STEAM Program at North Carolina State University Opens Doors to Success

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STEAM Project

A new program is opening doors for more potential students to attend the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at North Carolina State University.

The school’s 2014 admissions cycle marked the third consecutive year with more than 20,000 applicants – more than double the amount of applications received 20 years ago. With expanding applicant pools and finite admissions slots, admissions standards have become more rigorous. The average student admitted to CALS in 2014 had a mean SAT score (math and critical reading) of 1226, a high school grade point average of 4.40 and likely ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. As a result, CALS only accepted 46.4 percent of applicants – and only 43.9 percent of ag-related majors. Many qualified students were either deferred or denied.

That’s where STEAM comes in. Launched in spring 2013, the Student Transfer Enrollment Advising & Mentoring program was developed to provide an alternative pathway for freshmen applicants interested in ag-related majors. STEAM reflects CALS’s commitment to the land-grant tradition, giving qualified students an opportunity for guaranteed admission to N.C. State. After completing the program requirements, students will be able to gain admission to an ag-related major in CALS.

“STEAM reflects our belief that while the journey is important, the destination is the goal,” says Dr. Sam Pardue, CALS associate dean and academic programs director.

How does it work? In April, 95 CALS applicants interested in agriculture were invited to participate in the second STEAM class. Through the program, STEAM participants have the opportunity to enroll in summer classes at N.C. State, where they receive a student ID and email address, live on campus, and take two courses that will transfer into their intended CALS major. During the summer, they receive academic advising and a personalized program of study.

Following the summer session, STEAM students will attend their local community college for one year. During the fall and spring semesters, they will return to N.C. State for a STEAM Weekend Experience, which includes service projects, academic advising and attending athletic events. STEAM students with a 3.0 GPA or higher and 30 or more transferable hours will be guaranteed admission to a CALS ag-related major the following fall.

“STEAM was an amazing experience,” says one STEAM participant. “It was a great opportunity to get a feel for NCSU and get a taste of college life. I feel like it prepared me to have a successful freshman year, and I cannot wait to come back as a member of the Pack!”

STEAM is supported in part by The Golden LEAF Foundation, The Gordon Family Farm to Philanthropy Endowment and CALS. For more information, visit harvest.cals.ncsu.edu/steam.

– Jessy Yancey

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