Frequently Asked Questions
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions about Admissions and about the Program below:
Do I have to take the GRE?
Yes. The general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be taken and results received by the Graduate College before your Graduate application is considered complete. Please allow time for the Graduate College to receive your scores and process and deliver your file to the Professional Counseling Program by the posted deadline.
The GRE General Test is the only test you need to take. GRE Subject tests are not required.
What parts of the GRE are required for this Program?
Only the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE General Test are considered. The Analytical Writing section is not considered.
Are there any exceptions to the GRE requirement?
If you have an earned master’s degree or doctorate from an accredited university, you may request that your GRE be waived by the Graduate College. If you have a graduate degree and wish for the GRE to be waived, contact the Graduate College to verify that the waiver has been recorded. The Admissions Coordinator, Dr. Cheryl Fulton, does not need to request the waiver for you.
The Educational Testing Service, who administers the GRE, retains scores for five (5) years. Therefore, if they have retained a score within their system and it is recorded by the Graduate College, that score can be used in lieu of the “waiver” ranking used, which equates to approximately 291 (150 verbal and 141 quantitative).
Can I substitute other tests for the GRE and eliminate my need to take this exam?
No. The Graduate College in conjunction with the Program requires the GRE. Other tests, such as the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the MCAT, cannot be substituted or considered in lieu of the GRE.
I have an earned graduate degree and therefore am eligible to have my GRE waived. Is that the best thing to do?
That depends. There are three major scenarios. First, if an application is submitted and a GRE score is waived, we have no way of knowing what the score might have been if taken previously or could be if taken again. Therefore, we insert a Verbal GRE score of 150 and a Quantitative GRE score of 141, totaling 291. Second, if the GRE is sent or contained within the current system, that score is used, whether it is lower or higher than the above-mentioned scores. Third, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) only maintains GRE scores for five years. Therefore, scores older than five years are not accessible. The applicant would have to consider whether retaking the GRE would benefit their overall ranking.
What if my GRE score is under the recommended minimum score of 291?
If you choose to apply with a low GRE score, your application portfolio will be reviewed and considered in its entirety. However, when making your decision whether to retake the GRE or not, please keep in mind the competitiveness of our Program and that only top ranking students are recommended for acceptance.
What if my GPA is below the required minimum of 3.0?
The Graduate College will automatically deny the application.
What can I do to try to raise my GPA?
After a bachelor’s degree is conferred, you can only take graduate level courses to raise your GPA. Since you are unable to take Professional Counseling Program courses prior to acceptance, if you wish to attend Texas State, you may choose to take other graduate level courses as a non-degree seeking student. To do this you will need to submit a new graduate college application, $10 application fee, and a non-degree seeking form with approval from the department you wish to take courses. You would need to contact the individual advisor for the other graduate program in which you are hoping to apply. Again, you will be applying to another graduate program in order to take their courses as a non-degree seeking student; you will not be applying to the Professional Counseling program as a non-degree seeking student to take counseling courses.
If you have not yet completed your undergraduate degree, speak with your major advisors to determine how to raise your GPA. Professional Counseling Program faculty cannot calculate these GPA changes, and the Graduate College is restricted from calculating GPAs until they receive an official application for admission.
Will I be accepted if my GRE and GPA meet the minimum requirements?
Not necessarily. Our Program has become increasingly competitive and in order to accommodate our current students and meet our CACREP Accreditation faculty-to-student-ratio standards, we are only able to accept a limited number of applicants. Only those top-ranking students per the number of spaces will be recommended for admission.
Are other factors considered in addition to the GRE and GPA?
Yes. In addition to the GRE and the GPA, we evaluate the qualitative parts of the application portfolio: the Statement of Purpose, your previous experience as evidenced by your Resume, and the information gleaned from the Recommendation Forms. All factors are taken into consideration when evaluating the admissions portfolio.
If I am an international student, what is required?
Unless an international student has earned a degree from an accredited United States university, the Graduate College requires a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in addition to the GRE.
May I submit my application after the deadline?
We begin reviewing applications immediately after the stated deadline and are not able to accommodate late submissions. Therefore, if you have a strong desire to enter the program in a specific semester, you must adhere to the application deadlines. Check the Graduate College website for the specific dates applications are available for each admissions cycle.
How early can I submit my application for a upcoming admission cycle?
February 15 is the deadline for Summer/Fall semester admission. Applications can be submitted starting in August of the prior year.
October 1 is the deadline for Spring semester admission. Applications can be submitted starting in January of the same year.
What is the acceptance rate to the Professional Counseling Program?
The average of the last three admissions cycles is 54%. The number of students we are able to accept each cycle is based on available space in order to ensure faculty to student ratios established by CACREP accreditation standards are maintained.
How long does it take to get through the program?
That varies greatly! If a student attends on a full-time basis, the MA degree (Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 60 hours; Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, 60 hours; School Counseling, 60 hours) generally takes about three years to progress through the course work, practicum, and internships. The final three courses (two courses for School Counseling) are the clinical sequence which must be taken in consecutive semesters: COUN 5689, Clinical Practicum, and two semesters of COUN 5389 Site-based Internship. Therefore, this is one complete year, if enrolled in all three semesters (fall, spring and summer). We recommend that you use the sample degree plan to plot your own individual plan, and when you are accepted into the Program, meet with your assigned faculty advisor.
There are many factors that impact the time required to complete a program. The number of courses taken any given semester can vary for each student. Some students take more classes during the summer than other students. Life events may occur that change or interrupt a student's plan. The Professional Counseling Program faculty members recognize that students are eager to graduate and work as professional counselors. However, please consider that people assimilate knowledge and skills at different rates. We suggest each student move through the program at a pace that makes it most likely that they will be knowledgeable, skillful, and ultimately successful, and not just as quickly as they can.
How long do I have to complete the program?
The degree should be completed within 6 years. As the six year mark approaches, previously taken coursework may be considered expired, and may need to be taken again. As you progress through the program and need to have a break in enrollment, speak to your assigned faculty advisor to establish a leave of absence. The Program Coordinator will also meet with you upon return to determine degree completion estimate, and any need to apply for an extension through the Graduate College. If one is needed, the Coordinator will submit that on the student's behalf.
What is considered a “full-time course load” for the Program?
Nine credit hours is considered full time. Students must get permission from the Program Coordinator to enroll for 12 credit hours after first discussing it with their assigned faculty advisor. Taking more than 12 hours per semester is not permitted and will not be approved.
What do the “Levels” mean in the sample degree plans?
You will note that the sample degree plans are in “Levels.” These are NOT semesters, but the levels will help you know the general order in which to take courses. Generally, one level can overlap with another, but always pay close attention to prerequisites. Please refer to the Graduate Catalog or the Courses Offered section of our website, which will provide you with the prerequisites, if any, for each course.
What time are classes offered?
In the fall and spring semesters, classes generally are offered at 3:30pm-6:20pm and at 6:30pm-9:20pm from Monday through Thursday.
In the summer, we offer most classes over a 10-week session, depending on faculty availability. Summer classes generally are offered from 10:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm‑9:30pm, Monday through Thursday.
Clinical Practicum courses typically run from 1pm-9pm, on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday on the San Marcos or Round Rock campus.
Class schedules are available at the CATSWEB page of the university website. This link contains the most current schedule of classes available.
Can I take all classes at my “preferred” campus?
Depending upon the speed with which you want to progress through the program, you might be able to take most classes (but not all) at your preferred campus, as we typically schedule courses on a rotation basis between San Marcos and Round Rock. However, students who want to progress through the program more efficiently will need to consider taking classes at their second-choice campus. The Professional Counseling Program is "housed" on the San Marcos campus, but we are lucky enough to have a second campus where we can offer classes (Round Rock).
Are online courses offered?
Most classes are offered in a face-to-face format. However, a few classes have been offered as hybrid and online courses, depending on the semester (meaning they are not always classified in this way). Classes that are offered as hybrid or online courses will be designated as such on the course registration page for upcoming semesters and carries an additional technology fee per credit hour. See CatsWeb for the few classes that may hold this designation.
Can I transfer in courses I have taken elsewhere?
Perhaps. First, some University conditions must be met: any course transferred in must be a 3 credit hour graduate level course; taken during the past 6 years; not already used toward the completion of another degree; bears a letter grade of "B" or higher ("credit", "pass", or "satisfactory" is unacceptable); and have been earned at a regionally accredited university. If you want to transfer in a course to replace a required COUN course, we must be able to verify that the completed course is equivalent to the course for which you want it to substitute, and that it meets all of the conditions noted above.
For us to review it appropriately, you must first be accepted into the program and then complete the TRANSFER CREDIT REQUEST online (Net ID log in required). Through this form, you will provide the Graduate Advisor (Program Coordinator) with a copy of the syllabus of the course you have taken elsewhere and want considered for transfer, and provide a copy of the transcript showing the course credit already earned elsewhere. A professor who typically teaches our course for which you want credit will review the syllabus to check for equivalency and make a recommendation to the Program Coordinator. The course must also meet all the conditions as listed in the first section of this answer.
Not all types of courses are eligible for transfer into our program: the program allows transfer of foundational level courses, but not intermediate level (2nd level) or clinical level courses (i.e., Basic Skills/Techniques, Group Counseling, Intermediate Methods, Clinical Practicum, Site-based Internship - see Degree plan for course levels).
Please note: The Professional Counseling Program Graduate Advisor (Program Coordinator, Dr. Ybanez-Llorente) processes requests to transfer in graduate credit hours only after the Transfer Credit Request has been submitted electronically with all necessary documents. Dr. Ybanez-Llorente then makes a recommendation to the Graduate College on behalf of the newly admitted applicant/student, with ultimate approval determined by the Dean of the Graduate College.
The Graduate College must have an official transcript showing the awarded credit from the previous institution to process and finalize transfer requests. Any questions regarding sending of transcripts must be directed to the Graduate College.
How many credit hours can I transfer in?
The Graduate College allows 6 hours. However, if you are working toward the 60 hour MA in Professional Counseling, you can request evaluation of transfer credit up to 12 hours (4 courses). This first requires completion of an online form: TRANSFER CREDIT REQUEST (Net ID log in required).
If your courses are reviewed and approved (see previous question/answer for requirements), the Graduate Advisor (Program Coordinator, Dr. Ybanez-Llorente) may request transfer on behalf of the new student, with ultimate approval determined by the Dean of the Graduate College.
Can I take classes before I am accepted?
No. Only those individuals who have been officially accepted into our Program can take Professional Counseling courses.
Non-degree seeking students are not eligible to enroll in counseling courses, so the program is not able to accommodate deficiency requests for licensure and/or certification.
Determination of whether courses will count for transfer will not be done for students enrolled at other universities who have not yet been accepted into our program.
Are there graduate assistantships (research, teaching assistantships) available?
Applications for the CLAS Department are available during the spring semester for assignment during the following fall/spring academic year. The opening date of these applications and deadline is announced through the Counseling program listserv. The Student Affairs office may have positions during a student's first year. Check their website using the menu above. Occasionally additional graduate assistantships are offered, so if you are accepted into the program, watch for an announcement in the student listserv. The CLAS Department provides specific information about graduate assistantships on the Departmental page above: New Student Info.
What about scholarships, financial aid, and grants?
This information is not available within the Professional Counseling Program/CLAS Department but instead through the Graduate College. Please check the Scholarships and Financial Aid Office for information regarding student scholarships.
Are Internships paid or unpaid?
Paid internships are scarce but allowable. Most graduate level internships are not paid positions. Please be advised that interns are ultimately responsible for securing their internship sites, but the Program provides many opportunities to explore available Internship sites prior to the student starting their clinical sequence. A good question for internships is whether they offer stipends.
Will a felony or misdemeanor conviction prohibit me from entering the program?We do not screen for convictions. However, as noted and further explained in the Informed Consent, the licensing and certification agencies require disclosure of felony or misdemeanor convictions and these could preclude you from earning your license or certification. See the website for the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council for the form to request a Criminal History Evaluation prior to applying to a graduate program to determine if specific criminal history will prevent licensure or certification.
What are the employment projections for professional counselors?
The national figures show future employment growth for 2014-2024: School counselors, 8%, average growth; mental health counselors (including marriage & family), 19-20%, faster than average growth. For Texas, through 2022, there is an expected 25.7% growth for mental health counselors; marriage and 27.5% growth for family counselors. School, guidance, and vocational counselors are expected to grow 29.6% in Texas between 2010-2020, the 2nd highest rate in the country for growth/need.
I have read all the admissions materials and the Frequently Asked Questions, and clicked all of the links on the degree plan emphasis, and I still have questions.
Be sure to explore the Professional Counseling Program website, which contains a wealth of information including the Professional Counseling Faculty/Staff Directory, Courses Offered, and examples of Degree Outlines. Furthermore, under the Current Students link, the Professional Counseling Program's Official Student Handbook provides detailed information regarding the program, including courses, practicum, internships, and licensure requirements.
If you have additional general admissions questions, contact the Professional Counseling Program administrative assistant at email@example.com . You may also leave them a message at 512-245-2579. If you have emphasis‑specific questions, contact the specific faculty advisors for each emphasis area (noted on the Faculty page and Degree concentration page).
Virtual Information Sessions are also held in the months prior to the deadline for each admission cycle. See the Admissions Information page for session dates and required registration links, where you are also able to submit specific questions to be answered during the information session.