Below are some frequently-asked questions related to admissions in the genetic counseling program. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- One of my recommendation letter writers doesn’t want to submit their letter through the application system. Can they email or mail their letter?
Yes, we prefer recommenders to use the online system, but as an alternative they could email it to email@example.com or mail it to Gina Goettl, University of Minnesota Genetic Counseling Program, 321 Church St SE, 6-160 Jackson Hall, Minneapolis MN 55455.
- I am not a biology major. Can I still apply to the program?
Yes, absolutely! We have had students with all different kinds of majors, including journalism, public health, psychology, and music. The most important thing is that the prerequisites have been completed.
- I will not have completed all my prerequisites before the application deadline. Should I still apply?
Classes may currently be in progress - for grades received in December after the application deadline, forward a copy of your transcript on to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as grades are available. One remaining prerequisite may be completed in the spring semester if needed (the same year you intend to begin school in the fall). If your prerequisites are in progress, indicate “IP fall” or “IP spring” next to the class in the Genetic Counseling section of the application.
- Do you accept AP credit for the prerequisites?
Yes, one of your prerequisites may have AP credit. We will accept one AP course in either Psychology or Statistics.
- It is difficult to find shadowing opportunities in the area I live. Will my application still be competitive?
Yes, we recognize it can be difficult to find shadowing opportunities depending on your location. If you aren’t able to shadow, try speaking to a genetic counselor over the phone for an informational interview. Many genetic counselors are open to student contact – you can go to the NSGC website to find genetic counselors’ contact information. The NSGC website also has a link to the Master Genetic Counselor series, where you can watch a few simulated genetic counseling sessions: nsgc.org/p/cm/ld/fid=248. Another idea would be to visit friends or relatives who live in an area where there are more genetic counselors and see if you can shadow a GC while you’re visiting!
- Who should I get recommendation letters from?
It is always a good idea to get a letter from one or two professors who can attest to your academic ability. It can also be extremely helpful to get a letter from a work supervisor or the supervisor for your advocacy experience. Through the aggregation of all your recommendation letters, we are hoping to get a view of your academic abilities, ability to work in a helping setting, and other skills gained through work experience.
- For the prerequisites, how long does the class need to be? For example, do I need to a take a year of biochemistry? Where can the prerequisites be taken at?
We just require one semester for each prerequisite. The biochemistry course should be a dedicated course, not a survey or part of a molecular genetics class. The psychology and stats classes can be intro classes, and all of the prerequisites can be taken at any accredited institution (community college and online classes are acceptable). If you can get a transcript listing the class and the grade, we will accept it.
- How much advocacy experience do you require?
We do not have a requirement for the length of time you spend on your advocacy experience, but several months is very helpful – you want to have enough experience to relate it back to genetic counseling and the skills you need as a genetic counselor. Another reason having several months’ experience can be helpful is that your supervisor would know you well enough at that point to write you a letter of recommendation.
- I see the GRE has been waived for 2020 applicants. I have already taken the GRE, so should I send my scores anyway?
No. We will not include GREs in any way when making admissions decisions this year. If you submit GRE scores, we will remove them from the application before our admissions committee sees them. There is absolutely NO advantage to be gained by sharing your GRE scores with us, as no one reviewing applications will see them.
- I see the GRE has been waived for 2020 applicants. I have already sent my official GRE scores to the program. Will they still be considered? Do I need to do anything about this?
If you have already sent your GRE scores there is nothing you need to do. We will remove them from application materials before the admissions committee sees them. GRE scores will not make any impact on admissions decisions this year.
- How much shadowing should I get?
Depending on where you live, it may not be possible to shadow more than once. If it's possible, a half or full day of shadowing is helpful. Given COVID, we understand that many applicants will not be able to obtain shadowing experience. If that is the case, we suggest looking into the following resources online: the Master Genetic Counselor Series and the Global Genetics and Genomics Community case studies.
- How else can I learn about the program?
We have recently started holding group Zoom meetings every month for prospective students. This is an opportunity to learn about the program, the admissions process, and the genetic counseling field. There will be time for individual questions at the end of the meeting. To sign up, follow this link: https://umn.qualtrics.com/jfe/