D-Day…Be Vain ((by Melissa))

Are you in your last semester of undergraduate classes? Working hard for the money? Doing whatever you can to pass the time until decision day? You are not alone. You are all waiting to hear back from your respective schools that you have interviewed at. Whether you interview at one or twenty-one programs, a tough decision still rests in your hands: which program will be so lucky as to have you for the next two years?

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The four of us have been in your position. We are here to shed some light on things that helped us find our perfect Genetic Counseling program match.

But let me emphasize this point…THIS IS ALL ABOUT YOU. While it is true that a program has to extend you an offer to join them, you also have a powerful choice to either accept or respectfully decline that offer. How are you going to make such a decision?!

As you will quickly learn in your future Genetic Counseling career, each individual is different. What you are looking for in a program can be completely different from what another interviewee is looking for. 

My advice would be to identify what is important to you, and evaluate the schools you interviewed with based on this “checklist”. Items on the checklist are like SNP variants (slight changes in the DNA between individuals), so what I’ve listed here may not be identical to what you’ve had in mind. Which is OK, because I’m not you, and you aren’t me!

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Are you looking to be in a specific geographic area? Some interviewees applied to a group of schools in a specific region, while others applied all across the country. Were you comfortable with the surrounding area, and could you see yourself living there for the next two years of your life?

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Is money/financial aid an issue for you? If not, teach me your ways. If so, you also have a few things to consider: tuition – are you in-state? Can you get in-state? Are there employment options for you? 

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What type of exposures will you get in your training? Where are the rotations? Do you have the opportunities to engage in outside activities that will strengthen this clinical experience?

You are currently the greatest decider of your future, and you were the only one who interviewed with the program directors and faculty. As Austin mentioned it before, listen to your gut instincts! If you had a great experience with a program, remember why that was! Again you want to be as happy as possible with your two year training experience. You will become a great Genetic Counselor no matter where you go!

To touch on a less optimistic subject…there are some individuals who do not get an offer anywhere.  I like to think of rejection of a Genetic Counseling program as temporary. If you did not get an offer and know that Genetic Counseling is what you want to do, DO NOT give up. Speak with the program directors and ask them for advice as to how you could strengthen your application to become a sure candidate for future admission cycles. As Anna and Austin have said, you have the ability to overcome rejection, and that ability is perseverance. Reapplying shows more of your character than I can express, so do not be ashamed and continue to work for what you want.

We hope you aren’t stressing out too much, and can’t wait for another group of passionate Genetic Counselors to come around!

Best of luck!

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