Academic Profiles of Students in a College of Agriculture


  • Katherine McKee NC State University
  • Shep Stearns
  • John Dole
  • Jonathan Duggins



academic profile, ethnicity, nontraditional, out-of-state, success


This paper establishes a clearer picture of the demographics of a single cohort of undergraduate students that entered [State’s] College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) in the fall semester of 2013. We compared the demographics of the cohort with the overall population of [State] to determine how well the student population at CALS represents the state it serves. We found that female students, White students, and students from economically developed counties were over-represented in the cohort as compared to the general population of the state. Using descriptive statistics, we created academic profiles for student groups of interest. The comparisons we made between groups show evidence that male, Latinx, out-of-state, and nontraditional students have mean graduation rates which are troublingly low. This research can help to guide efforts at these institutions to more effectively develop resources to continue to facilitate success for student groups who are thriving and to better support those who are experiencing hardship. 


Download data is not yet available.



Allensworth, E. M., & Clark, K. (2020). High school GPAs and ACT scores as predictors of college completion: examining assumptions about consistency across high schools. Educational Researcher, 49(3), 198-211.

Alston, A. J., Roberts, R., & English, C. W. (2019). Building a sustainable agricultural career

pipeline: effective recruitment and retention practices used by colleges of agriculture in the United States. Journal of Research in Technical Careers, 3(2), 1-23

Archibeque-Engle, S., & Gloeckner, G. (2016). Comprehensive study of undergraduate student success at a Land Grant university college of agricultural sciences. NACTA Journal, 60 (4), 432-440.

Barkley, A. P., & Forst, J. J. (2004). The determinants of first-year academic performance in the

College of Agriculture at Kansas State University, 1990-1999. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 36(2), 437-448.

Buchanan, D. S. (2008). ASAS centennial paper: Animal science teaching: A century of

excellence. Journal of Animal Science, 86(12), 3640-3646.

Burk, S. V., Rossano, M. G., Silva, W. J., Vanzant, E. S., Pescatore, A. J., & Harmon, R. J. (2013). Factors associated with course withdrawal and final course grade in an introductory animal science course. NACTA Journal, 57(2):16-23.

Byun, S., Meece, J. S., & Irvin, J. S. (2012). Rural-nonrural disparities in postsecondary

educational attainment revisited. American Educational Research Journal, 49(3), 412-437.

Corley, E., Goodjoin, R., & York, S. (1991). Differences in grades and SAT scores among

minority college students from urban and rural environments. The High School Journal, 74(3), 173-177.

Dyer, J.E., Breja, L. M., & Wittier, P. S. (2002). Predictors of student retention in colleges of

agriculture. Retrieved from ERIC database (ED462290).

Gayles, J. (2012). Race, late bloomers and first-year GPA: Predicting beyond the freshman year.

Educational Research Quarterly, 36(1), 13-29.

Garton, B. L., Ball, A. L., & Dyer, J. E. (2002). The academic performance and retention of college of agriculture students. Journal of Agricultural Education, 43(1), 46-56.

Geiser, S., & Santelices, M. V. (2007). Validity of high-school grades in predicting student

success beyond the freshman year: High-school record vs. standardized tests as indicators of four-year college outcomes. Center for Studies in Higher Education.

George, K. M. (1978). A profile of agriculture students at Murray State University. Retrieved

from ERIC database (ED168794).

Gershenfeld, S., Hood, D. W., & Zhan, M. (2016). The role of first-semester GPA in predicting

graduation rates of underrepresented students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory and Practice, 17(4), 469-488.

Goings, R. B. (2016). (Re)defining the narrative. Adult Education Quarterly, 66(3), 237-253.

Lancaster, S. H., & Robinson, J. S. (2011). Factors associated with student success in an

introductory plant science course. NACTA Journal, 55(2), 26-31.

[State] Department of Commerce. (2020). 2020 [State] development tier.

Peffer, P.A.L. (2011). Demographics of an undergraduate animal sciences course and the influence of gender and major on course performance. NACTA Journal 55(1), 26-31.

Powell, L. A. (2017). Urban cowboys: Demographics confirm that agriculture and natural

resources recruiting plans cannot be one-size-fits-all. NACTA Journal, 61(2), 121-126.

Privitera, G. J. (2019). Research methods for the behavioral sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA:

Sage Publications.

Martin, M. J., & Wesolowski, D. (2018). Experiences of non-conventional agriculture majors

in a college of agriculture. NACTA Journal, 62(1), 11-15.

Maruyama, G. (2012). Assessing college readiness: should we be satisfied with ACT or other

threshold scores? Educational Researcher, 41(7), 252-261.

Nuñez, A., & Murakami-Ramalho, E. (2012). The demographic dividend. Academe, 98(1), 32-

Schudde, L., & Scott-Clayton, J. (2016). Pell grants as performance-based scholarships? An

examination of satisfactory academic progress requirements in the nation’s largest need-based aid program. Research in Higher Education, 57(8), 943-967.

Stephens, N. M., Fryberg, L. M., Markus, H. R., Johnson, C. R., & Covarrubias, R. (2012).

Unseen disadvantage: How American universities’ focus on independence undermines the academic performance of first-generation college students. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1178–1197.

Tinto, V. (1975). Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research.

Review of Educational Research, 45(1), 89-125.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition.

The University of Chicago Press.

Turner, P., & Thompson, E. (2014). College retention initiatives meeting the needs of millennial

freshmen students. College Student Journal, 48(1), 94-104.

Zahner, D., Ramsaran, L. M., & Steedle, J. T. (2014). Comparing alternatives in the prediction of

college success. Council for Aid to Education.

Zwick, R., & Himelfarb, I. (2011). The effect of high school socioeconomic status on the

predictive validity of SAT scores and high school grade point average. Journal of Educational Measurement, 48(2), 101-121.

Additional Files



How to Cite

McKee, K., Stearns, S., Dole, J., & Duggins, J. (2023). Academic Profiles of Students in a College of Agriculture. NACTA Journal, 67(1).