New collaboration increases CFAES enrollment

More students are pursuing agricultural-related majors at CFAES this year thanks to a new initiative committed to increasing interest in and enrollment of students interested in studying agriculture at Ohio State.

The Buckeye Agricultural Leaders Pathways (BALP) program aims to increase undergraduate CFAES enrollment by prioritizing early admission and scholarship notification and by making sure there is additional consideration in the application review of experiences and leadership opportunities afforded to students participating in FFA and Ohio 4-H youth development, as well as skills acquired in farming experiences, said Jill Hampshire, CFAES director of undergraduate recruitment and enrollment.

The university’s Office of Strategic Enrollment Management collaborated with CFAES to implement BALP last year with a goal to increase interest in agricultural-focused majors, many of which connect directly to STEM and foster a passion for science and technology, she said. Admitted students received enhanced communication from both the college and its departments and were invited to participate in robust visit opportunities showcasing the amazing hands-on learning that takes place in CFAES classrooms and its Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory.

The result? For first-year enrollment in the agriculture-related majors that were part of this pilot, CFAES experienced a 45% increase. Across the college overall, including programs not part of the pilot, CFAES saw a 16% increase in first-year enrollment.

“We are committed to ensuring that more young people across Ohio can attend our college and find a pathway into our workforce,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president of agricultural administration and CFAES dean.

Also this year, Ohio State joined the STARS (Small Town and Rural Students) College Network, a consortium of 16 national colleges and universities committed to helping rural students enroll in, succeed at, and graduate from the college of their choice. “CFAES will be supporting the efforts of Ohio State Undergraduate Admissions to carry out this charge,” Hampshire said.

The focus this first year will be on the 32 Ohio Appalachian counties where we see a significant number of first-generation students from economically distressed communities. Additional support on application completion and opportunities to visit campus will also take place throughout the fall, Hampshire said.

For more on BALP, contact Hampshire at For more information on the STARS College Network initiatives, contact Dan Pohl, Ohio State undergraduate admissions specialist, at