Yes, You Really Will Use Math After High School
It’s normal to wonder whether you’ll use math in the real world. The truth is, you will need it. We all do.
“Will I really use math in the real world?” This is a question nearly all high school students have muttered, often while scribbling out a difficult equation or graph – and usually with an audible hint of frustration.
The answer? Yes. A thousand times yes. Yes to the nth power.
“There are full books written about how mathematics is, historically, at the center of human culture and evolution,” says Corin Coffey, Full Sail University’s Course Director for Fundamentals of Physical Science. “But to keep it brief, math is not just math. Learning math is learning how to solve problems by applying rational, analytical thought. When you solve math problems over and over again, you’re learning to use the process of observation, data collection, and arriving at logical solutions.”
You’ll undoubtedly continue this process of learning and problem-solving in college, though the types of math you use most often may vary depending on your degree.
Statistics, for instance, is central to business operations. Mercedes Sotillo Turner is Full Sail University’s Course Director for Statistics, and she explains how it’s critical to the success of students in the school's Entertainment Business degree programs.
“Any kind of sound business decision is based on statistics," she says. "Want to start your own business? Better have your projected expenses and revenues ready for potential investors. If you’re representing an artist, how do you know how big of a venue to book? How much merchandise should you have for fans to buy? All of these decisions involve statistics.”
Similarly, students who study in Full Sail’s Game Design bachelor's degree program will need to master their own set of mathematical skills. “Game designers handle everything from game mechanics to programming,” says Jeremiah Eisenmenger, Math & Science Department Manager at Full Sail. “Game mechanics require a well-thought-out and logistical set of rules for the interactions of every component of a game.” He explains that this scenario is addressed in a course called Discrete Mathematics.
Skills to Focus On Now
Regardless of your desired career path, it will serve you well to sharpen a few standard skills now, while you’re still in high school. Critical thinking and arithmetic are good places to begin. Additionally, Mercedes recommends brushing up on your understanding of basic operations, fractions, decimals, percentages, equations, and geometric concepts.
How to Improve
Want to enhance your understanding of math, but not sure where to begin? “Ask for help early and often,” says Jeremiah. “Do not get trapped in the mindset that ‘some people are just not good at math.’ Everyone is capable of success in math, especially creatives, because problem-solving is a very ‘right-brain’ task.”
Mercedes also suggests that prospective college students research their desired career paths in-depth.
“Students should invest time in investigating how mathematics is applied in the careers they wish to have in the future. They should ask their high school guidance counselor for suggestions and they should make their goals now, so they’re placed in the correct classes. They should also look for a mentor. The mentor can be a parent, an industry volunteer, or a teacher. The point is that they should have someone who advocates for them, someone who can guide them as they start getting ready for college.”