Why study science? What opportunities and careers can it lead to? Read on to find out our top 10 reasons from some of our science tutors.
1. Keep your options open for University
Choosing only three or four A-Level subjects is often tough, especially for those students who feel ‘split’ between the arts and sciences. However, choosing one or two science A-Levels will effectively keep both doors open for your future degree. For example, studying English, Biology and Chemistry at A-Level makes you eligible to apply for a top-university degree ranging from English Literature to several science programs, medicine or dentistry.
2. …And further down the line
Many recruiters like science graduates. You more likely to get well-paid work in science, engineering or medicine than in the arts. And if you don’t fancy a career in science, there is nothing stopping you from moving into a completely difficult industry, with the necessary motivation and some relevant work experience.
3. Improve you analytical skills
Science teaches you several valuable skills, but being able to analyse a large amount of information in a concise way is one that is important for all disciplines. You may not have been enthralled by the declining populations of the mayfly in your local ecosystem, but the ability to draw conclusions from evidence is essential and will enable you to be precise and articulate.
4. Learn to problem solve
Science is about finding solutions to extremely complicated problems. This can also be studying what possible solutions have already been suggested, or ways in which we can attempt to find these solutions. Either way, this can make studying science satisfying- from both solving simple problems in an exam question- or from the possibility of contributing to research in your future scientific career.
5. Be practical
After 13 years of education, and a huge effort to get through a gruelling university admissions process can often end in an anti-climax. For most students this comes after ‘Freshers’ madness, when you realise that you had really signed yourself up for a futher 3 years of mostly sitting in front of your laptop at your new home (a.k.a. your university library). Being able to spend half of your time in a lab will now seem surprisingly refreshing!
6. Science is creative
Due to the sciences being so broad, there is an incredibly large amount of information to get through at A-Level. For this reason, students sometimes believe that having a photographic memory is the only route to success. All this changes at University. After choosing my dissertation topic, I was quite literally given access to a very small and dark room, 16 live newborn rats, and three months to test my hypothesis. With no textbooks.
7. Keep up-to-date
One perk of studying science is that the fast-paced nature of discovery and development can make it tremendously exciting, especially if you are in a department with a strong research focus. Being taught concepts that are named after your own Professors is certainly a privilege, as well as a host of interesting guest lectures, conferences, and even opportunities to contribute to the latest research.
8. Get value for your money
At University, science students are not labelled geeks without reason. According to Which? University, the average number of contact hours at UK Universities ranges from 21 hour 18 mins (Medicine and Dentistry) to 9 hours 8 minutes (Historical and Philosophical Studies)1. At £9,000 for a 30-week year, the later option is by no mean a bargain. Choosing science means more teaching and more interaction with your fellow students.
9. Remember that not all learning happens at university
It is very possible, and sometimes even more desirable, to enjoy your artistic and creative side outside of your career focus. There are plenty of top students and employees in all fields who are also accomplished musicians, artists, chefs, film directors, novelists, bloggers, political activists and linguists. Pursuing these interests can only serve an advantage to develop all kinds of skills and give you a more broad outlook, even if it is as simple as being a keen reader.
10. Discover the world around you
I believe this is what I was told at eleven, and still hold it to be true. There is nothing more fascinating or relevant to study. So while grappling with balancing equations or looking under that microscope, be reassured that your hard work really will pay off.