Middle Tennessee State University just ventured to nearby Williamson County for the second time, taking its True Blue Tour on the road to meet directly with prospective students and their parents Wednesday (Oct. 26) at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.

It’s also the second year of a dual enrollment partnership between MTSU and Williamson County Schools. And the relationship — Williamson students receiving both high school and college credit for courses they are taking — is a solid success.

Nearly 150 students and more than 300 people altogether attended the Franklin True Blue Tour event. Franklin and Williamson County marked the sixth stop on the tour as the university travels across the state and also to Atlanta, Huntsville, Alabama, and Bowling Green and Louisville, Kentucky.

Dual enrollment for MTSU and Williamson County has grown to 164 students in Year 2 after achieving 91 in the 2015-16 academic year, MTSU dual enrollment officials said.

Forty-eight Brentwood High School students are taking business management, programming and logic II and broadcasting classes.

“I think it has been incredibly successful,” said Michele Fuller, a Brentwood High counselor. “I think it will continue to grow. Students can get both college and high school credit. I would definitely encourage it (students taking dual enrollment).”
Dr. Charles Farmer, assistant superintendent for secondary schools in Williamson County and son of former MTSU accounting professor Larry Farmer, said the benefits of the MTSU classes “certainly focus specifically on giving opportunities they (students) may not have otherwise.”

“It’s a great opportunity for the kids who participate in college-level courses so they will be more successful when they walk onto your campus,” Farmer added.

Heather Fitzhugh, a counselor at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, said criminal justice, digital art and computer-aided engineering classes were offered in Year 1. Photography and engineering classes are offered this fall.

“We try to promote it,” Fitzhugh said. “It’s a great way for them to focus on areas of interest, ones they might want to pursue (as a career). They don’t have to commute; they get (college and high school) credit for class in our building.”

Independence senior Sarah Zakaria, 17, who has been accepted into the MTSU Honors College and plans to major in mechatronics engineering, spent one month this summer commuting to Murfreesboro for a dual enrollment chemistry class.

“It was great,” Zakaria said of the dual enrollment opportunity. “I was really intimidated at first. I was the youngest, but eventually all of them (other students) came to me for help.” She plans to apply for an Honors College Buchanan Fellowship (the top scholarship available) and her name was drawn for a $1,000 scholarship.

In all, 17 MTSU classes are available to students at Independence, Centennial, Ravenwood, Brentwood, Page, Franklin and Summit high schools.

MTSU dual enrollment coordinator Matt Hannah said there’s a growing interest from MTSU departments “on collaboration — bringing them to campus and making sure there is a connection (with MTSU) through a variety of hands-on events.”

To be eligible for the dual enrollment program, which is a part of the University College, students must:

• Be a high school junior or senior.
• Have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA of a minimum composite of 22 on the ACT or 1020 on the SAT, or equivalent ACT plan test score. To learn more, call 615-898-5246, email [email protected] or visit www.mtsu.edu/dualenrollment.

During the tour student receptions, McPhee, interim Provost Mark Byrnes, deans from the eight academic colleges, advisers, admissions and MT One Stop personnel and others answer questions and share information with attendees.

Up next for the 2016 True Blue Tour: MTSU travels Tuesday, Nov. 1, to Nashville for two events at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, 611 Commerce St. The student reception begins at 6:30 p.m. A luncheon for high school counselors begins at 11:30 that morning. To register, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php.