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The School Counselor Caseload and the High School-to-College Pipeline

by Chenoa S. Woods & Thurston Domina - 2014

Background: Advising students on the transition from high school to college is a central part of school counselorsí professional responsibility. The American School Counselor Association recommends a school counselor caseload of 250 students; however, prior work yields inconclusive evidence on the relationship between school counseling and school-level counseling resources and studentsí college trajectories.

Focus of Study:This study evaluates the relationship between access to school counselors and several critical indicators of student transitions between high school and college.

Research Design: The study utilizes the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 to explore the relationships between the school counselor caseload and studentsí progress throughout the high school-to-college pipeline. The key indicator is the counselor caseload for students at a given high school, measured as the number of 10th graders per counselor at the high school at which each student is enrolled. The outcome variables are studentsí college expectations, whether students spoke with a counselor about college, taking the SAT, and college enrollment. Logistic and multinomial logistic regression analyses are applied to examine the relationships between these variables.

Findings: Students in schools with small counselor caseloads enjoy greater success at navigating the high school-to-college pipeline. Controlling for student- and school-level characteristics, students in schools where counselors are responsible for advising a large number of students are less likely to speak with a counselor about college, plan to attend college, take the SAT, and enroll in a four-year college.

Conclusions: The findings support the claim that a smaller school counselor caseload may increase studentsí access to key college preparation resources and raise four-year college enrollment rates.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 10, 2014, p. 1-30
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17600, Date Accessed: 7/30/2021 11:14:10 PM

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About the Author
  • Chenoa Woods
    University of California, Irvine
    E-mail Author
    CHENOA S. WOODS is a doctoral candidate in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. Her research explores how underrepresented minority students and students from low-income backgrounds prepare for the transition between high school and college within their social contexts.
  • Thurston Domina
    University of California, Irvine
    E-mail Author
    THURSTON DOMINA is an associate professor in the School of Education at the University of California, Irvine. His research pairs the demographic and economic empirical methods with sociological theory to better understand the relationship between education and social inequity in the contemporary United States. His most recent publication explores the relationships between merit aid programs and studentsí achievement and college trajectories.
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