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FAQ

Genetic Counseling Program Frequently Asked Questions


GRE Scores and GPA

My GRE scores are not at or above the 70th percentile, can I still apply?

Yes. Application materials are reviewed as a whole, so allowances can be made for otherwise strong candidates who do not quite meet these criteria. Although we look for GREs to be at the 70th percentile or higher, the Admissions Committee for the Genetic Counseling Program evaluates the entire application and does not only consider the GRE scores when making offers of interviews. Successful applicants will demonstrate how any deficiencies in one area are counterbalanced by superb qualifications in other areas. Other areas such as academic performance, experience related to genetic counseling, the personal statement and letters of recommendation are important elements of the application.

How recently must I have taken the GRE for the scores to be accepted?

GRE scores should be no more than 5 years old.

Does a prior graduate degree constitute a GRE waiver?

Individuals who have a graduate degree from an accredited university in the United States do not need to submit GRE scores. International applicants who have earned graduate degrees outside of the US need to submit GRE scores.

How do I submit my official GRE scores to the University of Pittsburgh?

Submit your official GRE scores to the University of Pittsburgh, code 2927, with no department code.

My GPA is below 3.0, can I still apply?

Yes. Application materials are reviewed as a whole, so allowances can be made for otherwise strong candidates who do not quite meet this criteria. Although we look for GPA to be 3.0 or higher, the Admissions Committee for the Genetic Counseling Program evaluates the entire application and does not only consider the GPA when making offers of interviews. Successful applicants will demonstrate how any deficiencies in one area are counterbalanced by superb qualifications in other areas. Other areas such as experience related to genetic counseling, the personal statement and letters of recommendation are important elements of the application. For applicants who have a lower GPA, we often recommend that the applicant consider taking additional courses at the graduate level to demonstrate their ability to successfully complete graduate work.

 

Personal Statement

What topic should I address in the personal statement?

Applicants should use the personal statement to discus their interest in becoming a genetic counselor.  The personal statement should highlight an applicant's strengths, previous experiences related to genetic counseling, and an understanding of the field.

How long should my personal statement be?

Personal statements should be approximately 1-2 pages in length.

How should the personal statement be formatted?

Formatting for the personal statement is outlined on SOPHAS Express. The accepted file formats are MSWord (.doc, .docx), JPEG (.jpeg, .jpg), PNG (.png), Rich Text Format (.rtf), Portable Document Format (.pdf), and ASCII Text file (.txt). The size limit for each file upload is 5MB and the character limit is 5000.

 

PreRequisite Courses

I have not met the prerequisite course requirements, can I still apply?

An applicant does not necessarily need to complete all prerequisites by the time they submit their application. However, if accepted to the program, a student must complete all prerequisites prior to enrollment with an official transcript sent to the Student Affairs Office. Applicants may wish to include in their application their plans for completing prerequisite courses.

I received AP credits for one of the prerequisite courses.  Does this count as meeting the prerequisite?

For certain prerequisites, credit for AP courses are accepted as long as official documentation is available (typically on a transcript).

What counts as a social/behavioral science course?

There are number of courses that can be counted towards the social/behavioral science prerequisite course requirement. These include, but are not limited to, courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology, family studies, social work, public health, economics, and political science. Applicants with questions about whether a course counts for this prerequisite should contact program leadership.

Are online courses acceptable for prerequisites?

Yes, an online course from an accredited university for which you receive a grade and official transcript can be accepted for a prerequisite. We recommend that an applicant sends the course syllabus to the program leadership for review so that it can be determined that the course does in fact meet the prerequisite.

 

interview process

How does the interview process work?

Applicants will be notified by the Genetic Counseling Program about an offer for an interview. In general, notifications of interviews take place on a rolling basis from late January through early March, and interviews take place from the end of February through April.

 

general

Can I apply after the admissions deadline?

Given the structure of the admissions process for programs that are members of the Association of Genetic Counseling Program Directors, we cannot accept applications after the admissions deadline. At times, there are applicants who are missing a specific piece of their application. Applicants will be contacted by the Student Affairs Office regarding their incomplete application and should work with the Student Affairs Office to complete their application as soon as possible.

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