Frequently Asked Questions

Aren’t ag classes for farmers?” – This might sound surprising, but agricultural science courses are not exclusively meant for farmers.  In fact, only a small percentage of agricultural courses consist of students from a farm background – the vast majority of students have no direct connection to farming.  It is a department policy that all ag classes have 100% relevance to 100% of students.  This means that no matter what your background and no matter what your future career may be, an agricultural course will be relevant to you personally.  Farming is only one aspect of agriculture.  Equally important are topics such as medicine, nutrition, environmental protection, economics, business, and technology.  If you take an agricultural course, you will learn topics that are important to your life, gain skills necessary for any job, and personally develop as an individual.

Do I have to join FFA if I take an agricultural course?” – the only reason you would have to join FFA is if you chose to.  Students in introductory Agriscience receive automatic membership in the FFA as part of the class but are not obligated to attend meetings or become involved unless they personally choose to.  While we would love to have you join the organization, FFA is a student organization that is separate from course assignments and obligations

How would an agricultural course help my grades?” – Your GPA can get a boost from an agricultural course in several different ways.  First, homework is rarely assigned in an agricultural course, meaning you will have more time available for other course obligations.  Secondly, agricultural courses reinforce topics in many other classes, enabling you to receive additional instruction in topics that students sometimes find challenging.  Student feedback confirms that the instruction in Agricultural Sciences helps with classes such as biology, economics, and chemistry. Finally, test taking and study strategies are specifically taught in all agricultural courses using the latest methods in education.  In other words, you are literally taught how to become a good student and do better on tests and assignments.

What kinds of students take an agricultural course?” – The short answer is that all kinds of students take agricultural courses.  However, these classes might be especially attractive to the following groups of students:

  • College-bound students: Agriscience is based on most of the concepts in the ACT Science exam. Department courses are designed to reflect a university atmosphere and specifically address how to succeed in college classes.
  • Students with an interest in medicine: whether you want to become a doctor, a veterinarian, or a nurse, many courses in Agricultural Sciences have a strong focus on health.
  • Students with an interest in a career in any branch of science
  • Students who like hands-on learning: “Learn by Doing” is one of the guiding principles of the department and almost every week includes a hands-on, inquiry-based lab.
  • Students who need extra assistance: all agricultural courses are designed to be inclusive.  All aspects of the courses, including deadlines, homework, and tests reflect a policy of student-centered instruction. If students complete their homework and adequately prepare for tests, they will most likely receive an A or a B.  Students who receive a grade lower than a B usually do so because of missing assignments or incomplete work.

How can there be no homework for these classes?” – Well, there might be some homework, but it is true that homework is very rare.  Instruction in Agricultural Sciences depends on very new and breaking methods in teaching and instruction.  Because of effectiveness in the classroom, additional work outside of the classroom is usually not necessary.  Furthermore, many of the concepts in agricultural courses are at the college-level, meaning that an instructor is needed to guide students through what are often challenging topics.  Finally, homework only helps the students who actually complete the homework; by not having homework, it places extra pressure on the instructor to utilize classroom time as efficiently as possible while reducing the workload outside of the classroom for students and the instructor alike.  This does not mean that the breadth of topics is minimal.

Are there scholarship opportunities available?” – Scholarship opportunities are abundant for senior high school students who are enrolled in agricultural courses, are members of the FFA, and/or intend to pursue a career in an agricultural or bioscience field.  Scholarships are most widely available for members of the FFA, which provides tens of millions of dollars in scholarships at the local, state, and national level. See Mr. Fairfield for scholarship opportunities.

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