Recruitment of Non-traditional Students to Agricultural Degrees



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The future of agriculture will be determined by the ability of post-secondary institutions recruitment of non-traditional agricultural students to agricultural degrees. Only 1.3% of the U. S. population holds direct on-farm employment. As the population slowly becomes disconnected from traditional agricultural lifestyles, the challenge will be identifying new types of students to pursue agricultural degrees. This study determined influential factors experienced by non-traditional agricultural students during decisions to enroll in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at West Texas A&M University. Participants in this study had no knowledge or experience in agriculture prior to enrollment in a post-secondary agricultural department. Factors contributing to enrollment in an agricultural degree include support from significant persons, friendly faculty and staff, hands-on learning experiences, and career opportunities in agricultural sectors. Participants recommended recruitment efforts target inclusivity of non-traditional students by highlighting potential agricultural careers and resources available to non-traditional students. Implications from this study suggest recruitment materials and messages be revisited to promote diversity and inclusion in agricultural degrees.



Qualitative, Recruitment, Phenomenology, Agriculture


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