Admission Criteria & Application Process
Applications to the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program (ASGCGP) are accepted fall through winter each year for admission to the program the following fall. Exact dates will vary by year.
The application process consists of two parts.
- Registration with the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match (the Match) through National Matching Services Inc. (NMS). Registering with the Match costs $100.
- Application directly to the ASGCGP. Applying to the ASGCGP costs $60. Students enrolled as full-time undergraduate students at Augustana University at the time of application to the program are exempt from paying the ASGCGP application fee.
The Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program (ASGCCP) participates in the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match (the Match) through National Matching Services Inc. (NMS). The Match was established to enhance the process of placing applicants into positions in master's-level genetic counseling programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC). The Match uses a process that takes into account both applicants’ and programs’ preferences. All applicants must register for the Match with NMS before applying to participating genetic counseling graduate programs. At the conclusion of all program interviews, both applicants and programs will submit ranked lists of preferred placements to NMS according to deadlines posted on the NMS website. The binding results of the Match will be released to both applicants and programs simultaneously in late April. Please visit the NMS website to register for the Match, review detailed information about the matching process, and view a demonstration of how the matching algorithm works.
A complete ASGCGP application has several components. You may download and print the ASGCGP Application Checklist, or you may view it online.
The ASGCGP application cycle for Fall 2019 admission opens September 15, 2018.
Common undergraduate majors include biology, genetics, chemistry, psychology, social work, and public health. In addition to the sciences, desirable applicants will have had exposure to a rich and varied undergraduate education. Examples of classes which help prepare individuals to succeed as genetic counseling graduate students and future genetic counselors, and that strengthen an application but are not required for admission, include developmental biology, embryology, human development, writing, communication, business, and ethics.
The strongest applicants will have completed (or will be in the process of completing at the time of application to the program) the following coursework. If a course is in progress, this may be reflected on the personal statement.
- Biology (one full year)
- Chemistry (one full year)
- Biochemistry (one semester or quarter)
- Genetics (one semester or quarter)
- General Psychology (one semester or quarter)
- Statistics (one semester or quarter)
Genetic counseling, at its core, is a profession built on interpersonal communication. At the time of application, it is strongly recommended that applicants have some volunteer or professional experience in an area in which advocacy and communication skills are utilized. Examples include crisis counseling, working with and mentoring youth (e.g. through Big Brothers Big Sisters or as a camp counselor), helping with Special Olympics, coaching, or providing support services for veterans. The list of possibilities is limitless. These experiences should be reflected in some way on your personal statement or CV.
One of the best ways to understand the occupation is to spend time with practicing genetic counselors. By interviewing or shadowing one or more genetic counselors, one can more fully understand the occupation and critically evaluate it as a career choice. Shadowing is strongly recommended. If an accessible genetic counselor is not available in your area, alternatively, you may view the Master Genetic Counselor Series, available through the NSGC website, which is a very good way to see vignettes and gain additional insight into genetic counseling sessions. You may also contact the ASGCGP for additional ideas.