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How can I break into the field of Chemistry?

As of now, I'm an 11th grader who is extremely interested in the field of Chemistry. I have extremely high, potentially unlikely college acceptance expectations -- UC Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT. I'm curious as to if Chemistry will still be a viable career path in our future society, and if so how can I get opportunities to pursue this field of study in college and after? I'd also like to add that I'm also interested in branching off into other fields like physical chemistry, biochemistry, and the likes.
#chemistry #medicine #ucberkeley #stanford #mit

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi, Alex!

Chemistry is a wonderful and very diverse field of study - great choice!

If you haven't already, take a look at the Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/about/occupational-information-included-in-the-ooh.htm.
"The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) is a career resource offering information on the hundreds of occupations that provide the majority of jobs in the United States. Each occupational profile describes the typical duties performed by the occupation, the work environment of that occupation, the typical education and training needed to enter the occupation, the median pay for workers in the occupation, and the job outlook for the next 10 years for that occupation. Each profile is in a standard format that makes it easy to compare occupations."

For chemistry, you might start with searching "chemistry" and selecting one occupation that then leads you to another and another.... Chemists are found in almost all areas (e.g. engineering, research, medicine, nutrition, agriculture, education, business, law, etc.)

In addition to the OOH, you may want to research universities with outstanding undergraduate chemistry programs. Be sure to articulate "undergraduate" in your searches as many of the university rankings published are based on the graduate program which are different for your purposes. A word of caution when exploring rankings: Different websites=different answers. The "best" undergraduate chemistry program will be where you can also find the additional experiences, criteria you're looking for in a college. One size does not fit all when it comes to universities!

The American Chemical Society offers some interesting information about obtaining a chemistry degree: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/students/highschool/collegeplanning/earningachemistrydegree.html.

Best of luck to you!

chemistry occupational-outlook-handbook
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edmond’s Answer

You commented: "I'm curious as to if Chemistry will still be a viable career path in our future society"

Well remember Alex, everything in this world is made up of atoms! Everything! And we do not understand lots of what is going on inside complex systems like the human body, which is made of atoms. So definitely this field is here to stay!

I think biochemisty and bioinformatics are very exciting fields. If you have a liking for computer science, you could fold both chemisty and computer science into one major. Or a major/minor situation if you so desire.

One last thing - getting into a top-tier school is not the end-all. If you have the passion in you for a subject, you can excel at it anywhere.
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