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The 4-H Youth Futures College Within Reach Program, developed by the University of Missouri Extension/4-H Center for Youth Development and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, promotes college as an attainable goal for high school youth who are not typically encouraged to attend college, such as first-generation college students.

4-H Youth Futures is an extensive college orientation program that includes on-going local mentoring and a college orientation conference on the University of Missouri (MU) and Lincoln University (LU) campuses. The goal of the program is to help underserved youth go to college and stay in college. 4-H Youth Futures helps make college an achievable goal for underserved youth. The on-site campus experiences coupled with a caring adult (mentor) motivates youth and helps them navigate the many steps of getting into and staying in college.

A challenge confronting some underserved youth is parent lack of first-hand knowledge of the college experience. Some parents may be unable to help them directly with college tasks (Dennis, Phinney and Chuateco, 2005). Underserved youth may also lack important “college survival” skills in time management, budgeting, and interacting with large educational bureaucracies (Vargas, 2004). As a result, they may find the campus educational system confusing and intimidating. Because of these challenges many potential youth may not view college as a viable option. Or, once enrolled they may not experience support systems that help them achieve success. Although these skill and motivational challenges can be overcome, they make the transition to college more difficult. The Youth Futures Program addresses this and other hurdles to education post high school.

*Source: 2012 Abstract on Youth Futures by Alison Copeland

Youth Futures also is a part of the many elements that are contributing to assisting students to know about, and qualify for, the Land Grant Scholarships offered by MU.