Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Counselor Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Suzanne Dugger

Second Advisor

Amanda Winburn

Third Advisor

Phillis George

Relational Format



National emphasis on postsecondary education highlights the importance of studies that investigate students’ college and career readiness, specifically how self-efficacy and contextual factors may affect their postsecondary aspirations. The primary purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the influence of perceived barriers, perceived social support, and career decision-making self-efficacy on high school juniors’ and seniors’ postsecondary plans. High school juniors and seniors (n = 124) were surveyed to determine the influence of three predictors on their short-term and long-term postsecondary plans. The first predictor, perceptions of educational barriers, consisted of the following barrier groups: efficacy and motivation, support system, personal relationships, lifestyle, program choice, discrimination, financial, and marriage. The second predictor included perceptions of different sources of social support from family, friends, and school. The third predictor was career decision-making self-efficacy, which included five components: self-appraisal, goal selection, occupational information, problem solving, and planning. Predictors were examined using the My Perceptions of Barriers Scale (MPB), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), and the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Scale-Short Form (CDSE-SF). The influence of the predictor variables on postsecondary plans was examined using a multinomial logistic regression. The researcher found that support system and marriage barriers had a significant influence on students’ short-term postsecondary plans when choosing college or university versus undecided or other. Support system barriers also had a significant influence on students’ long-term plans when choosing undecided or other versus college or university student or graduate. Results also showed that friend-based social support was a significant predictor of students’ choice to attend college after high school and in viewing themselves as college students or graduates within three to five years. Analysis of students’ confidence in career decision-making revealed that occupational information was a significant predictor of students’ plans when choosing to attend and graduate college versus being undecided or choosing other plans. Additionally, planning was a significant predictor of students’ plans to attend college immediately after high school graduation. The implications of these findings are intended to assist school counselors with providing support to students with postsecondary planning.



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