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Despite the increased number of students enrolled in agriculture and natural resources (ANR) colleges, a diminishing agricultural workforce creates a demand for non-traditional agriculture students. To fill the gap between workforce needs and ANR college graduates, new strategies must be developed to recruit students who have little or no connection to ANR. The purpose of this study was to identify the recruitment experiences influencing students with little knowledge or experience in ANR to enroll in a college of agriculture. Versatility of degree programs, interactions with faculty and institutional characteristics such as scholarships, faculty advising, student organizations and small-community atmosphere were identified as factors contributing to participants’ committed interests in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University. Participants suggested recruitment messaging focused on real world applications of degree programs and importance of atypical students within the discipline would have been influential to their transition into an atypical degree program. A major implication of this study is the need to address the exclusivity of the ANR industries as perceived by outsiders. Recruitment messaging should focus on inclusion by promoting the diversity of people and opportunities within agriculture and natural resources disciplines and careers.
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