Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5534-4092

Defense Date

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kaprea Johnson

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Bambacus

Third Advisor

Donna Dockery

Fourth Advisor

Philip Gnilka

Abstract

School counselors design and implement comprehensive school counseling programs to support students’ academic, college and career, and personal/social development (ASCA, 2019). This includes the school counselor’s important role in college readiness counseling and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) counseling (Falco, 2017; Gilfillan, 2018). The current study focused on the relationships between access to school counseling and students’ long-term college readiness outcomes. Through a Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent et al., 1994) lens, two models to predict (1) college attainment and persistence and (2) STEM major attainment and persistence, were tested through logistic regression analyses. Additionally, this study also investigated how student demographic information is related to opportunity for college readiness counseling through access to school counseling, utilizing chi-square tests of independence and logistic regression analyses. A nationally representative sample (NCES, 2020a) provided data on school counseling access (i.e., school counselor caseload and school counselor percentage of time spent college readiness counseling), student-level variables (i.e., demographics, self-efficacy variables), and college and STEM-specific outcomes.

Findings indicate that school counselor percentage of time spent college readiness counseling, in addition to student socioeconomic status and identifying as multiracial, were predictive of college attainment and persistence, three years post-high school graduation. Students who had a school counselor who spent at least the national average of 21% or more time college readiness counseling had increased odds of persisting in higher education or attaining a degree. Results also indicated that school counselor percentage of time spent college readiness counseling, in addition to gender, Asian and Hispanic race and ethnicity identification, math self-efficacy, science self-efficacy, and high school STEM grade point average, were predictive of STEM major attainment and persistence. Students who had a school counselor who spent 21% or more time college readiness counseling had increased odds of persisting in a STEM major or attaining a STEM degree. Additionally, analyses suggested there are inequities in students’ access to school counseling; results indicated differences in school counselor caseload and percentage of time spent college readiness counseling by students’ SES, racial and ethnic identity, and first-generation status. The results of the current study offer practice, policy, and training implications for school counselors, counselor educators, and future researchers.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

12-3-2020

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