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KT123

Genetic Counseling Fall 2017 Applicants

1,626 posts in this topic

Hey guys I thought it would be good to start a thread for people applying for genetic counseling school for Fall 2017. I am starting to prepare for the GRE and the supplemental materials of the application since I will be in the midst of finals when applications are due. I would love to talk to more people about genetic counseling school who are also applying or have applied previously. I am just now getting a list of programs that I want to apply to, which includes: Northwestern University, Emory University, University of South Carolina, Stanford University, CSU Stanislaus, Boston University, University of Michigan, and UT Houston. 

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Hi! Ill be applying for fall 2017. I've taken the GRE, but signed up again to improve my scores. I have a rough draft of my personal statement and a good idea of who I'll ask for my letter of recs. I'm looking into: UC Denver, Utah, CSU Stanilaus, Stanford, UC Irvine, UT Houston, and Arizona (they're in the works of opening a program with Fall 2017 being the first class). This will be my first time applying, I attend the University of Arizona and will have a BS in Moleculae & Cellular Biology when I graduate.

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Hey everyone! I applied last year and will be attending the UT program (I also applied to UPitt, CSU, UC Irvine, Brandeis, Sarah Lawrence and VCU). I just wanted to offer to answer any questions 2017 applicants have. There's certainly a few things that I would've done differently!

Edited by UTGC
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On 6/13/2016 at 0:29 PM, UTGC said:

Hey everyone! I applied last year and will be attending the UT program (I also applied to UPitt, CSU, UC Irvine, Brandeis, Sarah Lawrence and VCU). I just wanted to offer to answer any questions 2017 applicants have. There's certainly a few things that I would've done differently!

Ohh! I am really interested in UT! As I already noted, I am planning on applying to a few other places that you applied to as well. 

My most prevalent question is when did you first see applications opening up? I am gonna have a pretty busy semester, so I want to get a head start on applications so I'm not waiting until the last minute on them. I'll probably ask you questions about the interview process and etc when that comes closer. Also, what kind of approach did you take for your personal statement? I've start and mine's eh so far. I want to include information about my Patient Advocacy internship, but since it doesn't start until fall, I don't have much to say at the moment. 

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On 6/15/2016 at 7:51 PM, slaybackc said:

Ohh! I am really interested in UT! As I already noted, I am planning on applying to a few other places that you applied to as well. 

My most prevalent question is when did you first see applications opening up? I am gonna have a pretty busy semester, so I want to get a head start on applications so I'm not waiting until the last minute on them. I'll probably ask you questions about the interview process and etc when that comes closer. Also, what kind of approach did you take for your personal statement? I've start and mine's eh so far. I want to include information about my Patient Advocacy internship, but since it doesn't start until fall, I don't have much to say at the moment. 

I think I started seeing applications open up maybe around August, though it's tough to remember exactly. Just keep checking starting towards the end of summer!

What I did for personal statements was make a list of all of the different prompts (by that I mean: most of the schools will suggest like 5 things to bring up, so I'd take all of those suggestions from each website and combine similar ones until I had a list that covered everything) and brainstorm for those topics. This is really helpful for people applying to a lot of schools because there is a fair amount of overlap but it's difficult to write like 8 essays completely organically from scratch. Anyway, I'd just flesh out those brainstorms as needed and combine them in whatever way I thought was most appropriate for that school. Then you have to be sure to look through their website and identify something unique about them or see if you can tell what their values/priorities are and use that info to show your interest in the school and talk about why it appealed to you. Most important: rewrite your PS many many times. My first drafts were awful compared to the stuff I turned in (which probably still left some to be desired, I'm sure). They evolve a ton over time. Especially since you mention you are still waiting to accumulate some advocacy experience. You'll have a LOT to add after you're all settled with volunteering and shadowing. They may feel disappointing now but they'll definitely get better as you work on them and keep seeking out new experiences this summer. Also, not a bad idea to get a GC to read over your PS and offer you advice - they can be quite helpful.

Let me know if you have questions about any of the programs I applied to - there's a lot I learned about them from interviewing that wasn't apparent on the website, necessarily. Best of luck!

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Hi Everyone! I'm planning on applying for Fall 2017. I applied last year and had interviews at three out of the four places I applied (UC, IUPUI, and Baltimore) but didn't get any bids.  I'm trying to figure out how to get feedback from the programs, so I can make my application materials stronger. I have to admit I'm nervous about getting in touch with them but really want to know what I need to do to be more competitive this next time around.

I'm really passionate about pursuing this program and have no idea what I'm missing at this point. The only thing I can figure out right now is that I might not have the psych background or enough volunteer experience in the right areas. I have strong GRE scores and a degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Communication. I'd really appreciate any suggestions/tips. Thanks!

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On Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 8:25 PM, UTGC said:

I think I started seeing applications open up maybe around August, though it's tough to remember exactly. Just keep checking starting towards the end of summer!

What I did for personal statements was make a list of all of the different prompts (by that I mean: most of the schools will suggest like 5 things to bring up, so I'd take all of those suggestions from each website and combine similar ones until I had a list that covered everything) and brainstorm for those topics. This is really helpful for people applying to a lot of schools because there is a fair amount of overlap but it's difficult to write like 8 essays completely organically from scratch. Anyway, I'd just flesh out those brainstorms as needed and combine them in whatever way I thought was most appropriate for that school. Then you have to be sure to look through their website and identify something unique about them or see if you can tell what their values/priorities are and use that info to show your interest in the school and talk about why it appealed to you. Most important: rewrite your PS many many times. My first drafts were awful compared to the stuff I turned in (which probably still left some to be desired, I'm sure). They evolve a ton over time. Especially since you mention you are still waiting to accumulate some advocacy experience. You'll have a LOT to add after you're all settled with volunteering and shadowing. They may feel disappointing now but they'll definitely get better as you work on them and keep seeking out new experiences this summer. Also, not a bad idea to get a GC to read over your PS and offer you advice - they can be quite helpful.

Let me know if you have questions about any of the programs I applied to - there's a lot I learned about them from interviewing that wasn't apparent on the website, necessarily. Best of luck!

Thank you! I have my PS started, right around 2 pages currently, with lots of placeholders for things I'd like to include such as my advocacy experience or classes that I am taking in the Fall that will be relevant. I did notice most of the prompts are roughly the same, which has been really helpful when writing. One of the people I am asking for a LOR from is a GC, so I will definitely have her read over my PS to see how I can improve it.
Did you have any issues with pre-reqs? I am a little worried because I won't be taking any of my psych pre-reqs until the Spring. Additionally, I am worried about my biochemistry pre-req. My degree only requires one semester of a two semester sequence. I was enrolled in non-required semester of the sequence and ended up withdrawing from the course about halfway through, so I am a bit hesitant to retake it.

How does the interviews at UT, UCI, and CSU compare? (I am more interested in UT's as that program is currently tied with UC Denver, Utah, and Arizona (if it stays on track for opening) for my top picks).

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On Friday, June 17, 2016 at 1:01 PM, CiciGC said:

Hi Everyone! I'm planning on applying for Fall 2017. I applied last year and had interviews at three out of the four places I applied (UC, IUPUI, and Baltimore) but didn't get any bids.  I'm trying to figure out how to get feedback from the programs, so I can make my application materials stronger. I have to admit I'm nervous about getting in touch with them but really want to know what I need to do to be more competitive this next time around.

I'm really passionate about pursuing this program and have no idea what I'm missing at this point. The only thing I can figure out right now is that I might not have the psych background or enough volunteer experience in the right areas. I have strong GRE scores and a degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Communication. I'd really appreciate any suggestions/tips. Thanks!

One thing I've heard of is that you can directly contact the Program Directors and ask where your application was lacking. It's part of their job, so don't be nervous!
I attended a "Career Camp" at Utah last month and the Program Director there talked about the admission's process. She did mention that sometimes it isn't about you, but about the other people they accepted that year. You could have been a stellar candidate, but they did not believed you'd click with the other applicants that they were interested in. She also said that someone who applied with basically the same experience would be passed over one year, but the top pick the next based on the interviewers and what they were looking for. A lot of things go into selecting who gets in and who doesn't that is really out of your hands.
She said that for reapplicants, they want you to take initiative for the next cycle, go get more experience, take additional classes, show that you still really want this!
I think it'd be best to ask the Program Directors for specifics, but you have two areas that you already see you could improve on, so I think starting there would be best! You can never have too much experience!

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2 hours ago, slaybackc said:

Thank you! I have my PS started, right around 2 pages currently, with lots of placeholders for things I'd like to include such as my advocacy experience or classes that I am taking in the Fall that will be relevant. I did notice most of the prompts are roughly the same, which has been really helpful when writing. One of the people I am asking for a LOR from is a GC, so I will definitely have her read over my PS to see how I can improve it.
Did you have any issues with pre-reqs? I am a little worried because I won't be taking any of my psych pre-reqs until the Spring. Additionally, I am worried about my biochemistry pre-req. My degree only requires one semester of a two semester sequence. I was enrolled in non-required semester of the sequence and ended up withdrawing from the course about halfway through, so I am a bit hesitant to retake it.

How does the interviews at UT, UCI, and CSU compare? (I am more interested in UT's as that program is currently tied with UC Denver, Utah, and Arizona (if it stays on track for opening) for my top picks).

That's awesome that you have a GC to recommend you, I'm sure they will be a big help.

 

I was pretty ok when it came to pre-reqs, though I didn't take my 2nd psych class until my final spring either (needed by some programs). It didn't end up being an issue for me, most programs explicitly say you can have some number of pre-reqs pending. Definitely email the programs you're interested in about that biochem thing. I'm sure it's fine but you want to be upfront about what happened and see if there are any issues. I think many programs only need 1 semester of biochem anyway, so there are definitely lots of options for you still just in case the ones that require 2 semesters take issue with your incomplete sequence.

 

I'm going to send you a private message about the interviews. It's pretty subjective and I don't want to make my opinions too public because there's a lot of variation in the interview experience people have. (I'll send this info privately to anyone else that requests it though).

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17 hours ago, UTGC said:

That's awesome that you have a GC to recommend you, I'm sure they will be a big help.

 

I was pretty ok when it came to pre-reqs, though I didn't take my 2nd psych class until my final spring either (needed by some programs). It didn't end up being an issue for me, most programs explicitly say you can have some number of pre-reqs pending. Definitely email the programs you're interested in about that biochem thing. I'm sure it's fine but you want to be upfront about what happened and see if there are any issues. I think many programs only need 1 semester of biochem anyway, so there are definitely lots of options for you still just in case the ones that require 2 semesters take issue with your incomplete sequence.

 

I'm going to send you a private message about the interviews. It's pretty subjective and I don't want to make my opinions too public because there's a lot of variation in the interview experience people have. (I'll send this info privately to anyone else that requests it though).

Is there such thing as contacting the program directors too early? Like if I sent them an email asking about my biochem issue today, that wouldn't been weird or overly enthusiastic? 

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16 hours ago, slaybackc said:

Is there such thing as contacting the program directors too early? Like if I sent them an email asking about my biochem issue today, that wouldn't been weird or overly enthusiastic? 

I don't believe so. It might actually be a good idea to be a bit early. I'm sure they get more and more emails from applicants as the application date approaches.

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Anyone know how large of a factor your GPA is to being accepted, even for just getting an interview? I realize that competitively a 3.5 and up is good, but that's not where I am at.
I currently have a cumm. 3.215 and a much lower GPA for my major. If I do well this next year, I could bring my cumm up to around a 3.3 realistically, 3.4/3.5 unrealistically. Major GPA could go up as well, but not enough to matter. I have no real excuse for my low major GPA, just some semesters where I feel I was working too much and my grades suffered for it. 
I have decent GRE scores. 75-80% Verbal, 51-59% Quant., and 59% AW (I took it twice, but still waiting on my second AW score which I believe will increase) and will have tons of relevant experience by the time I would be accepted. I just don't want something that's so minor in the long run to really cut out my chances of getting in. 

 

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On 7/5/2016 at 7:14 PM, slaybackc said:

Anyone know how large of a factor your GPA is to being accepted, even for just getting an interview? I realize that competitively a 3.5 and up is good, but that's not where I am at.
I currently have a cumm. 3.215 and a much lower GPA for my major. If I do well this next year, I could bring my cumm up to around a 3.3 realistically, 3.4/3.5 unrealistically. Major GPA could go up as well, but not enough to matter. I have no real excuse for my low major GPA, just some semesters where I feel I was working too much and my grades suffered for it. 
I have decent GRE scores. 75-80% Verbal, 51-59% Quant., and 59% AW (I took it twice, but still waiting on my second AW score which I believe will increase) and will have tons of relevant experience by the time I would be accepted. I just don't want something that's so minor in the long run to really cut out my chances of getting in. 

Supposedly, the average GPA for an admitted/matriculated GC students is 3.5 (as of 2010- reported by the NSGC in "Who Are Genetic Counselors?" nsgc.org/d/do/435). In that case, a 3.3 should be fine for getting some interviews. However, I'm not certain how accurate that figure is anymore because I've noticed that the number of students applying to these programs has been increasing quite a bit (for example, some schools put on their website that they have 80 applicants/year, but then you show up to the interview and they say they had 150-200 applicants that cycle).

I think you definitely have a good chance, just be sure to apply to as many schools as you can so that you get a good number of interview offers. And put a lot of work into your personal statements and the other elements of your application. I believe GPA plays a larger role in getting to the interview stage. After that, your "fit" becomes a big factor (though GPA and resume are of course still relevant).

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On 6/19/2016 at 0:57 AM, UTGC said:

That's awesome that you have a GC to recommend you, I'm sure they will be a big help.

 

I was pretty ok when it came to pre-reqs, though I didn't take my 2nd psych class until my final spring either (needed by some programs). It didn't end up being an issue for me, most programs explicitly say you can have some number of pre-reqs pending. Definitely email the programs you're interested in about that biochem thing. I'm sure it's fine but you want to be upfront about what happened and see if there are any issues. I think many programs only need 1 semester of biochem anyway, so there are definitely lots of options for you still just in case the ones that require 2 semesters take issue with your incomplete sequence.

 

I'm going to send you a private message about the interviews. It's pretty subjective and I don't want to make my opinions too public because there's a lot of variation in the interview experience people have. (I'll send this info privately to anyone else that requests it though).

Hi! I'm pretty new to this thread, but I'm planning on applying this upcoming fall for the 2017 fall semester. I'm pretty curious about the interviews! Would you mind telling me about the ones you've been to, too?

I'm scheduled to take the GRE in 1.5 weeks so I'm getting super nervous, and I know there's a ton more that I need to start preparing for so that I'm not bombarded during my upcoming semester of school :/ I'm glad this thread was started though! 

 

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5 hours ago, UTGC said:

Supposedly, the average GPA for an admitted/matriculated GC students is 3.5 (as of 2010- reported by the NSGC in "Who Are Genetic Counselors?" nsgc.org/d/do/435). In that case, a 3.3 should be fine for getting some interviews. However, I'm not certain how accurate that figure is anymore because I've noticed that the number of students applying to these programs has been increasing quite a bit (for example, some schools put on their website that they have 80 applicants/year, but then you show up to the interview and they say they had 150-200 applicants that cycle).

I think you definitely have a good chance, just be sure to apply to as many schools as you can so that you get a good number of interview offers. And put a lot of work into your personal statements and the other elements of your application. I believe GPA plays a larger role in getting to the interview stage. After that, your "fit" becomes a big factor (though GPA and resume are of course still relevant).

Okay, that kind of want I figured. It could deter me form some interviews, but as long as I get an interview, I think I can prove the them I'm worth it :)

 

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4 hours ago, HC929 said:

Hi! I'm pretty new to this thread, but I'm planning on applying this upcoming fall for the 2017 fall semester. I'm pretty curious about the interviews! Would you mind telling me about the ones you've been to, too?

I'm scheduled to take the GRE in 1.5 weeks so I'm getting super nervous, and I know there's a ton more that I need to start preparing for so that I'm not bombarded during my upcoming semester of school :/ I'm glad this thread was started though! 

 

Don't be too nervous! as long as you've prepared and studied, it really isn't too bad. I just took it for the second time two days ago, so I'm waiting on my writing score, but I did decently with minimal prep!

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Just got my results from my second GRE, I went from a 311 to a 312 (When calculating the total GRE score, the writing part isn't included right?). Scored exactly the same on the writing and was so certain I'd done better, but at least I didn't do worse and I did improve my math score by 2 points which I think will help a little. 

Currently working on my Personal Statement in preparation for applications. 

My GC mentor offered to write me a letter of Rec at our last meeting in the Spring. I was wondering if it were best to remind her in August, but wait until September (or later even) to actually give her the materials (i.e. my PS, transcripts/whatever else she needs)? 1) because most applications do not open until around September and 2) because I'd like to have that month to get used to my upcoming internship and use that chunk of time to better explain/relate my internship in my PS. I just want her to have a better understanding of it than the basic filler stuff I have on my PS at the moment if that makes sense.  

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Hey! I applied last cycle and will be attending Northwestern this September. I know last year I was freaking out about the process, and it was great to have people to talk to about this process with, so if anybody has any questions about applying/interviews/match day/whatever's on your mind, I'd be glad to help out, if you guys want it! :)

@slaybackc I would recommend giving all your materials as soon as possible to her, and if you have more material, give it to her as it comes up. This way, she can start to think about what she wants to write about. 

Edited by weilongli1

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That's awesome, @weilongli1! You guys are so nice. 

I was wondering if I could get some advice, I got my score for the GRE and I got a 155V/158Q, and I'm still waiting for my essay scores. My GPA is a 3.32/4.0 right now. Do you guys think these stats are good enough to be considered? I'm contemplating taking the GRE again to improve my score, but the vocab portion is just torture...

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41 minutes ago, HC929 said:

That's awesome, @weilongli1! You guys are so nice. 

I was wondering if I could get some advice, I got my score for the GRE and I got a 155V/158Q, and I'm still waiting for my essay scores. My GPA is a 3.32/4.0 right now. Do you guys think these stats are good enough to be considered? I'm contemplating taking the GRE again to improve my score, but the vocab portion is just torture...

I'd say those GRE scores are perfectly fine (I imagine you're in the 80-90 percentile?). I haven't heard anything specific to genetic counseling, but I know that most graduate programs just want to see that you get at least a decent score. Chasing a slightly higher GRE score probably isn't the best use of your time, it will very minimally impact the success of your applications, especially since you already have good scores. Instead, work on your personal statements or volunteering or shadowing. A few more hours into those areas can help your application a lot more than studying more for the GRE, I imagine.

Your GPA is okay, probably a bit lower than the average accepted student, but don't worry too much. It's a very holistic process. Just be sure that you are really solid with your volunteering and shadowing and I imagine you should be just fine :) You will absolutely be considered.

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@UTGC Oh, thanks!! I was worried because I had check a website that said I was ~69th percentile, and I wasn't sure if that was good enough or not. And yeah, I really regret not working harder my first couple years! Thanks for some reassurance though :) 

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1 hour ago, HC929 said:

@UTGC Oh, thanks!! I was worried because I had check a website that said I was ~69th percentile, and I wasn't sure if that was good enough or not. And yeah, I really regret not working harder my first couple years! Thanks for some reassurance though :) 

If your GPA the last two years is higher than the first two years, that's a good thing! The last years are usually given more consideration than the first if there is a big change. Especially if you can be reflective and show that you learned how to be a good student etc.

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On 7/20/2016 at 8:27 PM, HC929 said:

That's awesome, @weilongli1! You guys are so nice. 

I was wondering if I could get some advice, I got my score for the GRE and I got a 155V/158Q, and I'm still waiting for my essay scores. My GPA is a 3.32/4.0 right now. Do you guys think these stats are good enough to be considered? I'm contemplating taking the GRE again to improve my score, but the vocab portion is just torture...

Your GRE scores are only important if they are very high or very low. Otherwise, they don't make too much of a difference. My undergrad GPA was a 3.7, but without my second major in Theatre, it would have been ~3.4 which is roughly what yours is. It's not that bad of a GPA, especially with an upward trend, and with great LORs they shouldn't matter as much.

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9 hours ago, weilongli1 said:

Your GRE scores are only important if they are very high or very low. Otherwise, they don't make too much of a difference. My undergrad GPA was a 3.7, but without my second major in Theatre, it would have been ~3.4 which is roughly what yours is. It's not that bad of a GPA, especially with an upward trend, and with great LORs they shouldn't matter as much.

At what point is a GRE score considered very low?

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On 7/24/2016 at 10:04 PM, KT123 said:

At what point is a GRE score considered very low?

[Disclaimer: I am obviously not on an admissions panel, this is just what I've gathered from the speculation of others]

I'd say you should definitely consider retaking the GRE if you are getting scores below 50%, just to see if you can do better. If you're stuck with low scores despite multiple retakes, this may just not be a test that works well with you. You'll have to accept that and work on other areas of your application.

For 50-70%, it's probably a judgement call. Do you have all the time you need to get the rest of your application in great order and then some? Sure, go ahead and put some more time into studying and retaking it. Would studying for a second exam take time away from volunteering/classes/personal statement/shadowing/filling out applications? Unless you're really sure you can bring it up, that may not be the best use of your time.

For 70+%, there's probably a pretty low chance that retaking the GRE would have an effect on which grad programs you get an offer from.

 

Another thing to consider (I didn't personally do this, so don't feel obligated to) for anyone who just can't bring their score up is to take a GRE subject test in a relevant subject (bio, psych, chem, biochem) that you're confident in. This obviously won't replace your GRE score, but it has the potential to show standardized academic competency if you do well. These tests might be more in-line with your strengths than the standard GRE, so it's possible you'll do better on a subject test and that might mitigate the damage of a low GRE score a bit. Again though, just speculation.

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