A study of counseling services in selected small colleges

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The purposes of the study were: (1) to investigate the characteristics of counseling services in small colleges; (2) to determine if counseling services at church-related colleges differed from those at other small colleges; (3) to determine whether formal counseling services were deemed necessary for small colleges to meet the needs usually met by counseling services at larger universities, as perceived by faculty members and students.

The Counseling Services Survey (CSS) instrument was adapted from standard instruments and sent to the chief student personnel administrator at each college holding membership in The Council for the Advancement of Small Colleges. Eighty-seven CSS instruments were returned, nineteen from Roman Catholic Colleges, forty-four from Protestant colleges, and twenty-four from independent colleges. CSS responses were compared to answer research questions regarding the existence, specific services, and operation of counseling services in these colleges.

The Perceptions of Counseling Services (PCS) form was designed as an instrument for finding the perceptions by students, faculty, counselors, and administrator, regarding the availability, quality, and source of counseling for seven general problem areas. Thirty-seven CSS respondents administered the PCS in their colleges, twenty-nine of which had formal counseling services, and eight of which did not have formal counseling services.

Results from the CSS study indicated that, with several minor variations on specific services, the existence of a formal counseling service along with its services and operation were not a function of institutional affiliation. Results from the PCS study showed that students and faculty members at colleges with formal counseling services generally perceived help for various problems to be available and to be of high quality more frequently than did respondents from colleges without formal counseling services. Also, counselors and administrators more frequently perceived most types of counseling help to be available and to be of high quality than did students and faculty members.