Michigan 4-H improves college interest and readiness – Part 2: MSU attendance by 4-H alumni

4-H alumni bleed MSU green as well as 4-H clover green.

Michigan State University (MSU) is the college of choice for many 4-H alumni after their 4-H program experience serves as their “first class at MSU.”  This is part 2 of a series about how Michigan 4-H improves college interest and readiness.

As part of Michigan State University Extension, Michigan 4-H is the youth development arm of Michigan State University. Through 4-H program involvement that expands youth’s horizons, allows personal growth and provides career exploration, Michigan 4-H members often develop a connection and passion for MSU.  

Amanda Freis, from Menominee County, is adamant that her involvement in 4-H and exposure to MSU was instrumental in her decision to attend MSU to earn a degree in social work. The leadership skills and passion for service she honed as a 4-H’er were highly utilized as an MSU student as she became president of the MSU Rodeo Club, worked part-time at MSU Emergency Response Solutions, interned at a psycho-social rehabilitation clubhouse and served as an undergraduate research assistant while carrying a 3.8 GPA.

Jennifer Schuster, a former 4-H’er from Montcalm County, says that 4-H had a huge impact on her decision to attend MSU and major in zoology with a specialization in environmental studies. She began attending 4-H Exploration Days in 7th grade and continued to do so for 5 years – each time deepening her love for MSU.

Through collaboration between Michigan 4-H and the MSU Office of Admissions, 4-H can track the number of 4-H youth who apply to, are admitted by and enroll at MSU. The table below reflects MSU Admissions’ numbers for 4-H youth who were high school graduates from 2010-13.

 msu 4-H alumni

*Programs include: 4-H Seniors (enrolled in county 4-H programs); 4-H Exploration Days, 4-H Capitol Experience and 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp.

Also of interest is that, of the 874 4-H alumni who entered MSU as undergraduates from 2010-13, 515 declared a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) major at the time of enrollment at MSU.  76 percent of STEM- enrolled 4-H alumni entered MSU as freshmen; 24 percent entered as transfer students. Among the STEM-enrolled students, 224 enrolled in a major within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), the college within which MSU Extension 4-H resides.  The CANR enrollment is 25.6 percent of all MSU 4-H alumni enrollment from 2010-13 and 43.5 percent of those enrolled in STEM majors. Sixty-seven percent of CANR-enrolled 4-H alumni entered MSU as freshmen and 33 percent entered as transfer students. An additional 41 undergraduate 4-H alumni declared pre-veterinary as their major at the time of enrollment. Pre-veterinary undergraduate students that don’t go on to veterinary school are additional candidates for a CANR program.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources also offers certificate programs through its Institute of Agriculture Technology. There were 129 4-H alumni enrolled in a 2-yr Ag Tech program from 2010-13. These students are not counted in the chart shown above since they are not enrolled in an MSU undergraduate program.

This 4-H alumni data clearly show that MSU Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program builds science literacy, critical thinking skills and provides a gateway to STEM careers. Within 4-H programming, the STEM emphasis represents a broad range of disciplines (animal science, plant science, environmental and earth sciences, bioenergy, engineering, and technology) built upon hands-on learning and inquiry.  4-H is uniquely positioned to equip youth with the science knowledge and skills to regenerate the Michigan workforce. It also provides wonderful recruitment for MSU.

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources