Michigan 4-H pre-college programs help youth discover and dream

Michigan 4-H provides developmentally appropriate programs and opportunities for youth throughout every stage of their pre-college life.

The Positive Development of Youth: Comprehensive Findings from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development,” a study complied by Tufts University, found higher academic competence in seventh, ninth, 11th and 12th grades when comparing 4-H participants to youth who engaged in other out of school activities. Additionally, the same study found that 4-Hers in 11th and 12th grade reported higher school engagement when compared to youth in other programs.

In fall 2015, the Digest of Education Statistics estimated that 20.2 million students were expected to attend a U.S. college or university – an increase of about 4.9 million since 2000. Additionally, “The Rising Cost of Not Going to College,” a study by the Pew Research Center, found that a college education today is worth more for Millennials than with previous generations.

A Center for Public Education study found that it’s not necessarily harder to get into college today than it was 10 years ago. The difference today is an increase in the number of applications each student completes, which causes a decrease in the overall acceptance rates. College Board, a non-profit that aims to help connect students with “college success and opportunity,” notes that when it comes to the role extracurricular activities play in college admission decisions, exhibiting a commitment to a specific organization or activity over the long term, highlighting leadership skills and noting activities that relate to the applicant’s study or career goals are all positives. Janet Lavin Rapelye, Princeton’s Dean of Admissions, supports similar engagement, saying in an article from “The Choice” by The New York Times, “…we recommend that students follow their individual interests in the special talents they want to develop in the visual and performing arts, athletics, leadership activities, and that they engage themselves civically.”

Michigan State University Extension 4-H is one such extracurricular activity that provides developmentally appropriate programs and opportunities for youth throughout every stage of their pre-college life. Many of Michigan 4-H’s statewide events are considered by MSU to be “pre-college programs.” This means these programs are designed for pre-college aged youth, are coordinated and facilitated by MSU faculty/staff, are intense in there level of content and intentionally expose student to possible career paths and opportunities for educational study.

About 72 percent of youth who participated in MSU pre-college programs were admitted to MSU upon application in 2014. The youth who participate in these programs get to meet expert practitioners and faculty members, engage in higher-level thinking about communities and complex issues and have the opportunity to explore possibilities for their future. Special scholarships are offered to youth that participate in pre-college programs to support their goals through attending college, and event coordinators encourage youth to take positive risks and dream big.

For more information on the Michigan 4-H pre-college programs, visit the Pre-College Programs and Resources page

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