Thesis Title

The Counseling Challenge: Balancing Student Interests with Societal Pressures

Graduation Date

Summer 2011

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madeliene Peters, EdD


High school counselors, as determined by the literature and this study, are not successfully encouraging their students to follow their aspirations and take important post high school risks. Teachers and staff alike are responsible for educating students about all the possibilities for their varying futures. In discussing with students their opportunities after high school, counselors may focus on standard recommendations with the goal of having students qualify for a four-year university. Student interests may not be consistent with standard options that counselors may suggest.

Students who do not get proper guidance based on their interests and talents are left feeling stuck in someone else’s educational or vocational path. The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of counselor objective guidance regarding students’ post high school lives. The literature review reveals that high school counseling practices need to be upgraded to better fit the needs and interests of today’s students.

A qualitative approach to gathering data was used in this research, using a case study of the counseling opportunities available in a local high school in a suburban Northern California community. Results indicated that students need more effective counseling that better meets their needs in regards to both their interests and talents in planning their post high school education and career options.

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