Genetic Counseling

Genetic Counseling

WHAT ARE THE ACADEMIC PREREQUISITES?

In making decisions about admissions, genetic counseling graduate schools consider a range of factors that may vary from one school to another. All prerequisite courses usually need to be completed with a grade of C or above.

It is recommended, and often required, that you complete the following courses:*

Biology 1 year w. lab (generally BIO 150 and BIO 227)

Anatomy & Physiology (BIO 243) is recommended

Genetics (BIO 233)

Microbiology (BIO 231)

Chemistry 1 year Gen Chem w. lab (CHEM 125 & 126 OR CH/BI 125, 126, & 227 OR CHEM 121, 123, & 126)

1 year organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 247 & 248)

Biochemistry (CHEM 379) and lab (CHEM 373)

Math & Stats Calculus (MATH 119 or 120) , Statistics – (STAT 212)
Psychology PSYCH 125

 

Prerequisites from different schools (to demonstrate variations in prerequisites)

WHAT STANDARDIZED TEST WILL I NEED TO TAKE?

WHAT CENTRALIZED APPLICATION WILL I USE?

WHO IS THE DESIGNATED ADVISING SPECIALIST?

Professor Laura Listenberger (Associate Professor of Biology & Chemistry)

Office: RNS 380 Phone: 507-786-3804 Email: listenbe@stolaf.edu

WHAT ARE THE EXPERIENTIAL PREREQUISITES?*

  • Shadowing: It is generally recommended that you shadow a number of genetic counselors in different settings for 50-100+ hours.
  • Research: It is highly recommended that you complete at least one 10-week research experience. You do not have to find a research opportunity that is related to genetic counseling.
  • Volunteering: It is highly recommended that you volunteer in a position, starting as early as your first year at St. Olaf. Although your volunteer role can be in healthcare or outside of healthcare, we recommend that you aim to volunteer in both capacities. It is generally recommended that you get advocacy experience volunteering as a counselor (e.g., crisis counseling, suicide prevention hotline, bereavement counseling) or working with individuals who have a genetic conditions or disability.Genetic counseling graduate schools are looking for applicants with sustained and meaningful volunteer experiences. They don’t want students who are simply checking the “volunteer box.”
  • Internship(s): Gain experience in the field through interning at a domestic violence center, a department of health, a genetic counseling clinic, a hospital etc. Internships outside of genetic counseling are highly beneficial as well.
  • Leadership: It is strongly recommended that you serve in a leadership capacity (president of an organization, academic tutor, service on an advisory board, etc.). Leaders can enhance their communication and organizational skills, as well as learn how to interact with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds.

WHAT DO GENETIC COUNSELORS ACTUALLY DO?

Genetic counselors provide a critical service to individuals and families considering undergoing genetic testing by helping them identify their risks for certain disorders, investigate family health history, interpret information and determine if testing is needed. The genetic counseling process helps people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.

Most genetic counselors see patients in a clinic or hospital setting, and often work with obstetricians, oncologists and other doctors. Like doctors, genetic counselors can work in a variety of settings and provide different services. They may provide general care or specialize in one or more areas, including:

Prenatal and preconception: For women and their partners who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant
Pediatric: For children and their family members
Cancer: For patients with cancer and their family members
Cardiovascular: For patients with diseases of the heart or circulatory system and their family members
Neurology: For patients with diseases of the brain and nervous system and their family members

In addition to counseling, genetic counselors also communicate with laboratories about the tests they offer, advocating for patients with their insurance companies and notifying patients about their test results.

WHAT OTHER RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AT ST. OLAF?

Study Abroad: Yes –  you CAN study abroad as a pre-health student! Speak with your advisor early in order to plan for when a semester or year abroad will fit into your academic plan.

Student organizations:

Full list

Alpha Epsilon Delta: Preprofessional Health Honor Society

Pre-health Professionals Club

Pre-health Moodle site

Pre-health Google calendar

Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry

Genetic Counseling Resource Guide

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

*Ultimately, it is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they complete all prerequisite coursework and experiential opportunities required for successful admission to genetic counseling graduate school.

 

To download and print, please click on this link: Genetic Counseling