Prospective First-Generation College Students: Meeting Their Needs Through Social Cognitive Career Theory

Gibbons & Shoffner, 2004 / American School Counselor Association / October 2004

male student with tool in hand

First-generation students, or students whose parents did not attend college, represent 27% of all graduating high school students. They have unique needs that separate them from other students and that must be addressed in counseling. This article examines how school and career counselors can help these students through the use of Social Cognitive Career Theory. This theory and its focus on self-efficacy, outcome expectations, barriers, and goals can help with career and academic decision-making. A case example working with a high school junior is provided as an example of how this theory can assist this population. Implications for future research and counseling strategies are suggested as well.