ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Reaches Record Enrollment

September 6th, 2012

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences undergraduate enrollment has reached record numbers. At 3,900 this fall's enrollment surpassed record enrollment set in 1977, when enrollment totaled 3,623.

The number of new students entering the college between 2005 and 2012 increased more than 46 percent. That's double the percentage of new students entering other agricultural colleges in the United States. The steady increase reflects the college's award-winning professors, quality programming and efforts to recruit students to fill the demand for graduates in agricultural and life sciences careers.

"We're thrilled to set this historic record, but more importantly we are fulfilling our mission to provide an educated work force that will fuel economic development in Iowa and the nation," said David Acker, associate dean for academic and global programs at Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The college's placement rate for graduating seniors was 97.6 percent for graduates surveyed between the fall of 2010 and summer of 2011. They were either employed, pursuing graduate degrees or serving in the military within six months after graduation. More than 70 percent of those graduates begin careers in Iowa.

"There's no question that the driving force behind our record enrollment is the demand for our great graduates," said Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "That demand has remained strong even during national economic downturns."

To fill the demand for graduates the college hosts two career fairs. The fall event is the largest agricultural career fair in the nation. More than 170 employers are signed up to attend the upcoming Oct. 16 event.

Students have 25 majors to choose from including traditional majors in agronomy, animal science, animal ecology, horticulture and forestry. The curriculum also reflects broader areas in agriculture, food, natural resources, science and business with majors in biology, culinary science, genetics, global resource systems, microbiology, dietetics and environmental science.

Daweyn Albertsen, a senior in animal science and president of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council, said the increased student enrollment has positively affected club membership and participation.

"Club memberships and activities have increased, which allows each club to better serve members by offering more events, such as industry tours," Albertsen said.

The college also set retention and graduation rate records within the university. Acker said that reflects the excellent teaching, advising, student clubs and judging teams within the college. Other indicators that have helped attract and retain students include:

- Offering close to $2 million in scholarships.
- Since 2005, seven faculty members have received U.S.D.A. national teaching awards.
- Last year more than 300 students participated in study abroad programs.
- More than 70 percent of incoming students participate in learning communities, which helps students network with peers who have similar academic interests.
- Award winning clubs that help student become outstanding leaders.


David Acker, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, (515) 294-6614,
Barb McBreen, Communications Service, (515) 294-0707,