Educator perspectives on school counselor advocacy as it relates to the college access of underrepresented students Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Schaeffer, Kelly
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Research indicates that minority students, economically disadvantaged students, and first-generation students are underrepresented in four-year colleges and universities. Literature encourages school counselors to act as advocates in their schools while addressing issues of inequity which include the college access of underrepresented groups of students. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the practice of high school counselor advocacy as it relates specifically to increasing access for students traditionally underrepresented in four-year colleges and universities. While theoretical literature encourages the practice of advocacy in schools, little research has been conducted that examines school counselor advocacy within this context. Twelve school counselors, three school administrators, and four mathematics teachers were interviewed regarding their perspectives on school counselor advocacy. The initial presentation of the data utilized the research questions along with the Advocacy Competencies for Professional School Counselors. The research questions defined advocacy, described advocacy behaviors, and identified factors that impact the use of advocacy within this context. In addition, the advocacy competencies of dispositions, knowledge, and skills were utilized to gain a deeper understanding of the data. Participants defined advocacy by emphasizing the importance of empathy, a parental role, and an ethical disposition. Advocacy behaviors that were described included utilizing the two-year college, along with the skills of communication, collaboration, the use of data, family empowerment, and systemic change. Finally, the participants identified relevant advocacy factors such as the school counselor's background, school counselor complacency, student ability, family barriers, role confusion, and district and state barriers. Context was identified as a necessary addition to the advocacy competencies. School counselor advocacy was also examined within the context of the current state of education. Recommendations include the recruitment of potential school counselors that possess a disposition for advocacy and leadership along with graduate education and professional development in these areas. In addition, practicing school counselors can develop comprehensive school counseling programs that emphasize advocacy and equity for all students while promoting college access for underrepresented groups of students.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Akos, Patrick
  • Open access

This work has no parents.