The Admission Process
The admission process begins with the receipt of the Graduate Online Application for Admission along with all application requirements at the UCF College of Graduate Studies. In order to be considered for admission to one of the Counselor Education graduate programs: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.A.); Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy (M.A.), School Counseling (M.A., M.Ed., Ed.S.), or Counselor Education (Ph.D., Ed.D.), the following information must be submitted and on file with the UCF College of Graduate Studies by the stated application deadline (see deadlines above):
- Online application
- Residency forms
- Official transcripts
These should be sealed in an envelope by the registrar of the former institution and sent directly to the UCF College of Graduate Studies, P.O. Box 160112, Millican Hall 230, Orlando, FL 32816-0112.
Additional application requirements for the Counselor Education program include (a) three letters of recommendation, (b) an official GRE test score, and (c) a personal goal statement.
- Official GRE test scores must be sent directly from ETS/Pearson Vue to the UCF College of Graduate Studies (institution code 5233).
The above documents become part of UCF's files and will not be returned to or copied for the applicant. All application requirements, aside from transcripts and test scores, must be submitted together with the online application. Transcripts and test scores must be official. Once the online application and all application requirements have been received, the UCF College of Graduate Studies will send you an e-mail notifying you of its receipt. Actual processing of the application, however, is not initiated until the application fee and other application requirements are received in the UCF College of Graduate Studies. Applicants meeting the Counselor Education program's minimal standards [e.g., an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and higher and a GRE score of 290 or higher will be invited to the campus for an interview. Once the deadline has been reached, no further applications will be accepted. That is, if you have not submitted all elements, you will not be considered for an interview. For those applicants who have taken the GRE close to the deadline, we will accept verbal reports for the sake of scheduling an interview and then base admission decisions on the official GRE scores (in conjunction with other admission elements).
GRE Test Scores
Ours is a very competitive graduate program and we consider GRE test scores to be a good predictor of success in graduate school. Thus, we consider a competitive GRE score to be 300 or better. Applicants with a score of at least 290 will be invited for an interview and admission decisions related to GRE scores are based upon the applicant pool for each incoming class.
We require that all applicants submit a goal statement indicating their future goals in the program and/or their future career as a professional counselor. It is suggested that applicants address the following in their goal statement:
- What have you done thus far (on a professional or volunteer level) that applies to what you want to do as a professional counselor?
- What do you hope to gain from your time in the Counselor Education Program?
- What do you have to contribute to the Counselor Education Program?
- What are some of your unique characteristics that you feel will lead you to being successful as a graduate student and/or as a future professional counselor?
We encourage applicants to discuss their goals in a one-to-two page, double-spaced statement. Please be sure to submit your statement online with your application.
Letters of Recommendation
We require recommendation letters to be submitted using the links in the UCF online application with the College of Graduate Studies. It is a good idea to request recommendation letters from faculty, supervisors, mentors, and/or professionals who are familiar with your work ethic and experience. Ideally at least one of these letters would come from a current/past professor, but if it has been a while since you were in school, the letters may be obtained from others who can attest to your aptitude of being a graduate student in Counselor Education and as a future professional counselor.
Applicants who meet the Program's minimum requirements (noted above) will be invited for an interview. This will be a group interview, where groups of 6-8 applicants meet with a faculty member and a doctoral student. The interviewers will pose a series of questions to the group, varying the order of those who answer, with each applicant being given time to formulate an answer to the questions posed. Following the interview, applicants will meet with current students for a question-and-answer seminar (where applicants can ask current students about such things as their experiences as graduate students, program expectations, etc.). Applicants are then invited to join the current students on a tour of the UCF campus. Generally the entire interview process lasts from 8:30am until 1:00pm and applicants must be in attendance for the entire process. There are no make-up interview dates.
Following the Interview
Faculty discuss the results of the interview and share their impressions of each applicant on an individual-by-individual basis. Applicants who had a successful interview (as assessed by an interview scoring rubric) will be considered further for admission (more info below). Applicants who did not have a successful interview will not be considered for admission but may apply for a subsequent semester. Those not having a successful interview are often encouraged to do such thing as:
- Work on your stress management and/or presentation skills (how you speak about your experiences and goals is just as important as your actual experiences and goals)
- Obtain experience (paid or volunteer) in the area of interest and be able to speak about how that experience has influenced your desire to pursue a graduate degree in counseling, and/or
- Seek the counsel of others (professional or otherwise) who can assist you in recognizing your own potential sticking points as you consider helping others to recognize theirs.
Invitation to the Program (and the Waitlist)
Final admission decisions are made on what we call a "3-Star" system. To be considered for admission, applicants must have had a successful interview (which would equate to 1-Star). That is, even if an applicant has high GRE and GPA scores, he/she will not be considered for admission unless he/she received a Star on the interview. Following a successful interview, applicants GRE and GPA scores are taken into consideration. Those with a GRE score of 300 or better earn 1-Star and those with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher earn 1-Star. Thus, a competitive (i.e. 3 Star) applicant would look like this:
- A successful interview: 1-Star
- A GRE score of 300 or better: 1-Star
- An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better: 1-Star
A 2-Star applicant is typically someone who had a successful interview, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a GRE score between 290 and 300.
All similarly competitive applicants will be regrouped according to their GRE scores. Thus, the top applicants with 3-Stars will be rank ordered by GRE scores and the top applicants with 2-Stars will be ranked similarly. The top applicants will be offered admission with the remaining competitive applicants being placed on a wait list.
For example, say there are 39 competitive applicants vying for 20 available openings in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program: 17 of these applicants have 3-Stars and 12 applicants have 2-Stars. Each group will be rank ordered by GRE score with the highest scores at the top of the list. The 17 3-Star applicants will be offered admission along with the top 3 2-Star applicants.
Applicants being offered admission will be notified by email within two weeks of the interview with an offer of acceptance. Applicants will be given two weeks to accept the offer of admission (by following the steps outlined in the offer letter). For those applicants who choose not to accept the offer, or who take longer than two weeks to respond, these individuals will be removed from the offer list and then others on the wait list will be considered with the same two-week turn-around.
Following the earlier example, from the first 20 applicants offered admission, say that 5 choose to deny the admission. Therefore, the next top 5 2-Star applicants would be offered admission, with two weeks to respond, and so on until the 20 available openings have been filled.
Overall, we believe in being transparent with the admission process because we want applicants to recognize the rigor in bringing new students into the program. This is an important part of the gatekeeping function of faculty in the counseling profession: we must ensure that graduates are fully capable of fulfilling the duties of a professional counselor (academically, professionally, and personally) and that evaluation process begins during the application process.