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GeneDawg

Genetic Counseling Fall 2018 Applicants

235 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Nefelibata said:

@hb_94 There are a combination of factors that determine if that grade will hinder you or not. Is that your only C? If it is and you have A's in all the other "important" classes then it might not matter so much. But that also varies per program. I had two programs straight up tell me that they require a B or better in biochem (and their other pre-req courses).

Are you able to say which programs?? I have all A's but a C in organic Chem 2 so this may change my application strategy. Thanks! 

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4 hours ago, Marie764 said:

Are you able to say which programs?? I have all A's but a C in organic Chem 2 so this may change my application strategy. Thanks!

@Marie764 Minnesota and Wisconsin. A lot of programs don't list Ochem as one of their pre-reqs, and I've rarely seen Ochem2 listed at all so I think you would be okay applying anywhere without worrying about it.

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Does anyone know how much UC Irivne's program costs? They don't have a lot of info on their website.

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5 minutes ago, Nefelibata said:

Does anyone know how much UC Irivne's program costs? They don't have a lot of info on their website.

I found it here: http://www.reg.uci.edu/fees/2016-2017/genetic.html

Looks like it's about $26,000/year for residents and $39,000/year for non-residents, but I don't know if you have to pay the spring tuition in the second year.

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Hey out of curiosity did anyone on here get an interview for second match at Indiana? 

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Finally got my grades back for my last semester. Ended with a 4.0 for the semester, A's in both developmental psychology and abnormal psychology as well as an A in a genetics lab class. Brings by cumulative GPA up to a 3.36 for when I apply for next cycle (3.58 for last 60 units). My major GPA is still only a 2.75 :/ 

Still, I'm pretty happy with this as my stats last cycle was a 3.29 cum, (3.4~ for last 60), and 2.66 for major.

Hopefully my upcoming grad classes will take some pressure off my major GPA.

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Hey everyone!

So excited to announce we have decided to hire a second genetic counseling assistant! The start date will likely be sometime in July but the application is open now. Highly recommended for a gap year job before applying to a genetic counseling program (can't beat getting paid to be surrounded by genetic counselors). Feel free to reapply if you applied to the first opening since that one is closed now (hint: cover letter). Let me know if you have any questions!

https://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/64573

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Hey guys!  When e-mailing program directors about ways to improve for the next round of applications - what do you guys usually say?  Also, I'm looking for more counselling experience this year - I was thinking of doing something text or chat based because I move around a lot.  I've heard a lot of you guys do CTL, but I'm from Canada so unfortunately I can't volunteer with them.  I was thinking about volunteering with IMAlive, which is something similar.  Does anyone have any experience volunteering with them? 

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7 hours ago, GC_AT said:

Hey guys!  When e-mailing program directors about ways to improve for the next round of applications - what do you guys usually say?  Also, I'm looking for more counselling experience this year - I was thinking of doing something text or chat based because I move around a lot.  I've heard a lot of you guys do CTL, but I'm from Canada so unfortunately I can't volunteer with them.  I was thinking about volunteering with IMAlive, which is something similar.  Does anyone have any experience volunteering with them? 

I just got really excited to see someone else from Ontario! (And with such a similar username too).  If you're from the GTA, maybe we could PM each other and potentially meet for coffee and exchange application notes.

I've been pretty straight forward in my e-mails.  If they invited me to interview then I say something along the lines of "Thank you for inviting me to interview with your genetic counseling program this year.  I am eager to start preparing for next year's application cycle, and was hoping that you would be able to provide me with feedback on this year's application and interview."  Otherwise I just say something like "I was wondering if I would be able to receive feedback for my application to the MSc Genetic Counseling program."

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Hi everyone!

I am a second round applicant and hoping for a better outcome for Fall 2018 cycle. For Fall 2017 I applied to Augustana, UCI, Rutgers, UPitt, ISU, Northwestern, U of South Carolina, Arcadia, and Boston and received ZERO interviews (sigh). I received waitlist for an interview at Northwestern but I feel like everyone was at least put on the waitlist.

GPA and GRE are the two main factors why I received no interviews so I plan to retake the GRE and raise my score. For GPA though, I know a lot of programs want to see post bacc or grad level courses but for me (mostly because how expensive these courses are) I was planning to take couple classes at a local community college and take the UC embryology course online. Anyone know of the most affordable accredited college/university to take online science grad level courses? Are taking classes at a cc not worth it? 

Right now I work at a Biochemical Genetics lab as a research/lab assistant (been over 2.5years) and also volunteer for genetic counselor and psychometrist at a teratology research center (reaching one year mark next month). I also signed up for CTL counselor volunteer starting in June.  There is so much on my plate right now that I am thinking of giving up my volunteer hours at the teratology research center and just stick with CTL counselor but I'm afraid I will regret it. I'm also looking into other job positions that include more clinical role or clinical research so that I can gain more patient interaction but I don't know if it will benefit me in the long run.

For those who have or are applying as second time applicant: my LORs were really strong per the programs that I reached out to but I don't know if I need to ask my recommenders to resubmit the same LORs or write a new one. Any ideas?

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated!

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17 hours ago, essee said:

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Hello! I am also a second round applicant.  I only received one interview, and I think its because of the dang GRE! UGH!  If you want tips on how to prep better, feel free to send me a message and I can talk about the resources that I was given.  I feel like I am improving, which is good I guess, but we will see!

 I personally think that your work experience as a lab assistant and working at a teratology center is excellent!  Have you been able to shadow a genetic counselor a couple of times or interview with one?  I have joined CTL too!  I like how flexible it is.  I think it may be a good idea to have more advocacy/volunteer experience. If you go onto volunteermatch.org, you can find both virtual and local volunteer positions available for the healthcare, nonprofit, and advocacy sector.  The site is extremely helpful!  

As for grades, I am not sure about this one.  Honestly, I don't think its worth going in debt to take more classes.  From my experience, researching graduate classes have been difficult since they all are so expensive.  I took an extended education class at UCSD once and it was $500, so I understand your concern.  I think the UC embryology class sounds exciting! I really don't believe that taking a class at a JC would be held against you.  I think it shows that you have made the effort to raise your GPA, which is great!  Every program is different, so I would ask if you are concerned.  

As for LORs, I believe they will have to be resubmitted.  I would check with each program, since they may have a different process for second applicants!  

:) 

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Just sent all my emails asking about areas I could improve on. That was nerve wracking, but waiting to hear back will be worse. One good thing is that I just filled out paperwork for my genetic counseling volunteer/shadowing gig that has been four months in the making! I'll get to shadow at least 4 hours a week (and would prefer to do around 8 if possible). The only issue is that I start working full-time and until I am trained (roughly a month or longer) I won't be on a schedule that allows me to go in. Once I start working I can figure out how long my training will actually be and then get it all figured out for sure. 

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19 hours ago, essee said:

Hi everyone!

I am a second round applicant and hoping for a better outcome for Fall 2018 cycle. For Fall 2017 I applied to Augustana, UCI, Rutgers, UPitt, ISU, Northwestern, U of South Carolina, Arcadia, and Boston and received ZERO interviews (sigh). I received waitlist for an interview at Northwestern but I feel like everyone was at least put on the waitlist.

GPA and GRE are the two main factors why I received no interviews so I plan to retake the GRE and raise my score. For GPA though, I know a lot of programs want to see post bacc or grad level courses but for me (mostly because how expensive these courses are) I was planning to take couple classes at a local community college and take the UC embryology course online. Anyone know of the most affordable accredited college/university to take online science grad level courses? Are taking classes at a cc not worth it? 

Right now I work at a Biochemical Genetics lab as a research/lab assistant (been over 2.5years) and also volunteer for genetic counselor and psychometrist at a teratology research center (reaching one year mark next month). I also signed up for CTL counselor volunteer starting in June.  There is so much on my plate right now that I am thinking of giving up my volunteer hours at the teratology research center and just stick with CTL counselor but I'm afraid I will regret it. I'm also looking into other job positions that include more clinical role or clinical research so that I can gain more patient interaction but I don't know if it will benefit me in the long run.

For those who have or are applying as second time applicant: my LORs were really strong per the programs that I reached out to but I don't know if I need to ask my recommenders to resubmit the same LORs or write a new one. Any ideas?

Any comments or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Sorry that you didn't receive any interviews this past cycle - I understand that can be very frustrating. It's great to see that you are dedicated to improving your application and reapplying for 2018!

Your research experience and volunteer position with a genetic counsellor sounds like a great experience to add to your applications. Does this role involve any counselling/advocacy work on your end, or have you had any other counselling experience in the past? If not, I think that doing the CTL counselling will be a good experience that will definitely help with your applications for next cycle. My understanding is that virtually all programs require you to have some counselling and/or advocacy experience, and this will hopefully help you to get some interviews next year. 

As for LORs as a second time applicant - most of the programs that I reapplied to required new letters. One program was willing to use the letters from the previous application cycle, but my references chose to re-write their letters. I think if you have new experiences (e.g. counselling) that are really important for your application, it is best to have references re-write their LORs and touch on the skills, etc that you gained. However, reaching out to the programs that you are applying to and asking their policies for LORs for second time applicants is probably the best place to start!

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For anyone who hasn't started sending their emails to programs, Stanford emailed me back saying they prefer to send out that information in mid-June when they are a little slower, but would answer any time sensitive questions :) Just wanted to let you all know!

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I, too, joined CTL! I start in July. I was kind of surprised that the next earliest training was two months out (I was accepted a few weeks ago). 

I'm on the fence about whether or not to take the GRE again. I have a lower-ish GPA (3.2) and my verbal/writing were average and my quantitative was way above average, but I thought maybe it would help boost my app if I got a higher score to offset my GPA.. One school said my GRE scores were fine when I asked them what I could do to improve, but that's also just one school's opinion..

On 5/24/2017 at 5:06 PM, essee said:

GPA and GRE are the two main factors why I received no interviews so I plan to retake the GRE and raise my score. For GPA though, I know a lot of programs want to see post bacc or grad level courses but for me (mostly because how expensive these courses are) I was planning to take couple classes at a local community college and take the UC embryology course online. Anyone know of the most affordable accredited college/university to take online science grad level courses? Are taking classes at a cc not worth it? 

If they're pre-req type classes or classes related to counseling/genetics, I think taking them at a CC is fine. My state has what's called PSEO, which allows qualified high schoolers to take classes at a college (for free!) instead of going to class at their high school so I did that for my senior year of high school at a CC and that's where I have a couple of my pre-reqs from (psych, calc, bio..) and none of the schools I applied to said anything about it. I think they also understand that it's definitely cheaper for us. 

Does anyone know how much that UC embryology online course costs?

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1 hour ago, Nefelibata said:

Does anyone know how much that UC embryology online course costs?

I took it last year and thought it was really great.  It was 100% go at your own pace, and they send a letter in pdf with your grade on it the day after you write your final exam.  It was about $350 if you take it as a "non-credit" course.

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1 hour ago, TAGC said:

I took it last year and thought it was really great.  It was 100% go at your own pace, and they send a letter in pdf with your grade on it the day after you write your final exam.  It was about $350 if you take it as a "non-credit" course.

Thanks! That is pretty cheap compared to classes at my university! I'm paying over $1200 just to re-take Biochem this fall <_< Do you register for the MEDS 4021 clinical embryology or the GC7050 embryology course? It says they're combined into one section, but I'm not sure if it makes a difference which one you sign up for..

 

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1 minute ago, Nefelibata said:

Thanks! That is pretty cheap compared to classes at my university! I'm paying over $1200 just to re-take Biochem this fall <_< Do you register for the MEDS 4021 clinical embryology or the GC7050 embryology course? It says they're combined into one section, but I'm not sure if it makes a difference which one you sign up for..

 

I took the GC7050, I didn't know there was another option.  The MEDS 4021 syllabus looks identical to the course I took and the professor is the same.  The course seemed like it would have been relevant to both medical students and genetic counseling students, but I had the impression that it was only genetic counseling students in the physical lectures.

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Hi all,

I'm applying to 6-7 programs for fall 2018 (exact programs are still slightly up in the air, currently have a list of 10).

A little about me:

I just graduated with a BS in Biological sciences and have Spanish and psychology minors with a overall GPA of 3.89

Shadowing: I've shadowed 3 different genetic counselors (one cancer, one prenatal, and one pediatrics) as well as reached out and talked to a number of current students or graduates from different programs to learn about their perspective on the program and what their current job entails. 

Extracurriculars: During undergrad I was in a sorority and was an intern for a number of different offices and was a recruitment guide for formal recruitment (counseling experience). I also was a member of a number of different honors societies including Order of Omega and National Society of Leadership and Success. I also am a coach for a high school cheer team. This summer I'm planning on taking a mental health first aid class that should help with my counseling experiences!

Volunteer: I also have volunteered for a crisis line for the past 3 years (overall average of 6 hours a month I'm guessing) and have also participated in a number of different volunteer opportunities for various causes including American Cancer Society and St. Jude.

Research: I worked as an undergrad research assistant for a year and a half in a genetics fly lab (mostly doing transfers), and then had my own research project with spider parentage analysis and currently am taking a gap year and working full time as a research assistant in the same lab.

GRE: I am taking it this summer and am a little nervous about what scores I might need for it since for unofficial diagnostic test (Kaplan) I got around a 150 quant and 150 verbal and 5 on both essays. 

I know a number of schools have recruitment days that I would love to attend, but unfortunately none are that close to my location so I'm not sure if its in the cards. Will going/not going matter that much? Obviously I want to get into a school my first time and want to do as much as I can, but at the same time have to be realistic about what I can do. 

Any advice on things to try to add to my resume or tips for personal statements and interviews would be extremely helpful! Looking at all of the bios on the program websites I feel as though everyone is extremely accomplished and I cant help but feel intimidated so any and all advice is welcome. Thanks!

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@KCGC Your resume is honestly amazing.  I can't see anything that you need to improve on.  Just make sure that you have all of the pre-requisites for each program, and you work hard on your personal statement.  Some advice that I got for the personal statement is to think about what skills are required to be a genetic counselor and try to tell a story that shows you have those skills.  It's not enough to just say "I have good communication skills."  You have to show them an example of how you have good communication skills.  Also, from my own personal experience, don't get too many people to read your personal statement.  Just get a few solid people (who you trust are good at editing, etc) to read it over.  I find that too many people have too many contradictory opinions.

Recruitment days are really helpful for figuring out if you like the school's atmosphere and the types of student's they're looking for, but they're not a requirement at all.  It's already going to be really tough for everyone to travel to all of their interviews, so they don't expect you to go to all the recruitment events on top of that.  If you can, try going to one or two that are in your area.  Some programs also do webinar events.

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Posted (edited)

Hi everyone,

First time applicant here. I'm super anxious about the process to get in! A little background about me:

-Education: I have a bachelor's degree in clinical laboratory science (GPA ~2.6). I will complete my master's degree in clinical laboratory science in December of this year with an anticipated 4.0 GPA.
-GRE: V: 156, Q: 155, AW: 4.5
-Work Experience: I have eight years experience working in clinical laboratories, 5 of those years in molecular diagnostics, and two and a half of those years in a dedicated molecular diagnostics lab at an academic medical center. Our lab did a mix of molecular testing for infectious diseases and genetic testing for congenital conditions, tumor markers, etc. I'm certified as a medical laboratory scientist, a specialist in clinical chemistry, and a technologist in molecular biology.
-Shadowing: I have about 16 shadowing hours so far (MFM and oncology), with 16 more scheduled at this time. I'm hoping to have at least 40 before I apply.
-Advocacy: I volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, working with kids in the foster care system. I checked with the admissions coordinator at my top choice school and she said this was good advocacy experience. I'm also in the process of training to work with the Crisis Text Line, to boost my counseling skills.

My application choices are relatively limited due to my husband's career. We'll either be in Virginia or Indiana this time next year, so I'm planning on applying to VCU and IU. VCU is my top choice as I worked there for a few years and lived in Richmond for eight. The genetic counseling students also rotate through the lab I worked in, so my lab directors have a good relationship with the genetic counseling program and have already offered to write me letters of recommendation.

My biggest concern at this point is my undergraduate GPA. I hope my masters degree will compensate. I also don't have a straight genetics course under my belt yet, so I'll be taking a genetics class this fall.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Good luck to everyone, the next 11 months are going to be crazy!

Edited by jbv510
Add more info

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Hi Everyone,

I will be a second time applicant.  I applied to four programs last year and interviewed at two, but did not receive an offer.  I am hopeful that with another year of improving on my application weaknesses, applying to more schools, and help of this forum, which I didn't find last year :(, I'll be more successful for the 2018 cycle.

My background:

I have a bachelor's degree in biology (GPA 2.96) and master's degree in biology (GPA 3.16).
GRE: V: 166, Q: 147, AW: 3.5 (took GRE twice last year, not excited about taking again this year)

I am transitioning to genetic counseling after several years as a research lab tech doing all types of sequencing.  I enjoy my current work, but I am most intrigued by human genetics research and have a desire to interact with patients directly and participate in clinical research.

-Shadowing: I have 3 days of shadowing so far and one more scheduled for next month.  I have really enjoyed my shadowing days and they have helped to confirm my suspicion that becoming a GC will be a great career for me.

-Advocacy: Probably my weakest area, but hoping to change that during the next 6 months. Past advocacy has been with a women's crisis shelter and working with children of various abilities at Morgan's Wonderland, "the world's first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone's enjoyment."  I also have signed up for CTL.  My application is complete, just waiting to hear back about approval and training.

I received feedback from one of the programs that I applied to last cycle that work experience as a GCA would be a good way to also boost my application, so I am currently applying for GCA positions.

I completed a probability and statistics course during the spring and I'm planning on taking at least one more course, but haven't decided which to take yet.  I'm leaning toward the Embryology course, but I could also see a second course in psychology helping my application.

I am also encouraged by the addition of KGI, U of Arizona, MGH, and Columbia, that's possibly 30 more spots available in 2018.  As @jbv510 said, "the next 11 months are going to be crazy!", but with each other's support we'll all make it through. :)

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Hi! I am looking for suggestions for online developmental psych or counseling psych online courses. They don't offer those courses at my university and the course at community college is full. Thanks :)

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Posted (edited)

18 minutes ago, GeneDawg said:

Hi! I am looking for suggestions for online developmental psych or counseling psych online courses. They don't offer those courses at my university and the course at community college is full. Thanks :)

Athabasca University offers these online Psyc courses: http://www.athabascau.ca/syllabi/psyc/psyc228.php http://www.athabascau.ca/syllabi/psyc/psyc388.php

I've never taken them, but I was looking into it when I thought I might have to update my pre-reqs.

Edited by TAGC

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