Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Donald Mitchell Jr., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Will Wells, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Mike Vetter, Ph.D.


This qualitative study explored the idea that high school counselors, acting as a form of social capital, could influence the postsecondary opportunities of low socioeconomic students. This study used case study design to analyze freshman academy counselors and their influence in the career pathway selection process to answer two research questions: 1) Using the knowledge available regarding college and career opportunities, how do freshman academy counselors influence low socioeconomic students’ career pathway selections? and 2) How do freshman academy counselors’ perceptions of college and career opportunities for low socioeconomic students influence low socioeconomic students’ career pathway selections? This study uses social capital theory, and the career academy rubric and theory of change from an urban school district as the theoretical framework. This study closes with a discussion of the findings and the implications of practice and future research.