The need for trained, knowledgeable and competent people, for society’s development in recent years has transformed the products of higher education into essential commodities. In Ghana and all over the world, academic counselling has become vital to the education process, primarily due to its complementary role in optimizing students’ academic performance. University students today are however mostly confronted by personal concerns that hinder their attainment. This situation perturbs many stakeholders of education. Meanwhile, literature confirms the direct returns of counselling on students’ academic success, that also facilitates their certification for worthwhile employment and admission into higher education.
The current study accordingly adopted a phenomenological multiple case study design that aimed at exploring students’ experiences with the university academic counselling service, in three public institutions in Ghana. The emphasis on students’ lived experiences in this inquiry also endorsed the interpretive paradigm that guided the research. The research engaged a small sample of thirteen counselled students, comprising of both males and females, selected via the purposive, convenience and snowball sampling techniques. In-depth interviews and a focus group discussion facilitated data collection while the interpretive phenomenological approach was adopted for data analysis. Participants’ involvement in the study was purely voluntary as they provided written consents prior to their engagement. Gathered data from both sources were deeply triangulated to enhance data credibility.
The study generally confirmed the worthwhileness of counselling to students’ academic success though misconceptions hindered the facility’s wider participation among higher education students. Counsellor behaviours, including the physical appearance of institutional facilities equally hampered students’ counselling attendance while poor publicity of counselling services on campus was also deeply criticized by participants. To widen students’ counselling participation in the nearest future, current and aggressive advertising strategies were recommended and suggestiions to adopt more student-friendly activities were also proposed. It is also envisaged that the proposed counselling model would improve service quality for future higher education students both in Ghana and Africa on the whole.