Gatekeeping in an era of more open gates: High school counselors' views of their influence on students' college plans

James E. Rosenbaum, Shazia Rafiullah Miller, Melinda Scott Krei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

While counselors in the 1960s had authority to influence who applied to college, this study examines whether the role of counselors has changed in light of past criticisms of their role in channeling and the vast expansion of community colleges. In interviews with 27 counselors in eight highly different high schools, we find that counselors do not like giving students bad news about their future prospects, do not want the responsibility, and do not believe they have the authority to do it, especially when parents have opposing views. Instead, they advocate college for all and emphasize personal counseling, which allows them to avoid addressing unpleasant realities. That does not mean that students face no barriers in pursuing their goals but that counselors' unwillingness to act as gatekeepers can prevent students from getting the information and advice they need to prepare for their futures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-279
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Journal of Education
Volume104
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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