Graduate School : Counseling : FAQ

Admissions

How many students are accepted each year?
Typically, we accept 15 to 18 beginning full-time students and 2 to 4 beginning part-time students. Students are allowed to enter the program only in the fall semester.

What scores are required for admission to the program?
We use a holistic screening process for admissions in which we review all paper documentation required in the application: transcripts, GRE scores, personal statement, recommendation letters, and personal interviews. There are no cutoff scores. In general, students admitted to the program have GPA's of 3.0 or better. This is the best predictor of success in graduate school. The rolling admissions process starts on February 1, and continues until the class is filled. The application process ends on August 1.

Financial Aid

Is financial assistance awarded to students who are admitted to the program?
Every full-time student entering the program receives a graduate assistantship that covers one half tuition in exchange for 7.5 hours of work per week. The balance of tuition and living expenses needs to be covered by students, often through loans. The faculty actively seeks funding to supplement student tuition.

What types of work do graduate assistant do?
Graduate assistantships vary depending on the placement. Counseling GA's are assigned to work across campus. Some examples of GA positions are: research assistants for professors, working in various campus offices, or working in the Child and Family Services Center, Center for Academic Success, Student Affairs, the Career Development Center, or the Counseling and Wellness Center.

How much debt do graduates of the program typically accrue?
Over the past few years, students typically accumulate approximately $30,000 - $35,000 in total debt if they have no other source of financial support besides the graduate assistantship. The graduate assistantship is worth over $17,000 per year. How much you accrue will depend on the amount borrowed in loans and whether or not you have any additional grants from outside the university.

Are there other forms of financial assistance?
Yes, many of our students work for Residence Life as Residence Directors. This application process is separate from the Counseling program admissions process. These students get room and board, a bookstore credit, and a stipend in exchange for their work as RDs. These students do not have and additional GA position. Students in our program are also Athletic Graduate Assistants and are admitted to our program on a part-time basis. Students interested in this option should contact the Athletic Director.

Practical Experience

How much practical experience is gained in the program and when does it begin?
The counseling program incorporates some experience into each semester of training. During the first semester, students are involved in a pre-practicum in which they shadow counselors in five different settings. During the second semester, students are required to participate in a 100 hour practicum at a specific counseling placement (school, mental health, or college counseling center), one day per week for the entire semester. In the third semester, school counseling students begin working at the site of their internship two days per week, completing a 200 contact hour practicum. This placement continues in the fourth semester as the full-time, 525 hour internship. In the third semester, mental health students complete a 200 hour internship continuing two days a week at their specific counseling placements while beginning a one day a week placement at the Child and Family Services Center on campus. In their final semester, mental health track students complete a 400 hour internship spending three days a week at their counseling placements and one day a week at the clinic.

What if I change my mind about my selected track (school or mental health)?
Students do not have to select a track until the second semester. Some students wish to choose an alternative track after this point. Faculty will work with students to develop a new plan. This will necessitate taking the additional track-specific required courses.

Does the internship have to be completed in New York State?
Since students start working in their internship placements during their third semester practicum, most sites are located within a 90-mile radius of the university. Since the university is in close proximity to the Pennsylvania border, it is not unusual for students to work in schools or agencies in northern Pennsylvania. When this occurs, it is up to the students to meet requirements for internships in Pennsylvania that may differ from those of New York schools.

What if I want to work in a state other than New York?
The school counseling and mental health counseling tracks both meet the rigorous standards set by New York. However, students regularly work with the faculty to make sure that they will meet the requirements of other states upon graduation.

Are interns paid?
Unfortunately, almost all counseling internships are unpaid. Occasionally an agency or school will offer a modest stipend for an internship, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Do students pay tuition during the internship?
Yes, counseling students pay a specially discounted tuition fee during the internship. Because students are still taking a full-time credit load, but are unable to serve as graduate assistants, the university charges counseling interns one-half the regular tuition for that semester.

Post-Graduation

Do graduates of the program have difficulty finding jobs?
Counseling is in demand - The 2007 Department of Labor's "Occupational Outlook Handbook" states that there will be more counseling jobs than graduates from college counseling programs. "Money" magazine named a Licensed Professional Counselor (in New York this the LMHC) among the top 50 jobs in the U.S. It has been estimated that about 35 to 40% of school counselors reached retirement age as of 2010, so the openings are out there. Most graduates find employment in their chosen field, however, you may not necessarily find a job in your preferred work setting immediately upon graduation if you are not geographically flexible. If you are willing to relocate, you should have no problem finding any type of counseling job.

Can I be licensed as a mental health counselor in New York State?
Our mental health program is registered with New York State as a "Licensure Qualified Program." Students graduating from our program will have completed all of the educational requirements to obtain their License as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). The licensing regulations require that individuals accumulate 3,000 post-graduate contact hours (approximately 2 years) of experience supervised by a licensed mental health counselor and pass a national examination in order to be licensed.

Is the AU degree earned in New York State good in other states?
School Counseling - The degree you receive will meet the maximum requirements for certification in most states. New York also has reciprocity agreements with a majority of the states. This means that your training will be accepted as meeting the training requirements for certification in those states. You may still be required to pass a state exam or the Praxis Examination in certain states to be certified. Faculty will work with you to make sure that you know the different state requirements.

Mental Health - Most states do not participate in reciprocity agreements for licensure. Each state has different licensure requirements. Alfred is a GSA-NCC approved school and we offer the National Counselor Examination on campus. This exam is part of the licensure requirement in more than half the states. If you are interested in being licensed in a state other than New York, you will need to work with faculty to investigate the licensing regulations for that state, usually through the state's education department.

Housing in Alfred

Do graduates live on or off campus?
Most graduate students choose to live off campus, although some on-campus housing is available. Those who do live on campus often have graduate assistantships with the Residence Life Office.

How do I find available housing in the community?
The program's secretary maintains a list of landlords, potential housing, and other students who may be looking for roommates. Over the summer, this information is sent out to all counseling students. If you have any questions about housing, you may contact her at 607.871.2212.

Academics

Curriculum
Faculty
Practicum/Internship
Counseling Student Handbook
Program Assessment Reports:

Related Links

Applying to the Counseling Program
Financial Support
Graduate Admissions
Mission and Goals
Special Programs and Facilities
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Contact

Kevin Curtin
Assistant Professor and Program Director
Alfred University
1 Saxon Drive
Alfred, NY 14802
Ph: 607.871.2699
Email

Graduate Admissions
Alfred University
1 Saxon Drive
Alfred, NY 14802

Ph: 607.871.2115
Ph: 800.541.9229
Fx: 607.871.2198
Email