Why Take Math in High School??

August 18, 2014


Do you want to travel to Mars?
Design houses or create computer software?
Do you want to discover a cure to cancer or protect rivers and oceans from pollution?
If you do, be sure to take lots of math in school.

Many challenging and rewarding careers - not just engineering - demand a strong background in math. Classes like algebra, geometry, and trigonometry may be difficult, but they will open the doors to many exciting opportunities in your future.  Of course, you can catch up on your math when you get to college, but like a language it is much easier to really learn it when you are young, and you'll have a hard time catching up in college without taking extra years if you don't at least have the basics.  Since you have to take most math classes in a particular order, it's also important to start early so that you are prepared to take the right classes when you need them.

Besides the inherent beauty in mathematics there are lots of other reasons to take as much math as you can, even if you don't want to be an engineer.  For one, math can actually make you smarter!  It's like endurance training for your brain.  Learning to think critically and focus on a problem is important for any career.

You may also want to take math so you can make and save more money.  On average, people who understand math have higher paying careers.  That may not always be the case, but you'll certainly increase your odds by understanding as much as you can.  And when all your friends are losing their last dime on the latest crazy scheme that doesn't make mathematical sense, you might actually have the forethought to sit back and crunch the numbers before jumping in.

Having a solid background in math is very much like understanding a very useful and universal language.  It is important to start early to be completely fluent, and you'll be able to communicate difficult concepts with a few simple equations.  People in many other countries know the importance of math and work very hard to master it from an early age.  Considering the increasing globalization of the economy, you shouldn't be surprised that you will be competing with many of those hard-working students for jobs by the time you get out of college.

And speaking of college, you may want to consider taking extra math just to help make sure you get into the right college.  A compelling essay will go a long way on your college entrance applications, but so will a solid background in mathematics.  And once you get to college, you won't have to take loads of remedial math courses just to catch up. 

And finally, you should take math because you're cool!  You won't need to explain away why you don't do numbers for the rest of your life.  You'll be able to help your kids with their math homework, and you will be the one people turn to when they need some creative problem-solving.