The average GPA for matriculating students is 3.5. However, we take a holistic view of the applicant's complete file in determining admission, which means we look at everything the applicant has submitted. A high GPA will not automatically lead to admission, and neither will low scores automatically lead to a denial.
The Personal Statement is extremely important and applicants should pay specific attention to how they present themselves in it.
Consider whether your personal statement is grammatically sound, and whether it provides a clear picture as to who you are. Applicants should emphasize those experiences which have directly caused them to become aware of and knowledgeable about the genetic counseling profession. Genetic counselors are highly motivated and hardworking individuals, so the Admissions Committee looks for applicants who demonstrate initiative, self-direction, excellent communication skills and who have "gone the extra mile" to show their passion for becoming a genetic counselor.
Please note: If COVID-19 has interfered with your ability to shadow or participate in advocacy experiences, please note these in your personal statement and how you have reworked your efforts to learn about genetic counseling.
Letters of recommendation should be written by individuals who can provide an accurate picture of your academic capabilities, your communication skills (both written and spoken) and your potential to successfully engage in graduate education.
At least one recommendation should be faculty from your past academic institutions. Other excellent sources for letters of recommendation include genetic counselors you have shadowed and supervisors of internships or advocacy experiences which you have had. Recommendation letters from friends or family members are discouraged.
Please note: while CWRU provides an online recommendation form for referees to complete, your referee should also provide a personal letter to accompany the form.
While the number of applications received by the program varies from year to year, in general we receive over 120 applications each year, and we invite 40-60 applicants for an interview. At this time, the program is able to accept 9 students per year. The program ranks the vast majority of applicants invited to interview.
December 15th of each year is the application deadline. It is important that all required materials such unofficial transcripts from all institutions in which you have completed coursework and letters of reference be submitted by the application deadline if you wish to have your application reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
If you will be taking a prerequisite course or courses in the upcoming semester that will not be reflected on your current transcripts, please let us know in your personal statement (or resume) which course or courses you will be taking to meet the prerequisites.
The program admits one class per year, which matriculates in the fall semester. Our curriculum is designed as a cohort model, and students are expected to progress through the program as a cohort and complete courses in sequence. Because of the intensive nature of the program, all students must be full time for 2 academic years, or 21 months. We are currently unable to accommodate part-time students.
No. The genetic counseling program at CWRU requires students to be in Cleveland, on campus for the program. All clinical rotations are in Northeast Ohio.
Possibly. While every student at CWRU has a guaranteed summer placement at Akron Children’s Hospital, some students prefer to complete their summer rotation at a different location – close to family, friends, or in a city where they anticipate employment in the future. We do not guarantee summer placements in other locations, but our clinical rotation coordinator will work with you to secure these placements, if interested. As a program, we strongly encourage all students to complete their summer rotation in Akron, as they are uniquely skilled in working with students in a first-rotation experience.
The National Society of Genetic Counselors website is an excellent resource and also contains videos of master genetic counseling sessions to learn more about the profession. There are also other webinars hosted by NSGC periodically throughout the year that are free to register for. You may also wish to contact practicing genetic counselors in your area to learn more about the profession and inquire about opportunities they may offer prospective students. One source for finding practicing genetic counselors in your area is through the "Find a Genetic Counselor" page on the NSGC website.
Yes. We do not have rules or regulations on working while enrolled in our program. Every student is different, but most students typically find that working 10-15 hours a week during the first year of the program is reasonable. Some students continue to work during the second year; however, commitments to clinical rotation placements often require students to reduce their outside employment workload. The program may discuss limiting working hours with students who are unable to complete coursework or other assignments or activities.
Yes. We take a holistic approach to application review and all applications will be considered. The GPA requirement is in place to ensure that admitted students have the capacity to handle the rigor of our graduate-level curriculum. Applicants with an undergraduate cumulative GPA under 3.0 may demonstrate their ability to achieve academic success in the program in other ways. Taking graduate level courses in 1-2 of the prerequisite courses is one example. Graduate degrees will supersede an undergraduate GPA.
First, every applicant invited to interview is qualified to be part of our program, and we would be thrilled to have you as one of our students. Our interview process takes place via Zoom, and is intended to be conversational. It is a chance for us to get to know you as a person, while also allowing you to get to know us. Please relax, enjoy the experience, and come prepared to tell us all about your experiences that have led you to genetic counseling. It is also an opportunity for applicants to decide if they see themselves thriving at CWRU. There is an informal information session about the program and Cleveland, one-on-one interviews with our admissions team, and opportunities for interactions with our current students. We typically have opportunities to observe our student-led journal club, if possible. Finally, student-led tours are usually available in early April, once our interviews are complete and our rank list has been submitted.
No. Safe and affordable housing located close to campus is available, either within walking distance or via free campus shuttles. In addition, clinical placements at University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic are either within walking distance or can be reached by a free-shuttle ride. MetroHealth can be reached by public transportation. For the summer rotation in Akron, students often carpool. Students without a car will be paired with students who have a car in Cleveland.