The college counseling dilemma: Information and/or advice?

Gorana Ilic, James E. Rosenbaum, Isabelle Matthies, Lynn Meissner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


College counseling has become an increasingly significant part of high school counselors’ jobs, but too often, they focus primarily on college access, without paying attention to whether students are choosing the appropriate college for them. Gorana Ilic, James Rosenbaum, Isabelle Matthies, and Lynn Meissner interviewed counselors to better understand their perceptions of their role and found that, while many made an effort to provide information about college options, they were reluctant to offer personalized advice. However, first-generation students from low-income families have fewer opportunities to receive specific advice from their families. Efforts to improve college-going rates, such as by having all students complete college applications, lead many counselors and students to turn to community colleges and other schools with low admissions standards, even if such schools are an “undermatch” for students’ actual capabilities. The authors suggest that counselors need to provide more individualized advice, while being aware of an array of college options, current labor market trends, and how bias may inform their recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-43
Number of pages4
JournalPhi Delta Kappan
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • access
  • college
  • community college
  • counselors
  • first-generation
  • guidance counselors
  • high school
  • higher education
  • low-income
  • undermatch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'The college counseling dilemma: Information and/or advice?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this