Frequently Asked Questions: Admissions

What is the application process?

Our application process occurs once a year and is now online. To begin an application, please visit our online application portal. You will need to open an account, but once created, you can return to your application and make changes any time before the application deadline. Within this system you will complete your application, indicate references for us to contact, and upload supporting documents. If you are having difficulty uploading a document or need to send it by mail or fax please contact our Graduate Studies Office at 914.395.2371. Please note that your application will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed until all of the necessary documentation is received.

A nonrefundable application fee of $60 must be submitted upon completion and submission of your online application. After you review and submit your application, you will receive information about submitting an online payment. Payments may also be made by check or money order to Sarah Lawrence College, and submitted via mail. An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you have attended is required prior to enrollment in the graduate program.

What is the application process timeline?

Applications and all supporting documents are due December 15 for enrollment in the fall of that following calendar year.  In your online portal review page, incomplete/pending application materials are listed. If there are further questions about the status of submitted materials please call our Office of Graduate Studies at 914.395.2371. Applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted through e-mail in February or March to schedule a program interview for March or April. All genetic counseling programs in North America, including Sarah Lawrence College, release final admissions decisions on the same date, called Universal Notification Day. This typically occurs in late April, but the exact date changes year to year.

Do you require GREs?

As of the 2015-2016 cycle, GRE scores will be required. The code to submit your GRE scores to Sarah Lawrence is 2810. The GRE exam must be taken by the application deadline.

Do you accept international students and how does immigration work?

Yes, we do. For immigration questions, please contact Alba Coronel, DSO, Graduate Studies Office.

Are there additional documents for international students?

Yes. Students not educated in an English-speaking country need to submit their TOEFL scores, an English translation of their transcript, and a conversion of their grades to GPA.

Can I enroll in the program on a part-time basis?

The program is intended to be completed on a 21-month full time basis. However, we will consider requests for part-time status on a case-by-case basis. The request for part-time status must be submitted to the Program Director in writing prior to the Universal Notification Day.

If I applied to the program in the past, but was not accepted, how do I reapply?

If you applied during the 2014-2015 cycle, you can login to your online application portal using the same e-mail address. If your e-mail address has changed please contact Graduate Studies at 914.395.2371 so your profile can be updated. After you create a new application, some fields and supporting documents will pre-populate. These represent data we think is less likely to change year-to-year, although you are encouraged to update any information necessary. We require a new personal statement, new CV, and updated letters of recommendation. In addition, you will be asked to update us about what you have done since you last applied to strengthen your application. If you previously applied before 2014, you will need to create an account and complete the application online. Please contact Graduate Studies if previous supporting documentation (such as transcripts) have not changed so they can transfer them to your online application.

How many applicants are interviewed and accepted each year?

The Joan H. Marks Graduate Program in Human Genetics is the largest genetic counseling program in North America. We typically accept between 25-30 students but the exact number may change year to year.   Likewise, the number of applications, number of interviews, and number of individuals on the wait list also change year to year. On average we tend to interview approximately 50 percent of our applicants.

What are the prerequisites?

Please click here for a list of our prerequisites.

How do I know if a course I have taken fulfills one of the prerequisite courses?

This is a very common question but unfortunately it is difficult for us to assess courses based on title or syllabus. As such, if you have questions about any of the courses you have taken, we highly recommend you speak with that professor or your faculty advisor to see if he/she feels the course will prepare you for graduate level work in that area.

Does it matter where I take prerequisite courses?

No. However, these courses need to be at least an undergraduate level and from an accredited school. Online courses are acceptable.

Can I submit an application if I do not have all the requirements complete?

All of the prerequisites are required before beginning the program. They are not required by the application deadline. However, the more complete the application, the more information we have to evaluate your candidacy. It is not uncommon for applicants to have 1 prerequisite course pending. If you have two or more prerequisites pending please contact us to let us know when they will be completed.

I have not been able to shadow. What should I do?

We recommend trying to arrange shadowing in various genetic counseling specialties, as it provides exposure and insight into the field. If you live in the area of a genetic counseling training program, they may have suggestions of genetic counselors that can take prospective students. However, we recognize shadowing is not always possible due to geographic region, HIPAA, and other factors. If you are not able to shadow, we recommend gaining exposure in other ways. These can include, but are not limited to, informational interviews with genetic counselors in different specialties, attending genetics grand rounds at a local hospital, and researching the field through websites such as www.nsgc.org.

Do I need to have worked on a crisis hotline?

No. While working on a crisis hotline is great preparation for genetic counseling, it is not the only way to obtain counseling/advocacy experience.The setting and your role within the setting both contribute to gaining interpersonal and counseling skills. For example, if you volunteer with Planned Parenthood, a role in which you take histories or provide support to patients would better prepare you than a role answering phones. Other options include hospice work, working with families affected by disability, or being a patient liaison. In addition to gaining counseling experience, working one-on-one with individuals dealing with a medical situation or other difficultly provides applicants with important insight and exposure to working in a helping profession such as genetic counseling.

What should I expect during the interview process?

If you are invited for an interview, we will e-mail you the directions and details of what to expect for that day. We interview multiple candidates on the same day. During your visit at Sarah Lawrence, you can expect to learn about the program, have 2-3 interviews with members of our Admissions Committee, have lunch with current students, learn about logistics such as housing and financial aid, take a tour of the campus, and ask any questions you may have. Lunch is provided for all applicants, and a morning or afternoon snack will also be provided accordingly. All meals will include vegetarian options. If you have further dietary restrictions, please bring food accordingly. We do have a refrigerator and microwave available to you.

What should I wear to the interview?

Dress should be professional, but a suit is not required. We want you to be comfortable during your visit, so we recommend layers as our rooms can range greatly in temperature. If you plan to take a tour of the campus, we highly recommend bringing comfortable shoes.

Where can I stay during the interview?

Detailed information about these options will be provided at the time you are invited for an interview. Most applicants stay in a local hotel, but there are limited spaces available to stay with a current student in the program.

What if I cannot come to Sarah Lawrence for an interview?

We feel an in-person interview is the best way for our Admissions Committee to assess the suitability of a candidate. Likewise, we feel visiting our campus and meeting with our program faculty and students is the best way for students to assess if a program will meet their educational needs and goals. If, however, traveling to New York for an in-person interview presents a hardship, we will consider Skype interviews on a case-by-case basis.