UConn Genetic Counseling Program Pre Meeting Checklist
Do You Think You Might Be Interested in Genetic Counseling as a Career?
Genetic counseling is a profession that requires a personal investment of time, savings, and a dedication to rigorous studies.
Before you request an appointment with a faculty member of the UConn Genetic Counseling Program...
Please review the UConn Genetic Counseling Program website and the checklist below so that you are able to answer questions about your interests and goals.
- Browse the information provided on the web pages of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC). Once you have browsed the NSGC website, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What about genetic counseling sparks your interest?
- When you imagine yourself as a genetic counselor, what do you envision?
- Why is this career the right one for you?
- Why do you think you would make a good genetic counselor?
- Do you have any concerns about the profession?
- If you have concerns, how could you go about resolving them?
- Review the list of accredited genetic counseling programs: Accredited Programs. Based on location, to which schools would you be interested in applying? Of those schools, select your top five and investigate: What are the prerequisites for these five programs? What are the recommended career-related experiences for these five programs? They may include...
- Volunteerism, e.g., serving as a summer camp counselor for a support group such as Camp Compassion.
- Community outreach
- Professional development
- Leadership: career or community-related, leading a group of people or an organization
e.g. service on a local or national administrative committee, leading an effort related to health care
For example, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Tomorrow's Leaders College Program.
- Shadowing a genetic counselor across specialties is an excellent way to find out more information about the day-to-day responsibilities of the profession. Genetic counseling shadowing opportunities may be difficult to locate in your area. You are encouraged to use alternative, digital resources to explore the genetic counseling profession. Examples include:
- View the JEMF Master Genetic Counselor Series through NSGC
- Listening to podcasts: Ex. DNA Today: A Genetics Podcast, NSCG Podcast Series
- Attending webinars: Ex. GC for a Day or the Speaker Series titled Phenotips
- Attending virtual conferences hosted by the American Society of Human Genetics, American College of Medical Genetics, Genetics Society of America, National Society of Genetic Counselors, New England Regional Genetics Group, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, and other regional genetics organizations
- Scheduling informational virtual interviews with GCs. Study the "how-tos" and "don't-dos" of informational interviewing
- Reading GC blog articles: Ex. My Gene Counsel, The DNA Exchange
- Watching GC YouTube channels: Ex. Katie Lee CGC, Dena DNA
- Making connections within GC mentorship networks
- In addition to shadowing a practicing GC or investigating the career using the alternative methods mentioned above, there are other things that competitive applicants should demonstrate. This includes obtaining experience with patients or clients. Do you have experience working or volunteering in a clinical area? For example, working in a hospital setting or providing counseling services?
- If you do, can you clearly explain your experience? Spend some time polishing the resume to fit your needs. Excellent how-to’s and don’t-dos available on LinkedIn or at career centers
- Top Resume Hints
- Words to Remove from Your Resume
- If you do not, how can you acquire this experience before applying to a GC program? Hint: you can start by locating opportunities at UConn Community Outreach.
- Identify GC career opportunities. Visit Indeed, and search "genetic counseling" in the state you wish to work in upon graduation or look for remote positions.
- How many jobs result from your search?
- What do you find most interesting about job titles and descriptions?
- Do you see jobs in industry areas, such as with a genetic testing company?
- Do you see jobs in academic hospitals, such as UConn Health?
- Which specialties are represented in the resulting positions?
- Have you identified a specialty that you would like to learn more about?
- As an interested student, it is your responsibility to become familiar with the labor market and research the GC career outlook. Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website to review the GC Occupational Outlook Handbook and recent Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics. These websites publish information about the current number of jobs, projected job growth, salaries, jobs in all regions of the U.S., and more.
- Consider joining a professional genetics organization, such as the organizations listed above, as a student member.
- If you are a student or alumni of the University of CT, consider becoming an active member of the ISG Genome Ambassador Program.
- The GRE General Test is a standardized test that measures students' verbal and quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. Many universities are removing the GRE as a requirement for applications. Prospective students should do their due diligence by reviewing programmatic websites for specifics about the GRE. UConn does not require and will not review GRE scores
- Have you found any recently published reviews about the profession in PubMed. Cohen L. The de-coders: A historical perspective of the genetic counseling profession. Birth Defects Res. 2020 Mar 1;112(4):307-315. doi: 10.1002/bdr2.1629. PMID: 32115904. or Uhlmann WR, Hoskovec J, Freivogel M. 40 years and beyond for the National Society of Genetic Counselors: Reflections on genetic counseling practice. J Genet Couns. 2020 Dec;29(6):888-893. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1301. Epub 2020 Jul 8. PMID: 32643233.
Now that you've reviewed this checklist, please review the program website for information about pre-requisites, academics, our faculty, costs, schedules, and more. If you have questions not answered by the information provided on the website or checklist, please email our Program Administrator, Jessica Williamson at email@example.com.