Document Type

Master's Thesis

Graduation Year



Master of Science


Counseling Psychology

Program Director

Robin Gayle, PhD

First Reader

Carlos Molina, MFT, EdD

Second Reader

Mary McDevitt, MFT


This thesis offers an overview of how college students can be supported in the process of academic exploration. Rather than labeling students as simply declared or undeclared, degrees of decidedness are viewed as a spectrum. Within that continuum, certain sub-types of students are identified in order to uncover the causes behind specific issues commonly faced in the college student population. Select academic advising methodologies are reviewed, chosen for their pertinence to the activity of encouraging exploratory behavior in the academic realm. Theories discussed come from two varying perspectives: those based on philosophical foundations, and those based on social science foundations. To add to the range of ideas in the academic advising arena, three theories from the fields of psychology and sociology that do not currently appear in the academic advising literature and shed light on some obstacles to academic exploration faced by students, are discussed in the context of academic counseling. Fictional case studies demonstrate how the theories can be applied in the counseling session, and various interventions are discussed.