Most genetic counseling programs require that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE consists of three sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Essay section. Although you do not need any specific course before taking the exam, you should expect to study for at least a couple of months in advance.
Please visit the GRE website for more information, registration dates, and study guides: https://www.ets.org/gre/.
Letters of Recommendation
Typically, genetic counseling programs require 3-4 letters of recommendation. Be sure to check if the program you’re applying to has their own specific recommendation form.
Emory University requires 4 letters: 2 academic (at least 1 from the sciences), 1 employer/work study supervisor, 1 supervisor/mentor of genetic/supportive counseling volunteer experience.
Should I waive my right to view my letters of recommendation?
Yes. Letters that can be viewed by the student do not carry the same weight as those kept confidential.
Shadowing & Volunteering
Yes, many schools require applicants have experience observing or shadowing occupational therapists in action. Most programs require 50-60 hours at the least, but more is certainly recommended. Some programs specify the number of sites, as well as the types of experiences that students should pursue. It is usually expected, though, that students have at least one outpatient experience and one inpatient experience. It is also recommended that students get a wide variety of shadowing experiences and are well-rounded in terms of the hours they accumulate, since these experiences are frequently asked about during the interview process. The specific requirements and recommendations for each OT program can be found on their website.
Along with your transcript and letters of recommendation, many programs will require that you complete a short personal statement or narrative essay. What you write in your statement may change depending on the program you hope to apply to but typically it involves answering the question of why you would like to become a genetic counselor, describing any experience you have had in genetic counseling and/or other healthcare fields, and what you believe would make you a good fit for the specific program you are applying to. Your statement should be around 2-5 pages, double-spaced.
Emory asks that applicants:
1. Explain how you became interested in pursuing the field of genetic counseling as a career.
2. Discuss your previous exposure to the profession of genetic counseling.
3. Describe your past experiences involving advocacy work, supportive counseling, and/or volunteer activities with individuals with disabilities, genetic conditions, health concerns or disadvantaged circumstances.
4. What personal and academic characteristics do you have that will allow you to successfully complete the Emory Genetic Counseling Training Program?
5. How would you describe the nature and scope of the profession of genetic counseling in contemporary healthcare?
6. Which two of the four “Focus Internship” areas are you most interested in and why?