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MSGC Application Guidebook

Admissions Guidebook

Master of Science Genetic Counseling

Boise State University College of Health Sciences

This guidebook provides applicants with a complete overview of the process and requirements for submitting an application for the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling.

Non-U.S. Citizens

Please be sure to read the “International Applicants” section.

Table of Contents

2023 Timeline of Application Consideration

Spring Review

December 15th*

Application deadline for upcoming cohort.

Review begins 1/15/23

1/15/23: The Admissions Committee will review applications and  other  materials submitted. Those with strong applications (see Appendices for details)  will  be  selected  to participate in a half-day virtual interview. Specific instructions will be sent by email. If an applicant does not receive an invitation by this date they may still be eligible for an interview after the MATCH day as part of the unmatched pool. Please see the NMS Match website for more information.

Within approximately five days after email from the program: Applicants must schedule an interview date by the deadline indicated in the email to move forward in the application process. Prior to the selected interview date, applicants will be asked to submit a short, no more than 5 minutes, video introduction. Applicants who do not submit this video by the interview date will consider the interview invitation void.

Interview Dates 3/1 – 3/29/23:

Five different interviews will be conducted by synchronous video over a half-day session. Program leadership, admissions committee members, and others will be conducting these interviews.

4/11/23: This is the final date for submission of applicant and program Rank Order Lists. No Rank Order Lists, applicant or program registrations or withdrawals can be accepted after this date.

4/19/23: The results of the Match are released to applicants and programs. No action to fill positions remaining unfilled after the Match is to be taken prior to 12:00p.m. Noon ET on this date.

4/19 – 5/31/23: Following release of Match results, unmatched applicants are permitted to seek positions, and programs are permitted to fill positions that remain available independently of the Match.

*If you have an incomplete application, you will not be reviewed.

Admission Criteria

Required and Strongly Preferred

REQUIRED

MS in GENETIC COUNSELING ADMISSIONS CRITERIA

  • Baccalaureate degree (either completed, or completed by June of the year in which a student seeks to enroll)
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate course work (GPA lower than 3.0 will be considered with 2 additional references)
  • Prerequisite course work must be from an accredited university or college
    • General Biology (1 semester)
    • General Chemistry with lab (1 semester)
    • Biochemistry (1 semester, upper division, not combined with another chemistry or biology with a grade of “B-” or better)
      • Although Organic Chemistry is not a requirement of this program, most Biochemistry courses will list Organic Chemistry as a prerequisite
    • Genetics (1 semester, completed within the last 5 years with a grade of “B-” or better)
    • Embryology or Developmental Biology (1 semester) BIO451 or equivalent
    • General Psychology (1 semester)
    • Statistics (1 semester)
  • Registration in the National Match System with a current NMS number
  • Previous experience with involved developing and using skills relevant to genetic counseling including but not limited to using advocacy, research, teaching and/or leadership skills to support individuals with disabilities, work/volunteer in underprivileged communities, or at pregnancy/reproductive counseling programs, crisis hotlines, domestic violence programs, or other similar
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English
  • Please note the previous requirement of GRE Scores has been eliminated.  We do NOT require GRE scores for admission to our program and will not be reviewed if submitted.
STRONGLY PREFERRED
  • Additional course work in Molecular or Cellular Biology, Medical Terminology, and/or Anatomy and Physiology
  • Online course work experiences
  • Fluency in a language other than English is desired but not required
  • Experience engaging with cultures other than one’s own
  • Previous involvement with genetic counseling in clinical or laboratory settings (paid or volunteer)
  • Individuals who are collaborative and collegial possessing the ability to be independent and a self-starter

International Applicants

Due to U.S. Homeland Security regulations and our online program structure, we are regretfully unable to provide F-1 student visa paperwork to international students for this degree program. International students who are currently residing in the U.S. on a visa other than an F-1 visa should check to see if their current visa allows for participation in our program. Please note that international students cannot participate in our program on a tourist visa.

Please contact International Admissions before submitting your application if you are unsure about your eligibility to study in this program.

Eligible international applicants must complete the application requirements as outlined by the Graduate College, International Admissions office, and MSGC program. For more information on these requirements, please visit the below pages:

*Prospective applicants who are U.S. citizens, but are working outside the U.S. must apply as a domestic student.

Preparation for Application

EXAM(S)

  • TOEFL: The test cannot be more than two years old at the time of the application review (mid- spring). See “International Applicants” section for more 

TRANSCRIPTS

  • DEGREES: Contact all institutions from which you taken undergraduate or graduate courses (whether or not a degree was earned), and have the transcripts sent to the Graduate College. Transcripts that are non-electronic must be sent to the Boise State University Graduate College, not to the MSGC.  ***Order your transcripts early, as they may take longer than anticipated.

REFERENCES:

  • Be prepared to submit the names of only two (2) people who can provide objective insights into your strong potential for academic success in a graduate They can expect to receive an e-mail to complete a web-based reference form at some point(or, alternatively, they can upload a letter of reference if they have written one).  Reference letters must be submitted by the application deadline of December 15th.  Please request them early to ensure they are submitted on time. Do not use third party companies to submit references. Instead, please use the Program Application to submit names.  For applicants with a GPA lower that 3.0, two (2) additional references must be submitted.
  • Please remind references that we do not accept physical letters of support mailed to Boise State University. These will not be reviewed or processed.

DOCUMENTS:

  • VERIFICATION OF COMMITTMENT: Please be sure that you have signed and uploaded the verification of commitment as specified in this document. Include your TouchNet receipt (see below).
  • CV: Please be sure that your document follows the guidelines specified in this document.
  • PERSONAL STATEMENT: Personal essay should be written in clear, well organized manner with no or few grammatical errors and following the format guidelines as described. See “Personal Statement” section for more 

FEES:

  • NMS: Applicants must register online in the NMS Match System to participate in the GC Admissions Match and pay $100 registration fee. You must be registered for the Match in order for your applications to be considered by the Boise State MSGC program (code 14711). 
  • GRADUATE COLLEGE: Pay the non-refundable $65 Graduate Admission Application fee
  • MSGC PROGRAM: Pay the non-refundable $20 MSGC Program Application fee via TouchNet. You will need to submit the Reference Number from your TouchNet receipt on the Verification of Commitment.  MSGC Application Fee Waiver. 

Applications without required NMS and TouchNet Reference numbers will be considered incomplete.

MSGC Program Application Requirements

Application ComponentDescription
NMS Match NumberCompleted by applicants and included in Program Application.
Graduate School ApplicationCompleted by applicant and uploaded as part of application. It must follow guidelines found in this application guidebook
Official transcriptsALL institutions at which you have taken one or more classes
– whether or not you completed a degree there – must send a transcript to Boise State’s Graduate College. Applications without ALL official transcripts on file will be considered
incomplete.
ReferencesContact information submitted as part of application. The reference is to be completed online by references (they will receive a link).
Curriculum vitaeCompleted by applicant and uploaded as part of program application. It must follow guidelines found in this application guidebook.
Personal StatementCompleted by applicant and uploaded as part of program application. It must follow guidelines found in this application guidebook
Verification of CommitmentCompleted by applicant and uploaded as part of program application. It must follow guidelines found in this application guidebook.

Applying to the Graduate College and MSGC Program

Please be aware that you are completing ONE application, but you are actually applying/registering for three things: 1) NMS Match Number 2) Admission to the Graduate College at Boise State University, and 3) Admission to the MS in Genetic Counseling program in the College of Health Sciences at Boise State University.

As such, you will receive two different letters of decision. It is possible to be accepted to the Graduate College and not be accepted for the program (though the reverse is not possible). Should you meet the minimum requirement of the Graduate College, you will get one letter. After the MSGC Admissions Committee makes a separate decision about your application, you will receive another letter informing you of our decision.

Admission Procedure

PLEASE NOTE: Your application will not be considered unless ALL items below have been completed. To start, find the “APPLY” area at https://www.boisestate.edu/graduatecollege/. Go to the form and create an account.

Complete the application. This includes submitting the materials described in this document (see page 8). See Page 10 for special notes about the application form.

Pay all application and program fees.

Ensure that the Graduate College has received official transcripts of all post- secondary work.

You may check the status of your application by logging in with the account you have created.

Please contact the Graduate College for any concerns regarding your application until it has been forward to our program for review.  You will receive an email stating such.

Application Form Notes

Degree Path Screen

Select “I would like to apply for a Graduate Degree Program.” Then select “Genetic Counseling Online- MS” in the box below that.

Please note that we only admit once per year, so select “Fall” for whichever year you are seeking to enroll.

College of University Screen

 Use the “Lookup” function to help complete the fields. Please submit the name of the university from which have earned (or will earn) the graduate degree most closely aligned to the educational technology program, as well as the institution where you earned your most recent bachelor’s degrees. The third university listed can be for whatever other degree or credits you might have earned. You do not need to list more than two for the application, but you must have transcripts sent to the Graduate College for ALL universities from which you have earned any graduate or undergraduate credit.

Idaho Legal Residency Screen

 Please be aware that the state (or country) in which you live has no bearing on tuition. All students, no matter their location, pay the same flat fee as indicated on our website.

Application Fee Classification

 Full-time Boise State University employees are not eligible for a tuition waiver.

IMPORTANT!

 After you have digitally signed the application, there are two additional critical steps:

  1. On the Genetic Counseling Website in the Admissions Section (https://boisestate.edu/geneticcounseling/admissions/) you will need to download your Verification of Commitment Your CV, Personal Statement, and signed Verification of Commitment forms will be uploaded to your application on the ApplyYourself Genetic Counseling Online Admissions Page. Note that you are limited to a 2500KB (2.5 MB) file for each.
  2. Click the “Recommendations” link to add the names of two See the MSGC “References” section in this document for more information.

Instructions for Attachments (Personal Statement)

Your personal statement helps the admissions committee understand what you personally will contribute to the Master of Genetic Counseling program and the field of genetic counseling. Each applicant is unique and the Admissions Committee uses your personal statement as a way to get to know you as an individual. The Committee is interested in learning about your personal, academic, and professional/volunteer experiences and how those have prepared you to be successful as a graduate student and a professional genetic counselor as well as getting a sense of your personality and what perspectives and skills you will bring to our community.

The personal statement should reflect your best professional writing. We strongly encourage you to have someone who knows you well read your essay to look for grammar and spelling errors and to make sure that the essay expresses your unique story.

Your personal statement must include these headings and follow this format (no more than 1 page per section):

 Life Experience, Education, and Volunteer Experience

Describe how your personal life experiences, formal education, and/or volunteer work have contributed to your decision to seek admission to the graduate genetic counseling program and selecting genetic counseling as a career (This should be about your experiences).

Genetic Counseling

Reflect on your perception of the role of a genetic counselor and why you would be a good addition to the field of genetic counseling (This should be about how your skills, qualities, and passions are a good fit for genetic counseling).

Diversity

Discuss how contact with persons who differ from you in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, political perspectives, religion, or cultural background have affected your personal philosophy, values and worldview.

Personal Strengths

Describe how your strengths will contribute to your success in graduate genetic counseling education. Because of the online nature of the program it will be important to highlight cooperative work as well as examples of self-directed learning.

Formatting of the Personal Statement

Use the following table as a guide for formatting your personal statement.

ComponentFormat
LengthNo more than four pages total
HeaderYour name on each page
Margins1” margins on all sides
Font size12 point font
Font faceCommon serif or sans serif (Arial/Helvetica, Times/Times New Roman)
SpacingSingle
File nameMust include your last name and first initial, the year of application, and “letter”. Example, “jones_a_2012_letter”
File typeThe only acceptable format will be a PDF file.

Instructions for Attachments (CV)

Your curriculum vita should be formatted following the guidelines. If you have a current CV that is formatted differently, please be sure that it conforms to the guidelines. Your CV DOES NOT need to have an “objective” or “goal” or “summary” statement at the top, but it should bear your name and contact information.

 Your CV must include any paid or unpaid genetic counseling, research, advocacy, and leadership experience – including volunteering – shown in chronological order, with the most recent activity listed first. We recommend you compose your CV as if you are applying for a position in genetic counseling.

SECTIONS

Each section should have the title in BOLD so as to clearly separate it. The sections should appear in the following order, but need not be numbered on your document:

Education
  • A listing of completed degrees and/or any degrees you expect to complete
  • Granting institution(s)
  • The year in which the degree was completed or the anticipated graduation date should be listed starting with the most recent (reverse chronological order)
Work Experience

List each paid or unpaid genetic counseling, research, advocacy, and leadership experiences in the following format:

  • Agency/Company name
  • City and State where Agency/Company is located
  • Start and End dates (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Position title
  • Major responsibilities of this position
Pre-requisite Courses 

Please also incorporate all prerequisite course work and any additional relevant course work in the following format:

  • Course Title
  • University
  • Start and End dates (mm/dd/yyyy)
  • Credit hours
  • Grade
Service Contributions
  • Please describe any relevant leadership or service activities you might provide to organizations with which you are involved
Other
  • If there is other pertinent and professionally relevant information not listed in the sections above, but which you would like to include, please list it
  • If you do not have anything to include here, please indicate “none” for this section

Formatting of the CV

Use the following table for information on formatting your CV.

ComponentFormat
LengthNo more than 6 pages total
Margins1” margins on all sides
Font size12 point font
Font faceCommon serif or sans serif (Arial/Helvetica, Times/Times New Roman)
Spacingvaries; should have adequate white space
File nameMust include your last name and first initial, the year of application, and “résumé”. Example, “jones_a_2012_resume”
File typeThe only acceptable format will be a PDF file.

PLEASE SEE THE APPENDIX FOR A PROPERLY FORMATTING EXAMPLE OF A CV

Instructions for Attachments (Verification of Commitment)

The applicant must include a signed document confirming:

  • Understanding of the model for fieldwork rotations and are able to commit to the format as described AND
  • pledging the minimum of 30 hours per week required dedicated time to the program

The purpose of this document is to ensure that applicants fully understand the format for fieldwork rotations. The program leadership team will work diligently with each student and rotation site to identify matches that are best suited for both parties. However, clinical rotations in the student’s permanent residence cannot be guaranteed at the time of program application. The MSGC program will not discuss alternative clinical rotation placements outside of the Core Clinical Network at the time of program application.

In addition the application must include confirmation of payment of the MSGC program fee through Touch Net.

This confirmation of payment form can be found on the website Genetic Counseling Admissions

Academic and Personal References

An applicant with a GPA of 3.0 or higher must provide the names and contact information of only two people who can attest to her or his aptitude for and commitment to:

  • Graduate study in genetic counseling
  • Professional effectiveness
  • Scholarly abilities and dispositions
  • Personal and professional integrity

Applicants with a GPA lower that 3.0 must submit two additional references.

Each reference should be able to comment on any other relevant information. These should be from individuals who can evaluate your potential for academic success in a graduate program including academic accomplishments, work ethic, and inclusion of others and ideas.  It is preferred that one (1) reference is from an academic source and one (1) from a professional source, although two professional sources are acceptable especially for those who are several years removed from school.

References from relatives (through family or marriage), friends or colleagues will not be accepted.

All persons listed will be contacted and asked to complete a web-based form, and a follow-up call to the reference may be conducted if deemed necessary. Applicants themselves will also be notified when the reference forms are sent. In addition to automated reminders, applicants are encouraged to courteously ask her or his references to complete the form by its due date.

A person’s application is not considered complete until at least two references have been submitted.

Using a Likert-type scale, references will be asked both to rate and comment on the applicant’s:

  • Knowledge in chosen field
  • Work ethic and motivation for proposed study
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work effectively with others
  • Ability to express thoughts in speech and writing
  • Emotional maturity

References may be asked short, open-ended questions about the applicant’s suitability for the program. No letter will be required.

Each reference form will bear quantitative score, which will become part of the overall evaluation of a person’s application.

To ensure privacy, all electronic or physical reference letters will be destroyed immediately following the selection period.

Notification and Disclaimers

Any person for whom a Program Area Recommendation form has been generated and who has submitted all ancillary materials by the beginning of the application review date is assured of a fair and thorough review of her or his materials.

Boise State University is strongly committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The University actively encourages applications from women, persons of color, and members of other underrepresented groups. All MSGC Committee members have had Implicit Bias Training, and Boise State’s Diversity and Inclusion Director participates regularly on the MSGC Admissions Committee.

Applicants are promised a confidential review process. This means that the only persons who will be allowed to see materials are faculty and selected staff members in the MSGC Program, selected personnel on the MSGC Admissions Committee, and selected personnel in the Graduate College. All data will be stored in electronic format in a secure location. Any paper- based materials will be stored in a locked office on campus.

Scores from any rubric used, any notes or discussions regarding an application, any reference forms or letters submitted about an applicant, and any other material used in the review process will not be released. Disaggregated data concerning admissions decisions will also not be released to persons outside the university.

Materials submitted to the committee for review become the temporary property of the MS in Genetic Counseling Program, and these will be stored electronically for a period not to exceed ten years. Any general data collected about applicants through the application process may be part of external research reports with authorization of the university’s Institutional Review Board. External reports will not use any personally identifiable information about any applicants.

Any person submitting any or all application materials for consideration for admittance to the MSGC Program automatically accepts the disclaimers described above.

Questions

Any questions regarding these disclaimers/policies should be submitted to the MSGC Program.

Appendices (Example CV / Application Evaluation Rubric / Overview of Candidate Interview / About the Decision Process / In-Progress Course Policy / Final Note)

Example CV

CV should be formatted as such:

Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip Code

Email Address

Phone number

Education

Work Experience

Pre-requisite Course Work

Service Contributions

Other

Please see this EXAMPLE OF CV for Reference

APPLICATION EVALUATION RATING

Please note that rubrics may be used internally by faculty in the MSGC Program and Admissions Committee. It is subject to change at any time, in whole or in part, and without notification of applicants. An application will ONLY be reviewed if ALL materials are received by the start of the review process.

Once all materials have been received, the applicant will receive a notice from the program. Applications are only reviewed if the applicant holds a bachelor’s degree (or will complete in the semester of application). Submission of TOEFL scores, if applicable, beyond the acceptable time frame means that the application is incomplete.

Scores from any rubric used, any notes or discussions regarding an application, any reference forms or letters submitted about an applicant, and any other material used in the review process will not be released.

 ELEMENTEXCEPTIONAL
(9-10 points)
VERY STRONG (7-8
points)
STRONG
(5-6 points)
GOOD (3-4
points)
FAIR (0-2
points)
StatementConformance to formatting guidelines and addresses all questions in all sections
StatementOverall writing quality (grammar, spelling, ability to convey message
etc.)
StatementDiscussion of life experience, education, and volunteer
StatementDiscussion of genetic counseling
and contributions to field
StatementDiscussion of diversity exposure and impact on worldview
StatementDiscussion of how personal strengths will contribute to academic success

OVERVIEW OF CANDIDATE INTERVIEW

Applicants who are among the top candidates of the initial review committee members from the MSGC Program will be asked to participate in an interview. Interview logistics will be explained to candidates at the appropriate time.

The “interview” will be conducted in two parts (Applicants must have internet access, webcam and microphone, or access to them, and knowledge of how to create and upload video):

  • Initial introduction video submitted by applicant prior to interview date
  • Four virtual interviews conducted on a scheduled day

Each committee member will complete a rubric for each candidate. A candidate’s final score will be comprised of all committee member scoring sheets. The completed rubrics will not be made available to candidates.

As noted with the application rubric, the rubric below is subject to change and applicants may not be informed of the changes. What appears below should be interpreted as a general set of guidelines.

ASPECTPOINTSINTERVIEWER NOTES
Candidate’s level of
professionalism
1 = (poor) to 5 (excellent)
Candidate responds to questions is a succinct manner1 = (poor) to 5 (excellent)
Candidate is able to articulate responses that demonstrate knowledge1 = (poor) to 5 (excellent)
Candidate’s demeanor appears to be consistent with the forward-thinking vision and mission of the
department
1 = (not at all) to 5 (very closely)

Scores from any rubric used, any notes or discussions regarding an application, any reference forms or letters submitted about an applicant, and any other material used in the review process will not be released.

A WORD ABOUT THE DECISION PROCESS

Given the number of applications we receive, we must first narrow the list based on certain quantitative criteria. Our philosophy is to take a holistic approach to the applicant and application materials, and we recognize that traditional quantitative measures do not necessarily predict student success. However, we must ensure that we admit high quality students who will be successful in an academically rigorous online graduate program as well as in the profession of genetic counseling.

A “full review” is one in which two committee members evaluates all submitted materials (ex., application letter, CV, paper, references, etc.) based on a numerical systems. The standard score (z-score) is used to normalize the raters scores.

Quantitative elements required for full review

  • All official transcripts received and on file
  • Completed pre-requisite courses with grades available
  • Completed Personal Statement
  • Completed CV
  • At least two references have completed the reference request (a link to which is automatically sent to them).

Elements that warrant a closer inspection before moving to an invited interview:

  • The undergraduate and/or graduate GPAs are below 3.0 on a 4 point scale OR
  • Pre-requisite courses with grades below the requirement

Elements that typically disqualify an application for an invited interview:

  • The undergraduate and/or graduate GPAs are substantially below the minimum expectation
  • Parts of the application do not conform to stated guidelines

In addition to the above, all must be in place by the final deadline:

  • NMS fee payment and acquisition of NMS number (MUST HAVE BEFORE GRADUATE COLLEGE APPLICATION) Boise State code: 14711
  • Graduate College application is complete (includes payment of application AND program fee)
  • Completed Verification of Commitment

Incomplete applications, materials that do not conform to guidelines, and applications submitted after the due date will not be considered for review.

MSGC PROGRAM ADMISSIONS IN-PROGRESS COURSE POLICY

All Prerequisite coursework must be completed by the Application Deadline of December 15th.

For applicants who are currently enrolled in a course during the SAME semester as the application cycle, they must comply with all of the following stipulations to be considered for review:

1.  All application materials and fees, except in-progress course grades, MUST be received by December 15th 11:59 PM MST. This includes ensuring that the Graduate College has received all official transcripts. The program is not responsible for verifying receipt of official transcripts.

2.  Official ‘Work-In-Progress’ transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate College, and the program must be notified of any in-progress courses at the time of application. This notification should be sent to geneticcounselingms@boisestate.edu.

3.  In-progress courses must be completed in time for official course grades to be submitted to the program by December 30 11:59 PM MST. Updated transcripts must be submitted to the Graduate College. Documentation verifying grades should also be sent to geneticcounselingms@boisestate.edu.

4.  A grade of “B-” or better must be achieved in both Biochemistry and Genetics.

If the course grades are not received by the due date, the application will be considered incomplete and not reviewed in the current cycle. Fees are nonrefundable.

*These deadlines are necessary as the Admission Committee is tasked with reviewing many applications, and all applicants deserve a fair review period.

A FINAL WORD

As has hopefully been communicated in this document, our process for candidate selection is both comprehensive and actively engages in inclusive practices. However, receiving news that one has been denied admission to the program is never easy. We understand that all of our applicants are keenly interested in our program and hopeful about it, so not being accepted can feel like plans and aspirations have been put “on hold.” Please keep in mind that we have very limited number of seats in a given cohort but a large pool of applicants.

As each person can certainly understand, MSGC program at Boise State University cannot scale-up infinitely due to limited clinical rotations required by accreditation standards. We have a limited number of rotations in our program for any given cohort, and this availability depends on various factors (it is not necessarily consistent from year to year).

Our task reviewing so many well qualified applicants is indeed challenging. We of course want to assemble a cohort of people that we think will both benefit the MSGC program, benefit each other, and benefit faculty. The issue of a person being the right fit concerns us greatly. In many cases it is not that a person has a weak application, but rather that other applicants have qualities that are considered to be better aligned to our mission, focus, and strengths. Those denied admission are certainly welcome to apply for a future cohort.

Thank you again for your interest in the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling Program at Boise State University.

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