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Advice for Interviewing/Ranking Genetic Counseling Grad Schools

The second stage of the genetic counseling graduate school application process is the interviews. Programs invite selected to visit the campus and interview with the faculty. Remember: this is an interview for the program as much as it is for the applicant. In a new program rolling out in March 2018, applicants and programs will rank each other and then be matched, much like the system used for medical students to match to residency programs.

Interview invitations are typically sent between late January and mid-March, with interviews scheduled until mid-April when the ‘rank order’ list is due. Applicants are then notified on a Universal Notification Day in late-April, this year it’s April 27th, 2018 at noon ET!

To help applicants prepare for their interviews we asked the genetic counseling community what advice they had for applicants. We also asked what factors genetic counselors considered when choosing a program, which students can utilize when ultimately ranking their own schools.

What Questions Counselors Remember From Their Interviews…

 

 

What Clunkers Counselors Remember From Their Interviews….

Why Gentic Counselors Chose Their Schools..

“Because I was in my mid-30s with a family, it was all about cost. That being said, I know I got a very high-quality education. I said yes to a scholarship…but it ended up being so much more than that.”

~Matt Tschirgi, MS, LCGC, Medical Science Liaison at Progenity, Inc.

“Geography was most important to me, so I only applied to Wayne State, U of M, and U of T (Toronto). Only interviewed at two and only got one offer, so the choice was obvious— but happily, it was also my first choice (WSU)!”

~Melissa A. Hicks, MS, CGC, Certified Genetic Counselor at DMC University Laboratories

“I’m a Canadian and spots at schools in Canada are few and competition is worse than medical school, so I wrote the GRE and applied to US-based schools. I chose ones with informative, up to date websites, larger class sizes, and a history of accepting Canadians and international students in the previous 2-3 years. I also narrowed down by location, wanting to stay relatively close to Toronto, where my family was and where I lived before school. I ended up at the program through Northwestern in Chicago and really enjoyed it. It was my first round of applications outside Canada – the first round was thrown together since I learned of the program at Christmas the year prior and only sent to UBC and UofT, more as a learning experience than with any real hope of getting in. I only had the one offer, but I would have attended any of the programs I interviewed at. I’m not sure how I would have ranked them if I had to indicate that ahead of time (well, other than Toronto first due to location and cost).”

~Erica Pai, MS, LCGC, CCGC, Genetic Counselor at CooperGenomics

“I had no idea that it was common to apply to multiple schools, so I only applied to two because they were geographically closest. I was only accepted to one so it made the decision easy! Like Melissa, I was lucky that my only offer was from my top pick. Now, I encourage applicants to learn what makes each program unique and decide whether that fits with their goals and interests. For example, if they have a particular interest in lab counseling, be sure to apply to places that have lab rotations.”

~Rachel Mills, Genetic Counselor Consult at PWNHealth and Associate Researcher at Duke University Medical Center

“I chose my school because it was well-established, I loved the faculty I met, and I got the sense that I would be job ready by graduation. On the flip-side, I turned down an acceptance from another school even though they offered a generous scholarship. It was because the current students said a lot of negative things about the program during their interviews.”

~Kara Bui, Genetic Counselor at Greenville Hospital System Cancer Institute and Caris Life Sciences

Are you earlier in the application process? Check our previous blog, Applying to Genetic Counseling Programs where over 15 genetic counselors including program directors share their words of wisdom on how to gain genetic counseling experience and piece together a strong application.

Regardless of your application status, we suggest reading our Trailblazing Genetic Counselors blog series to learn about the leaders in our field. Also, check out our Genetic Counseling Twitter list of over 500 professionals in the field who are also active on Twitter.