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4-Hers Get College Prep Tips During Discovery Days
Kansas Ag Connection - 06/10/2019

High school students from around Kansas learned valuable lessons in preparing for college during the annual 4-H Discovery Days, held on the Kansas State University campus.

The message was pretty consistent: get good grades, look for scholarship opportunities, get involved, and build your support network.

"I came to this session because I'm going to be a (college) freshman in the fall, and I have no preparation so far," said 18-year-old Jaden Reed, a member of the Jolly Workers 4-H Club in Stafford County, who attended a 60-minute course titled 'College Survival Guide.

"I thought it would be educational for preparing myself when I'm going to go to school. And I thought it was."

K-State admissions counselor Nicole Bartel, a 2018 college graduate, told the class of 36 Kansas 4-Hers that knowing what they are getting into makes a big difference in being successful in college.

"The expectations they will have might be a little different from high school," Bartel said. "They will have more freedom, but there comes a lot more responsibility with that."

Courses in preparing for college have been a staple at Discovery Days, which is now in its 95th year. It's also a core principal in 4-H, which helps youth develop life skills in such areas as leadership, responsibility, service and commitment.

"I'm not worried about not knowing what to do when I get into college because of things I learned in 4-H," said Owen Root, a 4-H member from Doniphan County who will attend Nebraska Wesleyan University in the fall.

He adds: "4-H has prepared me so much for life, in general. There are so many skills I wouldn't have if I had not been involved in 4-H."

Root and Riley County 4-Her Isabel Bond attended a session titled 'College Life and Success' in K-State's College of Business. Bond, who will go the community college route next fall, said that while her high school prepared her well, her 4-H experiences helped her develop confidence.

"When I was little, I was really shy," she said. "In 4-H, we had to give talks, and then I also became a 4-H ambassador. Those things brought me out of my shell. I'm comfortable talking in front of groups and sharing my story, because people want to hear how it impacted me and how it's going to help me long term."

Several other 4-Hers -- many of whom will become the first generation in their family to attend college -- took part in an 'Education Experience Camp' in which they were immersed in college-like experiences. They were given the opportunity to ask questions of students, faculty members and others who could give them an inside look at what it takes to achieve a college education.

In Bartel's class, students learned to manage their time. She led the group through an exercise in which they were forced to plan their weekly schedule, including classes, studying, exercise, sleep, work, clubs, social time and even time for hygiene.

"It may seem kind of strange to put meals, sleep and studying in your schedule, but I guarantee you'll want to do it," she told the students.

"As a first generation student myself, I didn't know anything about the college process" before beginning college five years ago, Bartel said. "Being able to say I learned it all, and here I am being able to teach students who maybe have or haven't gone through this process before, it's really rewarding to say, 'I was there and now I can help you.'"

There were 413 youth from 84 Kansas counties who attended 4-H Discovery Days this year, according to organizers. The courses in college preparation made up only a few of the more than 100 classes that 4-H members attended during the two-day event.

Learn more about opportunities available through Kansas 4-H at www.kansas4-h.org.

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