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College Advisor: Focus On Student Needs, Not Outside Noise

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
College Advisor: Focus On Student Needs, Not Outside Noise

While a group of state universities are joining forces to focus attention on the value of a four-year degree, other educators said Tennessee’s focus on career education and not pushing everyone to college is showing success.

Mixed messages? Confusion for students and parents? White County High School Advisor Suzanne Rushing said she tries to focus on individual wants and needs to cut through the noise.

“I don’t lean one way or the other,” Rushing said. “I look at that student, because I don’t want a student that is maybe more trade-focused that’s really good with their hands, they’re not going to thrive in a four-year classroom setting and vice-versa.”

Rushing said she acknowledged with Tennessee Promise two-year programs were receiving a lot of attention. She said that does not sway her when making recommendations to students.

“Right now, it does seem like with Tennessee Promise scholarship being available and those deadlines, I think that people are just more aware of that,” Rushing said. “It just kind of opened the door to more conversations with the two-year, but I think a four-year is equally valid. I think it just really depends on a student’s personal goals. Students need to look at what they want out of the college experience when considering those two options.”

Rushing said she was not concerned with students getting mixed messages from the competing programs.

“Education is the key,” Rushing said. “It’s finding out what the options are that are available. So, depending on the student, that really kind of determines what path they need to go. I think it’s a great thing in the state of Tennessee that we have several options whether that be TCAT or community college or the four-year option.”

Rushing said when she sits down with a student and their family education and communication is the most important factors.
Rushing said sitting down and breaking down a student’s wants and needs is the most important part about advising a student on what to do after high school.

“We have that conversation at the very beginning of the year,” Rushing said. “I meet with every senior, and I sit down with them and again just finding out what their passions are, what possible options that they have, things to consider while they’re looking and weighing the two-year community college or TCAT option versus the four-year and then just equipping them to make the best choices and to see where those doors open.”


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