Feldpausch, J. A., Bir, C. L., Olynk Widmar, N. J., Zuelly, S. M., & Richart, B. T. (2019). Agricultural student perceptions of career success factors: Ranking attributes of collegiate experiences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(1), 234-267. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2019.01234


There is an ever-imminent need for career-ready graduates from collegiate agriculture programs. Generational shifts in attitudes and background experiences of agricultural students challenge educators to maintain curricular programming which establishes a successful career trajectory for students. Students studying animal science and/or agricultural economics were surveyed to understand their perception of how collegiate curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular experiences (coursework, club participation, relevant work, international experience, advising/mentoring, college life, and professional networking) contribute to their anticipated career success. A best-worst scaling experiment was used to force respondents to make tradeoffs between the collegiate experience attributes in a manner designed to be free of scale biases. Responses were related back to additional demographical and experience/perception characteristics of respondents through various approaches. Based on their responses, students solely in a pre-veterinary Animal Science curriculum represented a particularly interesting category of students regarding their beliefs and reported experiences. Students indicated relevant work experience was overwhelmingly the most critical of the 7 factors they were asked to evaluate. Further research should investigate possible disconnects between student perceptions and reality in higher education.

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