Use of Math in Various Careers
Date: 11/06/2004 at 17:07:06 From: Amanda Subject: persuading classmates math is important in every career Just briefly, how is math related to history, poly sci, visual communications, business, and psychology? I've researched some of these, but I just wanted a simple personal perspective as well. I have to persuade a number of "anti-math" students that math is essential and important in every career and in life in general. I am supposed to be giving a persuasive speech to a group of college freshmen and I want to make them realize how important it is to have math in their background. I want to relate to each of them so I had them take a survey so I knew if they liked math and what their majors were so I could reach everyone's concerns.
Date: 11/06/2004 at 18:50:35 From: Doctor Jordan Subject: Re: persuading classmates math is important in every career Hi Amanda, I think in business, basic to intermediate math skills are pretty important, and lots of business people need to be very quick with amortization, calculating cumulative rates of return on investment (which comes down to knowing powers), and other things like that. Psychologists often need to use a lot of statistics, and statistics requires some background knowledge of calculus and linear algebra, usually the first year university level. I expect people in political science would also need to know statistics fairly well, and might need to know some economics, which math is important for. I don't think history or visual arts use much math, but I could be wrong. However, another very useful reason to study math is to develop precise thinking skills. This is much less measurable than knowing how to, say, take the derivative, but it is handy. One thing people that take math tend to be fairly good at is taking a problem and figuring out what the essential nature of it is. I've heard that law schools often look very favorably at students with math degrees; I know I read a fairly respectable source a year or two ago that said that per capita, math students have by a decent percentage the best chance of getting into law school. I've spent the last half hour trying to find it, but I haven't been able to. Obviously the percentage of math students in law school is much smaller than English or political science, but people that study math, from what I saw, have a better chance of getting into law school than students of both of those disciplines. This is second hand information though, so before you stress this you might want to look into it. One reason I've heard from a relative who wrote the LSAT is that the questions on it tend not to be focused on the kinds of things that you focus on in political science and English, but rather critical thinking (I don't mean these majors don't develop that, I just mean that they also develop writing skills, knowledge about human relations, etc.). Math is all about precise thinking, and it might be good preparation for the LSAT and law school. Does this help? My favorite part of math is just that it seems beautiful, but I know many people don't think so! There are still good practical reasons to study it. If you have any questions, please write me back! - Doctor Jordan, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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