There isn't a "Barn" quite like the one at the University of Nebraska-Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis, Neb. It was the last stop for "Tour Saturday," the NCTA Open House held on April 2, 2011. As 65 visitors from Nebraska and four surrounding states relaxed in comfortable chairs and couches, Stephanie Nichols, NCTA Admissions Director, announced winners of door prizes and the winner of the $500 tuition certificate.
The "Barn" is actually the student union at NCTA, and it was the gathering place to begin and end the day of tours and information for prospective students and their parents. The day on campus gave those bound for college a chance to spend extra time in the department of their choice, meeting faculty, visiting with current students, and exploring the facility more extensively.
Nichols was very pleased with the format of the tour day and the information benefit it provided to prospective students and their parents.
"The "Tour Saturday" was very successful. More time in their selected department let them hear about the program in-depth; the curriculum, the expectations, and fees. There was more specific information, and so their questions could be more specific," said Nichols.
The four major areas of study at NCTA are Agriculture Production Systems, Agribusiness Management, Horticulture Systems and Veterinary Technology. Within each of these departments, the options to tailor an educational program to the interests and career goals of the student are quite extensive. Whether the focus is agronomy, livestock industry management, sports turf studies, or veterinary technology, opportunities can become available for internships. The programs offered may also be used toward transferring to a university.
NCTA leadership is devoted to the mission of revitalizing rural America. Equipping students with the academics and skills to start careers in agriculture is the first goal. NCTA's entrepreneurial programs such as the 100 Beef Cow Ownership Advantage, the 100 acres Farm Ownership Advantage, the Business Builder program or Combat Boots to Cowboys Boots can establish beginning farmers, ranchers or agribusiness people in true enterprises that give economical support to rural communities.
During the tour, NCTA professors planned interactive presentations for attending students. In the Vet Tech department, there was a demonstration with digital x-rays. In addition to extra time in a selected department, participants toured the entire campus which includes the dorms, cattle working facilities, feedlot, Vet Tech Hospital, the "Barn," Horticulture greenhouses, Livestock Training Center, the new building sites, and Ag Hall. Examples of campus life were shown through colorful photo displays set up to show how current students are involved in activities in the different departments.
Door prizes are always a drawing card for people, and the tour day wrapped up with drawing for the door prizes. NCTA hats and t-shirts started out the round of giveaways. Each student who had an application turned in with fees paid was put into the drawing for a $500 tuition certificate. The winner was Josi Arnold from Fleming, Colo. Arnold plans to study Veterinary Technology when she attends NCTA next fall.
"I like the vet tech program here and the hands-on work with animals," said Arnold. "I like the small rural school, because I am from a small town myself."
Another draw for her was the chance to participate in Collegiate FFA (Future Farmers of America), since she has actively participated in FFA through high school.
New student registration will begin soon, and plans for another "Tour Saturday" are still in the works. Prospective students and their families are welcome to arrange a visit to campus. The college website, NCTA.UNL.EDU, has a lot of information about the campus and a calendar of events.