Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Michael Bertoch


Michael Bertoch


Wes Morrill


Gene Oetting


Clyde Parker



The purpose of this study was to identify, implement, and evaluate a program of counseling intervention which could be described as preventative or developmental as opposed to remedial. An important consideration was the possibility of intervening with the student, the student's primary or associational groups, or the institutional groups that influence his behavior. A program of freshman orientation and career articulation was identified through institutional research, a review of literature, and the work of a student steering committee.


An experimental population of 100 and a control population of 100 were selected from the 1971-72 entering freshman class at Weber State College. The experimental subjects were assigned to small groups (9-15) with a group leader.

The experimental groups were then processed through a set of behaviorally defined steps with the goal of personalizing orientation and enabling them to determine a feasible career choice. A programmed rational decision-making model was used as the mode for articulating the career choice and establishing long-range plans for achieving that goal. This model required participation throughout this quarter.

The control subjects were processed through the traditional large group, auditorium orientation. This treatment consists of three sessions of some three to four hours in length. Various administrators present information on WSC policies and practices followed by a tour of the campus.

Main Findings

  1. The experimental small group process was preferred much more than the large group process and allowed students to feel that their individual needs were better met.

  2. Students in this experimental group also reported their treatment to be much more "helpful", "useful", and "informative."

  3. The time spent with experimental subjects exceeded the time spent with control subjects by 3 to 1, yet the experimental subjects indicated that the time spent was "about right" while control subjects reported their presentations were "too long".

  4. Experimental subjects reported that they were better informed about college services and policies than were control subjects.

  5. Attitudes of general satisfaction with the college as a whole were not significantly improved by the experimental treatment.

  6. Experimental subjects reported substantial gains over the control subjects in deciding a major or confirming previous plans and attributed these gains to their small group work with the decision-making model.

  7. After the experimental subjects were processed through the decision model they reported that they were more certain of their choice of major than were the control subjects.

  8. At the end of two quarters no statistically significant differences were determined about retention of subjects although approximately 16% more of the experimental subjects were still enrolled.


The review of literature presented a generally dismal picture as to the potential good to be derived from any orientation program. It was indicated that at best it may serve as a public relations function.

To the contrary, the data and experience from this study indicate that orientation may be much more meaningful to participants than previous evidence would indicate. Indeed, it is believed that the introduction of career selection through a rational, sound, and logical process probably strikes at the heart of what orientation could and possibly should be about.