Written by Dr. Richard H. Linton, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.
Nearly everywhere I go, it seems the conversation always includes concerns about student access or acceptance to a 4-year undergraduate degree – especially for kids from rural and farming communities. We hear this message loud and clear, and I want to let you know our college is fully committed to helping all qualified students find their path to CALS.
Paths to CALS
CALS is open for undergraduate students, and we are growing existing initiatives and developing new ones to help students access the college. We now have different paths to meet the needs of different students that are applying to CALS.
Traditional Freshman Admission
The most competitive path for students is traditional freshman admission. This past year, NC State received 26,000 applications – roughly 10,000 more than just six years ago. 14,748 – or 44 percent – were accepted to NC State. 40 percent of those accepted were from rural North Carolina, and 1,312 were accepted to CALS.
Demand for CALS grads is at an all-time high. In fact, we need to increase the number of graduates in our 4-year degree programs by 1.5-2 percent a year and add 90 students in our 2-year degree programs to meet the needs of our state. So what are we doing to help?
Spring Semester Admissions
We have been working with the university to create a new spring semester admission option. This provides students an agricultural gap experience the fall semester after high school graduation, with classes starting in the spring. The fall semester can also be used to gain work experience through an internship or to take classes at a local community college. Spring admissions will largely target our under-enrolled degree programs in the crop and soil sciences, horticulture, plant biology, poultry science and others.
Hands-on, 2-Year Degrees
We recognize not all students need or want a 4-year degree to start their career in agriculture. NC State’s highly acclaimed Agricultural Institute (AGI) provides career-ready students a hands-on technical education through a variety of 2-year associate degrees. Students benefit from direct access to the resources and opportunities of a major land-grant institution and still have the ability to transfer to our 4-year degree programs, if desired.
Community College Partnerships
We are expanding our community college partnerships – increasing the number of community colleges with 1+3 and 2+2 admissions paths to CALS. We provide personalized advising support for students while they are at community colleges to ensure a smooth transition to NC State.
The invitation-only STEAM program is also helping rural students realize their dream of attending NC State after completing all program requirements. We hear from many of our students, “It’s not important where you start, but where you finish,” and our transfer students finish strong – often out-performing many of our traditional 4-year students.
Preparing Future Students
Even with a holistic admissions process, ACT scores and GPAs matter. That’s why we created ASPIRE – ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education program, helping bridge deficits in rural high school students’ performance on the ACT College Entrance Examination. ASPIRE is offered in more than 25 counties, with scholarships available for participation. We also host a number of summer experience programs on campus and around the state.
Proud of our Land-grant Charter
Thanks to the support of our local, state and industry partners, we are honored to create and deliver the teaching, discovery and extension of knowledge our communities and stakeholders need to thrive and grow. We take pride in our work and are continually pushing to better our best.
Student access is the top priority for the university and our college, and we are working hard to help all qualified students find their path to CALS. You will be hearing more about our efforts through upcoming college communications, a new website coming soon, and student access activities across the state.
As always, we want to work with our alumni, friends and partners to help future students join the Pack. To learn more about these initiatives, call Tricia Buddin or John Dole at CALS Academic Programs at 919-515-2614.
Let’s get to work. Go Pack!
Dr. Richard H. Linton is dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State University. Prior to this role, Linton served as Department Chair of Food Science and Technology at the Ohio State University (2011-2012), and as a faculty member of the Department of Food Science at Purdue University (1994-2011). While at Purdue University, Linton also served as the Director (and founder) of the Center for Food Safety Engineering and as the Associate Director of Agricultural Research Programs.
As dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Linton leads a college of more than 325 faculty housed in 13 different departments, more than 2,500 undergraduate students and nearly 750 graduate students. Under his direction, the college has developed a new strategic plan that focuses on building people, programs, and partnerships. Collaboration with industry and government is critical to the mission of the college, and Linton’s dedication is demonstrated through the Plant Sciences Initiative and the Food Processing and Manufacturing Initiative, two endeavors that have the potential to create jobs, find solutions to global challenges in agriculture and foster support for local growers.
Linton earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, a Master’s Degree in Food Science, and a Doctorate in Food Science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.