sampling error.

Margin of Error
STEM Interest Attrition (MOE-99%).....................................+/- 0.72%
High School Landscape - Students (MOE-99%)................+/- 0.39%
High School Landscape – Educators (MOE-99%)............+/- 2.56%
STEM Interest Trends (MOE-99%).......................................+/- 0.01%
Current Student Snapshots (MOE-99%).............................+/- 0.04%

College Options Foundation is a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that is dedicated to enriching the academic development of high school students and assisting them in their preparation for higher education. To accomplish our mission we provide resources for college admissions and funding, utilize student planning guides, college exam study guides, admissions tutorials and personalized counseling, and conducting spirited academic competitions nationwide.


About myCollegeOptions® is the nation’s largest college planning program, operated by the National Research Center for College & University Admissions™ , a non-profit educational research organization founded in 1972.This free, online community offers assistance to students, parents, high schools, counselors and educators nationwide by exploring a wide range of post-secondary opportunities, with special emphasis on the college search process.