College and Career Plans of Horse Oriented Youth; Life Skills and Academic Success of First Semester Agricultural Students with Previous Agriculture Organization Involvement

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Kenderdine, Sarah Elizabeth
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Middle Tennessee State University
A two-part study investigated college and career goals of horse-oriented youth and measured the effects of previous agricultural organization involvement on first semester agriculture students. Aim 1 used an online survey distributed via breed and discipline groups and social media to horse-interested youth (n=1,730). Aim 2 used an online survey distributed via the academic advisor to college freshmen at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Aim 1 showed most horse youth were interested in obtaining a career (64.5%), and a degree (53%) in the equine industry. Time spent participating in hands-on horse activities increased youth’s desire to obtain a horse-related degree, participate in collegiate horse activities, and seek an equine career. Aim 2 showed 52% of college freshmen at MTSU had previous agriculture organization involvement. Those students had higher GPAs (P = 0.0008) and scored higher on specific questions relating to persistence (P < 0.045).