School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Mary Deacon


College and Career Readiness, Academic Self-efficacy, Academic Outcome Expectations, Teacher Support, Institutional Support, Social Cognitive Career Theory


Counseling | Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


While college and career readiness benchmarks were created to provide evidence that a student is academically ready to succeed in a post-secondary educational setting, many high school graduates do not reach these academic benchmarks, and of students who go on to college, many do not complete their bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, current college and career readiness markers neglect to consider non-academic factors despite research suggesting that psychosocial factors strongly influence readiness beyond academic performance. The literature supports the premise that other powerful forces, namely social-cognitive factors also shape learning and performance, which in turn shapes academic and career outcomes. Self-efficacy emerged as an important social-cognitive factor which can influence academic readiness and by extension, college and career readiness as it affects the ability to adapt and meet varying academic demands and is a key construct in career identity development and interest development. To address this gap, this quantitative study used a modified model of Social Cognitive Career Theory to examine the influence of the learning environment on the academic self-efficacy beliefs, academic outcome expectations, and academic interest of undergraduate college students. The primary research focus was to study the relationship of the students’ perceptions about the level of teacher and institutional support to their beliefs about their ability to complete academic tasks, expected outcomes, and academic interests or persistence. Data was collected from 158 undergraduate college students to answer the research questions. The results of the study found that academic interest was statistically significant in mean between upper and underclassman undergraduate college students. Teacher support explained a significant amount of variance in academic self-efficacy and academic outcome expectations. Additionally, academic self-efficacy and academic outcome expectations were correlated. Institutional support explained a significant amount of variance in academic outcome expectations, and academic outcome expectations explained a significant amount of variance in academic interest. Finally, no relationship was observed between institutional support to academic self-efficacy nor between academic self-efficacy and academic interest. Implications, limitations, and further research recommendations are discussed for school counselors, teachers, administrators, and counselor educators as they relate to addressing the college and career readiness needs of the student.