The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Social Work: M.S.W


Social Work


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Sara Devos

Second Advisor

Eunsun Kwon

Third Advisor

Sarah Meisinger

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Counselors, Caseload, Role Confusion, Achievement Gap, Stressors, High-School


The purpose of this study was to investigate the perspectives of high-school counselors regarding their experiences with role confusion, caseload, and a lack of funding that in turn creates stress. This study also investigates the perceptions of high-school counselors with regards to how their work closes the achievement gap and their personal experiences that exemplify assisting students with their academics. The study used qualitative, semi-structured interviews to investigate the perceptions of high school counselors. Three counselors participated in the study through virtual technology. Their personal perceptions of how their caseloads as well as their experience with role confusion caused them stress in their work are presented. This study shows that all three counselors experienced stress due to caseload, and role confusion and also confirmed that these concepts are barriers that interfere with assisting students. This study also shows that all the counselors had examples and beliefs that they contribute to closing the achievement gap in which lack of funding contributes as a barrier for the work of counselors. This study suggests that additional research is necessary to better understand the issues of over-sized caseloads and role confusion in the human services community and also suggests similar studies be done with social workers.


I would like to express my appreciation for Dr. Sara Devos for her assistance throughout this study as well as her support, enthusiasm, and patience. The process has certainly been difficult throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and I sincerely appreciate the time and effort they put into me and this project. I could not have imagined having a better person to advise me throughout this process.

I also want to acknowledge the rest of my thesis committee: Dr. Eunsun Kwon, and Sara Meinsinger for consistently providing me feedback and assistance throughout the process of this study as well. The encouragement and resources are certainly what have helped me stay motivated and I could not have imagined a better team to help me through the process.