Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education

First Advisor

Johnson, Ane Turner

Second Advisor

Pulliam, Nicole

Third Advisor

Sisco, Burton


Educational counseling; First-generation college students


Higher Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


Financial security is cited among reasons why first-generation college students pursue higher education (Bradbury & Mather, 2009; Brooks-Terry, 1988; Shelton, 2011; Walpole, 2003), but the emphasis on perceived value of a bachelor's degree fails to account for the importance of career planning (NACE, 2014; Parks-Yancy, 2012). The purpose of this qualitative, grounded theory study was to examine how career counselors use their personal experience to support first-generation college student. The study was inspired by Knox and Hill's (2003) therapist self-disclosure types and their use in the counselor/client discourse. The findings suggest that first-generation college students benefit from hearing their career counselors' stories, particularly in the context of choosing a major and planning for a career. Further, in examining the findings within broader social theoretical constructs (Glaser, 2005), the themes that emerged from the data have the potential to inform a theory of career development that places counselor self-disclosure at its core.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 18, 2020