Genetic Counseling Program FAQ

Where can I learn more about the Genetic Counseling Admissions Match system?

Please visit the following website for more information on the Match process: Genetic Counseling Admissions Match system

What is the University of Michigan looking for in a successful candidate?

We might be looking for you! We are looking for applicants who are balanced in their academic preparedness (GREs, GPA, and transcripts), have had an appropriate advocacy experience, and who can share some of themselves and their life experiences in responding to the essay questions. An applicant who is exceptionally strong in one area is not at any advantage, and a non-traditional academic experience is not a disadvantage. Returning and foreign students are welcomed. We do not require a minimum GPA or GRE scores. However, in the past successful applicants have generally scored on average greater than the 50th percentile on the GRE and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you have questions about our admissions standards, please contact us.

How many students apply? How many are accepted?

Each year we receive an average of 150-200 applications. The admissions committee, composed of faculty and students, selects applicants for interviews, and eight to ten students will then be accepted into the program.

Whom should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

Two of the three letters of recommendation should provide input from people in responsible positions who can comment on your academic, employment, or volunteer performance, character and interests. For undergraduates this often means professors, academic advisers, or employers. The third letter must be written by someone who is able to assess your advocacy experience. Letters from people who really know you, rather than from people who have impressive titles, are the most valuable. If you have been out of school for several years it may be more appropriate for your letters to come from individuals who know you now, rather than from college professors who will be less acquainted with your work and activities since graduation. As you decide who you want to ask to write a letter, think about your application in total and ask individuals who can really add depth to the story your application tells about you.

What sort of advocacy experience is Michigan looking for?

This experience can cover a broad range of undertakings, since different communities provide access to different advocacy opportunities. Overall, the experience should provide you with: 1) training in interviewing, crisis intervention, or other interpersonal communication skills, 2) an opportunity to work one-on-one, in person or by phone, with clients from a variety of backgrounds, and 3) supervision in some form. The advocacy experience should give you an opportunity to work with individuals around issues that do not have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ outcome, but are measured by the client’s sense that they have made their own choice. Community programs that can typically provide this type of experience include, but are not limited to: crisis intervention, unplanned pregnancy, domestic violence, teen runaway, hospice programs and various support groups. Programs with the appropriate level of responsibility will require that volunteers are supervised and undergo a training program before taking on responsibility. 

What should be included in my response to the essay questions?

Simply put, we want to hear more about you. The application itself provides a guide to your academic and employment timeline. The essays are an opportunity for you to tell us about your experiences and your thinking. This is your chance to let the admissions committee really learn more about who you are. It is a good idea to have someone with professional experience, of any type, read and critique your essay responses before you submit your application.

Does Michigan have rolling admissions or offer delayed admissions?

No. All applications received by January 5th are given equal consideration and are considered only for enrollment in the following fall.

Is the residency of an applicant considered in the admissions process?

No, it is not. We make no distinction in our admissions process between in-state, out-of-state or foreign applicants.

Do you look at my combined GRE scores or certain sections? Are my MCAT scores acceptable instead of GRE scores?

We look at each of your GRE scores (verbal, analytical, and quantitative) separately. No one section is more important than another. If you feel your scores do not reflect your abilities or some circumstance affected your performance, please include an explanation in your application. The usefulness of GREs is in their universality – unlike GPAs and letters of recommendation, the GRE is one commonality between all of our applicants. Since an MCAT score is not comparable, we do not accept MCAT scores in lieu of the GREs.

Can I visit the Genetic Counseling Program?

Yes! If you are interested please call Dr. Beverly Yashar at (734) 763-2933. Your visit could include a meeting with the director of the program and other faculty members, as well as meeting current students if classes are in session. The Genetic Counseling Program is on the Medical Campus. Central Campus is only a few blocks away and is the site of undergraduate classes as well as many student services. Walking tours of the Central Campus are available through the University. Call the Huetwell Visitors Center at (734) 647-5692 for information.

How are my transcripts evaluated?

Transcripts will be examined for confirmation that the prerequisite courses have been successfully completed. Specifically, this will include: 1) an upper level human genetics course (generally this means a 300-400 level course, even though the title may include the word ‘introduction’); 2) biochemistry (one semester is sufficient and each university will have different science prerequisites for enrollment in biochemistry); and 3) a general, introductory statistics course. In addition, we will be interested in the courses taken within your major and electives taken in other areas. If you are presently enrolled in a course that would qualify as a prerequisite and won’t therefore appear on your official transcript, be sure that this is brought to our attention. In short, we look at all years and all courses during your undergraduate experience.

When and where are interviews held?

Interviews are held during February and March in Ann Arbor, and are an opportunity for applicants to meet both faculty and students and to learn more about the program, the University, and Ann Arbor communities.

Are there additional experiences that could strengthen my application?

Many of our successful applicants have taken the time to meet with practicing genetic counselors. This experience allows them to gather first-hand knowledge about the profession. If you live in a community that has genetic counselors, we encourage you to meet with them to talk about their professional experiences and, if possible, to job shadow. If this is not possible, then you might arrange to talk with a counselor via e-mail or over the phone. The information gathered can give you very helpful insights. You can find genetic counselors willing to talk with prospective students by going to the web site for the National Society of Genetic Counselors and clicking on the “Quick Link” entitled “Find a Genetic Counselor.”  If you have this experience, please make sure to highlight this in your application, either in the essay or in your resume.  If you do not have this experience, we encourage you to work to gain as much knowledge as you can about genetic counseling so that you have a good basis to the responses to the essay questions.