Rural Student Career Development: Examining Between-Group Differences in Self-Efficacy and Outcome Expectation

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Virginia Tech


Career development is a component of the work of both school counselors and counselor educators. A review of the literature found no existing comparison of between-rural differences in career self-efficacy and college outcome expectation when considering students from rural fringe, rural distant, and rural remote communities. Utilizing Social Cognitive Career Theory and Critical Pedagogy of Place as guiding theoretical frameworks, this study sought to examine between-rural differences in self-efficacy and outcome expectation. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze data collected from rural college students attending a large Appalachian research university. Regression and path analysis were used to make causal inferences from the data. The mixed-method exploratory study utilized a convergent design where qualitative data was concurrently collected and analyzed to provide context to the quantitative findings. The findings show that while no statistically significant between-group differences existed with outcome expectation, rural remote students had lower self-efficacy scores than other rural students, particularly relating to social skills. Large group social skills and social adjustment to college could be valuable areas of intervention for school counselors and higher education administrators looking to improve college outcomes for rural remote students.



Rural, Career Development, Social Cognitive Career Theory, Counselor Education, School Counselor, Student Affairs