Michigan 4-H State Awards: The application questions

State Awards recognize 4-H members for engaging in rich learning experiences that result in outstanding knowledge and life skill development. Be prepared to answer the application questions.

A Michigan 4-H State Award is the highest honor a 4-H member can earn. A 4-H State Award not only recognizes a member’s accomplishments, but the application process provides an educational experience as members reflect on their past 4-H experiences and prepare a professional application that highlights what they have learned. 4-H members who participate in the Michigan 4-H State Awards program will prepare an application that includes a cover letter, completed application questions and a 4-H story. All State Award applications must be submitted by Feb. 1 to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

This article will address writing responses to the application questions. There are previous Michigan State University Extension articles that provide tips for writing the cover letter and 4-H story. To get started, download a copy of the directions and application at the Michigan 4-H State Awards page. Be sure to download the correct application for the award you are applying—either the group award application or the individual award application.

Once your application is downloaded, begin by reviewing the application questions. Please note the group award application will request that the group write responses to some questions together and other questions should be answered by individual members. The individual application has options for junior applicants (13-15 years old) or senior applicants (16-19 years old). Junior applicants will answer four questions, while senior applicants will answer eight application questions. Following are the application questions by award division.

Junior applicants

  1. Choose four life skills from the Targeting Life Skills Model diagram (one from each of Head, Heart, Hands and Health) and describe how you have developed each life skill through your 4-H project.
  2. Identify up to four areas of content knowledge you have learned in your 4-H project and describe what you have learned and how you learned it.
  3. Identify up to three 4-H leadership experiences you have had and describe their significance to your personal growth and development.
  4. Identify up to three citizenship/community service experiences you have had and describe their significance to you and your community.

Senior applicants

  1. Choose four life skills from the Targeting Life Skills Model diagram (one from each of Head, Heart, Hands and Health) and describe how you have developed each life skill through your 4-H project.
  2. Describe how you have applied any life skill (from the diagram) in your 4-H project.
  3. Describe how you have applied any life skill (from the diagram) in life outside of 4-H.
  4. Identify up to four areas of content knowledge you have learned in your 4-H project and describe what you have learned and how you learned it.
  5. Describe how you have applied the knowledge you have learned (from one or more of the areas identified in question 4) to your 4-H project.
  6. Describe how you have applied knowledge you have learned in your 4-H project to life outside of 4-H.
  7. Identify up to three 4-H leadership experiences you have had and describe their significance to your personal growth and development.
  8. Identify up to three citizenship/community service experiences you have had and describe their significance to you and your community.

Group applicants

  1. Choose four life skills from the Targeting Life Skills Model diagram (one from each of Head, Heart, Hands and Health) and describe how your group has developed each life skill through your 4-H group experience.
  2. Describe how your group has applied any life skill (from the diagram) in your 4-H experience.
  3. Each representative of your group (300 words each)—Describe how you have or will apply skills learned in a team setting to a life situation outside of 4-H.
  4. Identify up to four areas of content knowledge your group learned in your 4-H project and describe what you have learned and how you learned it.
  5. Each representative of your group (300 words each)—Identify one 4-H leadership experience you have had and describe its significance to your person growth and development.
  6. Identify up to three 4-H citizenship and/or community service experiences your group has had and describe their significance to you, your group or your community.

If you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start when you look at the questions, here are some suggestions to help you complete and submit your 4-H State Award application on time.

  • Break the task into smaller parts; look at one question at a time instead of the entire application at once.
  • Create a personal timeline with specific times and deadlines dedicated to answer each question. Be sure your timeline includes blocks of time to finish any incomplete sections and time to proofread your complete document.
  • Revisit your past 4-H records. Reminiscing about your 4-H experiences may provide ideas to include in your application.
  • Have a brainstorming session. Record all ideas that come up; you will narrow down your list later. You can ask friends and 4-H leaders to help you brainstorm, but remember to write your answers in your own words. Two MSU Extension articles to help you brainstorm: “Three simple brainstorming tools” and “Brainstorming is divergent thinking.”
  • Each question indicates a word count limit. Use the tools in your word processing program to keep track of your word counts. Obviously, you do not want to go over the limit, but be aware of the length of your response. Providing a 100-word response to a question that allows up to 500 words will likely leave the judges underwhelmed.
  • Proofread and edit your application. It is strongly recommended to proofread silently as well as aloud; you will often locate different types of errors when you are speaking as you engage a different region of your brain. It is also a good idea to ask others to proofread as well. Again, the application should be written in your own words, so your proofreaders should be aiding you in identifying spelling and grammatical errors, not changing the content or meaning of your responses.

Look for additional MSU Extension articles that provide tips for completing a Michigan 4-H State Awards application, including:

Related Events

Related Articles

Related Resources