The background and Experience Questionnaire (BEQ) was developed and administered to measure orientations of high school seniors toward either the adolescent or the adult culture. Both the type of behavior (TV viewing, reading, and activities) and the level of probable cognitive demands (high, medium, and low) were included in deriving the scores to measure orientations. Scores were also obtained to measure school interests, plans for the future, amount of study, part-time work, home background, and certain topics of thoughts and conversations. High-level scores were positively correlated with measures of academic aptitude, socioeconomic status, interest in academic school courses, and level of plans for the future. Low-level scores were either inversely related to or uncorrelated with these measures. The scores from the same level of probable cognitive demands had positive intercorrelations, whereas the high- and low-level scores had either negative or near zero correlations. Predictions about the relationships between experiences outside of the classroom and measures of intellectual development are derived from an interactionist point of view of cognitive growth. The potential of the BEQ as an educational counseling tool is discussed.