ThroughCollege and BrainReactions conducted a study with the purpose to identify ways to innovate college guidance for high school students. Currently the ratio of over 400 high school students for every one school counselor leaves much opportunity for innovation of college guidance. This includes both incremental improvements to the way it is currently done and more innovative solutions which represent significant changes to how one experiences college guidance in schools. With advancements in technology and knowledge, there are new opportunities to improve college guidance for students, and this exploratory study sought those ideas.

Based on preliminary research, this study focused on the following topic areas:
1. Problems with college guidance for high school students.
2. What a remarkable college guidance system could feature.
3. How school counselors can increase the quantity and quality of college guidance.
4. What college guidance that doesn’t require a counselor could be like.
5. What non-profits or non-school organizations can do to help students with college guidance.
6. How the internet can be utilized for college guidance.

Study Methodology

In late 2007 a focus group and brainstorm were conducted on the topic of innovating college guidance counseling for high school students. This brainstorm included 7 different idea generators who shared their experiences, their ideas, and their own individual analysis with a survey after the session. The lead researcher made meaning of the ideas and individual analysis to identify best ideas for future practice and themes that were important based on the perspectives of the idea generator participants. Four of the participants are undergraduate students, two graduate students, and one recent alumnus. This session was conducted through BrainReactions, an organization that conducts professional brainstorm and innovation sessions with trained idea generators. The session generated approximately 500 ideas. There were six significant topic areas for the session. Results were synthesized with a summary of the themes and most important idea cluster areas for each topic and question.

With additional research it is hoped that the results of this study can provide ideas to enhance college guidance for high school students. You can find the complete report on the ThroughCollege Educator Resources page.

Author: Darin Eich, Ph.D.