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Weigh Interests and Hard Work

About a third of US adults say that they'd encourage students to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but US News & World Report adds that students should also consider what interests them and what such a degree entails.

There's a push to get more students into STEM fields, though students, US News says, should be prepared for a slog. It reports that 42 percent of engineering majors and 40 percent of physical science, math, and computer science majors spend a chunk of time — between 11 hours and 20 hours a week — keeping up with coursework.

Because of that commitment, US News advises students to be sure that their STEM major and its classes truly interest them. While STEM majors can often command higher salaries than their peers and may have wider range of job opportunities, it adds that those are not good enough reasons to struggle through challenging courses.

"To be most successful, it's to do work that you find rewarding and engaging and that you enjoy," Tufts University's Jennifer Stephan tells US News.

It also notes that courses alone don't give a full picture of what a STEM career is like, so students should seek out hands-on experience.