This signature MSU precollege program brings youth ages 11-19 to the campus of Michigan State University to live like a college student for three days and build critical life skills for the transition to college and adulthood.

June 24-26, 2020
Michigan State University

This fun MSU pre-college program could be the highlight of your summer - it could even change your life! About 2,500 youth (ages 11-19) and chaperones from across Michigan attend annually.

4-H Exploration Days registration goes from mid-March through April with session assignments made on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration deadlines, usually the end of April, but can vary by county, so check with your county MSU Extension office. As you select your session choices, be sure to watch for age restrictions! Age requirements for sessions are based on your age as of January 1.


Registration is now closed for 2019. 

2019 registration book

2019 forms


Activity Guide

The 2019 Activity Guide Is now available! 

The Activity Guide includes a campus map centerfold and lists where and when all sessions and other activities are being held during the event. Each participant receives a copy at check-in or you can download an app to have the activity guide easily accessible on your phone. Look for directions on downloading the app in the web version of the activity guide above.

Campus Map

Addresses for the MSU dorms 
Akers Hall- 908 Akers Road, East Lansing 48825
Holmes Hall- 919 East Shaw Lane, East Lansing 48825
Hubbard Hall- 964 Hubbard East Lansing 48825


ED Sparty w Welcome Sign

This MSU pre-college program is designed to:


  • Increase responsibility, confidence, independence, accountability, problem-solving, decision-making and time management skills.
  • Increase communication, team work, citizenship, and leadership skills.
  • Foster ability to meet new people and make new friends from different places and backgrounds.
  • Develop and expand career and personal interests.
  • Increase college exploration and access to the Michigan State University campus and its resources.
  • Develop social and academic skills needed for a successful transition to college and life as an adult.
  • Give youth opportunities to try things that aren’t available in their county.

Learn more by reviewing the one-page 2017 Impact Summary.

What’s it like?

  • There’ll be more than 200 session choices held on and off campus. You’ll choose one or two for your three-day stay.
  • You’ll live in a Michigan State University dorm and eat in the cafeteria—just like MSU students do.
  • Sessions are taught by people who know their stuff, including MSU faculty members, 4-H volunteers and staff members and other experts.
  • It’s not all sessions! There’s plenty of time for fun, including swimming, skating, souvenir shopping, exploring, bowling, basketball—even a great dance Thursday night.
  • The 2019 cost is $220.00. There is an additional $20 4-H participation fee for youth not yet enrolled in 4-H. The fee includes meals, a shared room in a dorm, sessions and a t-shirt. You may wish to check with your county MSU Extension office to see if scholarship funds are available.
  • Registration opens Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 9:00am. Registration books that show all of the sessions and details on everything happening during Exploration Days will be available online and from county Extension offices early March.
  • Registration deadlines (usually the end of April) vary by county, so check with your county MSU Extension office. Don’t wait until the deadline though, because popular sessions fill up fast!
  • Contact the 4-H staff in your county MSU Extension officefor more information on 4-H Exploration Days, and any specific details pertaining to your county’s delegation.

How to Enroll (Registration is now closed for 2019).

Youth must be age 11 by January 1 in order to attend.  All participants must submit their forms and payments to the county MSU Extension office (forms are at the back of the registration book).

If you need to obtain contact information of your county 4-H staff, visit: and click on your county name. The county 4-H staff there will process your registration and payment with the State MSU Extension/4-H office. County 4-H staff manage the recruitment, chaperone and orientation process.

For Parents and Volunteers

Each year participant evaluation responses are overwhelmingly positive. Many parents and 4-H volunteers notice improvements in their children’s interest, knowledge and social skills after they attend 4-H Exploration Days. Participants often return to MSU as students due to the positive experiences they’ve had during 4-H Exploration Days.

All adults who attend 4-H Exploration Days will serve as a session host, activity host, instructor, session helper or county conference assistant; in addition to any role held as a staff member or volunteer chaperone for a county delegation. There must be at least one chaperone for every 10 youths of the same gender. 

Volunteer instructors, session helpers and county conference assistants attend the event at no cost. County-based MSU Extension staff who serve as session instructors or CCAs will receive full scholarships; county staff who serve as session helpers will receive $80 scholarships.

Video and Podcast Previews of the Event

Related Programs

For information about the pre-college programs offered at MSU, please visit Spartan Youth Programs at You’ll find a multitude of programs that can help you develop valuable skills, make new friends and taste college life.


For information regarding registration, scholarship support, housing and orientation, contact the MSU Extension 4-H staff in the county where you live. 

For general information regarding 4-H Exploration Days, contact:

Laura Potter-Niesen, Educational Programs Event Coordinator
Phone: 517-432-2963
Fax: 517-353-4846

4-H Youth Development
Michigan State University Extension
446 W. Circle Dr., Rm. 240
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
East Lansing, MI  48824-1039

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