How can a school better prepare a student for a career in chemistry? How can a school better prepare a student for any career in any field? By making sure that the student knows what type of careers chemistry has to offer and what each specialty involves. The school needs to then help the student concentrate studies in those areas.
It would be helpful if the first two days of class were devoted to the importance and value of chemistry. Show the students how chemistry affects their day to day lives. Get a chemistry major that works in chemistry to come talk about careers, and there are chemists all around. Pharmacists are the best well-known chemists, but there are also textile chemists, environmental chemists and even food chemists that develop new taste sensations. Several people in almost any community are involved in practical chemistry, and most would delight at the opportunity to come encourage children in their field.
High School students still are children, just older children, and encouragement is essential for preparing for a career in any field. Of course, after encouragement comes preparation, and that is actually easier in many cases that stimulating interest.
For a career in chemistry, you need a good background in math, atomic theory, and chemistry. Biology is also recommended as biochemistry is a career path that mixes biology and chemistry, and even if the pupil just wants chemistry it is a good idea to know the effects of those fumes and substances on a living system!
Once they know the subjects, how to best further help a bright student? One way can be through mentoring. Get them to go out for even just one half day a week and work with a chemist. This may just be at the corner drugstore and possibly with a factory that has a chemist on staff, monitoring the environment. Most places will be glad to have a student around.
Sometimes the student has a problem with transportation or rules prevent them from being mentored off the school grounds, let them mentor with the Chemistry teacher or even tutor others. Tutoring slower students requires the bright student to not only learn the subject, but to be able to explain to some one else. They will research the topic, learn to organize their thoughts and develop communication skills and develop self esteem. This will help better prepare a student for a career in any field, not just chemistry!
In summary, to better prepare students for a career in chemistry, first encourage and stimulate their interest by showing the diversity of the field. Now get them basics needed to handle the field of chemistry. Then try mentoring if possible. But then get them to help teach others and develop their self esteem. They will then be ready for their chosen career.