Deep-Dive into the Online Counseling Master’s Programs

Deep-Dive into the Online Counseling Master’s Programs

Webinar Highlights

Check out these key moments from our recent webinar, Deep Dive into the Online Counseling Master’s Programs, featuring a panel of faculty presenters:

  • Latoya Pierce, PhD, Executive Director, St. Bonaventure University Counseling Programs
  • Adam Holden, PhD, Director of Student Experience, St. Bonaventure University Counseling Programs
  • Mia O’Brien, Director of Program Administration, St. Bonaventure University Counseling Programs

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Schedule time to speak with an enrollment advisor to learn more about the online graduate counseling programs at St. Bonaventure University.


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Katie Macaluso: Hello everyone and welcome.

Thank you for joining us today for our webinar covering the Online Master of Science and Education Counseling Programs at St. Bonaventure University. Today, we're especially excited to have three counseling faculty joining us to share more information about the programs.

Before we get started, I would like to cover a few quick housekeeping items here. You are in broadcast only mode, which means you can hear us but we cannot hear you. During the webinar, please feel free to type any questions that you might have in the question and answer box as you think of them. That's located right at the bottom of your screen. We've reserved some time at the close of the presentation to answer your questions. Then, moving on here to our speaker slide.

I'm excited to introduce our speakers for today. I'm Katie Macaluso, and I'll be your moderator. From our faculty, we're really excited to have Dr. Latoya Pierce, Executive Director for the Counseling Programs. Dr. Adam Holden, Director of Student Experience, Mia O'Brien, Director of Program Administration, and then from our admissions team, Regina Snyder, one of our enrollment advisors.

Here is our agenda on screen. We'll be talking about St. Bonaventure University, providing an overview of the online counseling programs. We'll be touching on the residency experiences, as well as going into more detail about the internship and practicum. Then we did have one update to the agenda, we were really hoping to have a student perspective on the program, we did have a little bit of a change in plan there. We have a video from the student instead, that we'll be sharing with you today. Then finally, we'll be closing with our admissions requirements and next steps, and then we plan to save room at the end for any questions that you might have.

With all that said, I'm going to go ahead and turn it over to Regina to talk just a little bit about St. Bonaventure University.

Regina Snyder: Hi, guys, welcome to the webinar today.

Some of you, I may have chatted with on the phone before, but I am excited to go over some of the program details today and a little bit about St. Bonaventure. St. Bonaventure is a private university, we were founded in 1858 in western New York. Our programs are rooted in the Franciscan values, including ethics, empathy, and compassion, and we have small course sizes as well, and allow for close faculty interaction. The team that you see online today and you're talking to, you'll have close interaction with them as well.

We're all about getting to know you and building those relationships with you guys. We look forward to going over more of the presentation and telling you more about this. I will turn it over to Dr. Pierce.

Dr. Latoya Pierce: Thank you, Regina. I'm Dr. Latoya Pierce, I am the Executive Director of the Counselor Education Program, and I want to talk to you today and provide a bit of an overview about the counseling program, the different tracks and concentrations in our program, and talk a little bit about the residency experience.

I want to start, just globally in talking about the counselor education program. Our program has two specific tracks, one is school counseling, one is clinical mental health counseling. Both of those tracks are 60 credit hours. I'll cover a little bit of what's on the slide. But I also want to give you a little bit extra in saying that, that 60 credit hour mark is important, and here's why. Most licensure boards, no matter what state you live in, and also most certification boards, if you're going into school counseling, most of them now have moved to a 60-credit hour credential.

They're looking to see that the master's program that you're coming from, there were 60 credit hours in that program. I want to start with talking about the school counseling track or school counseling concentration. This one is, if you desire to work in a K through 12 setting, you want to be a school counselor either in primary, middle or high school. In this program, you're learning a lot of classroom theory, but you're also learning how to apply it in a variety of different field work settings. You can look at the bottom of the slide, you see our program outcomes.

We have a 95% graduation rate, and a 95% licensure exam pass rate. The program specifics, the way that the curriculum is developed, when you first come into the program, you're taking a lot of what we call “core” or required courses. This is whether you're in school counseling or mental health counseling. You're taking some of those very similar courses, like your theories course, like your techniques course, multicultural counseling. But then as you matriculate further into your curriculum, you get into what we call track specific courses.

Those are going to be courses that are specific to your training as a school counselor or your training as a clinical mental health counselor. In that school counseling track, 60 credit hours, 39 credits are what we call again, those core courses. 15 credit hours are what we call specialty courses. Those are focused primarily on school counseling. Then you have six credit hours of residency, and I'll talk a little bit about the residency experience a little bit later. But those specialty courses in school counseling, you're definitely going to have internship 1 and internship 2 and a K through 12 setting.

You have management of school counseling programs, seminar in school counseling program, that class is going to teach you a little bit about ethics and professional issues in school counseling, but also bring in current topics and current trends in school counseling. Then the other specialty course is going to be school counseling and special education. Clinical mental health counseling, it's set up very similarly, you're going to have your core courses at the very beginning of your matriculation, and this particular track, of course, is for students who are wanting to work in more of a mental health, community-based setting.

It might be a mental health agency, might work in a hospital setting, social service agency.

Again, you can look at the bottom, our program outcome is very high graduation rate, very high licensure exam pass rate. Similar to the school counseling track, you have 39 credits of those core courses, 15 specialty credit hours in clinical mental health counseling, and then the six credit hours of residency. The practicum is set up, they're very parallel, in that you're getting those same core courses, but you're then delving into those track specific courses.

For clinical mental health counseling, again, you have two internships in mental health settings. We have a seminar in mental health counseling, management of clinical mental health counseling programs, and then you also have a family and couples counseling course. The residency that was highlighted in both of those previous slides, you have six credit hours of residency, and I want to talk for a second about what the residency experience is like, and why it's important for you, as a prospective student.

Residency really, prior to the pandemic and COVID- 19, residency experiences were held on campus, and it was an opportunity for you to come and connect with the campus community, come and connect with faculty that you would interact with online in the program, but also an opportunity for you to connect with the other students in your program and in your cohort group.

There were multiple, wonderful reasons why we had that residency set up the way that it was set up. Then also, I want you to think of residency as a very brief period of not only workshops, but also experiential learning, because the format for residency is a three-day residency; day one, day two are workshops. Day three is experiential hands-on learning. You work on day three in small groups with faculty in the program, on your skill development, on technique, on marrying the theory to the application piece.

As an online student, the idea was that you would come on campus to do those residences, of course, due to COVID- 19, we now offer virtual residences. In the future, we may resume with our on-campus residencies. For now, they're virtual. The residencies take place, summer 1 and summer 2. Whenever you come into the program, your first summer term is when you have residency 1 and your second summer term, at the end of summer of year 2, would be residency 2.

The content in residencies is very developmental, in that you're going to have more advanced workshop presentations in residency 2, and it's going to try to match the courses that you've taken in that previous year. Residency 1, that content is going to match more of the courses that you've taken up to that point. The beauty of residency is that we can bring in guest speakers, not only from our own faculty who have varying areas of expertise, but also from experts from around the country as well.

We see that as an opportunity to extend the learning and extend the topics that we touch on in our courses, and really give you an opportunity again, to connect what you're learning in the courses to the application piece, into what you'll be doing before you head into your clinical courses; practicum, internship 1 an internship 2. This slide that's up right now, again, is just some pictures from when we had our residency experience on campus.

Again, you see a lot of interactions, small group work, especially on day three.

I can tell you from the feedback that we get from students, the students really enjoy the residency experience, and it really is a culmination point in each year, where they matriculate through their coursework, and then they have this experience where they really get to put that in action before they get into the clinical work and clinical part of their matriculation. These are, again, just some photos of what that residency experience will look like, and what that will be like for you as a prospective student coming into the program.

Next up, we'll hear from our Director of Program Administration, Ms. Mia O'Brien, and she'll talk about practicum and internship.

Mia O'Brien: Hi, everyone, I'm so excited to talk to you about practicum and internships. It's one of the most exciting and important parts of your program, I feel. You'll be completing 100 hours of practicum clinical experience, and this just allows you to gain an opportunity and to really delve into either school counseling or clinical mental health and get an idea of the skill development that you'll need as you move into your 600 hours of internship the following semesters.

Then you'll do an internship 1 for 300 hours and then an internship 2 for another 300 hours. So, three semesters of clinical experience. Really, we just partner together. I will work with you and communicate with you well in advance of your clinical experience, and walk you through the process, as you'll go and research different placements, either schools or clinical mental health organizations around your area where you live, and I will have you put those on a form format for me.

At that time, I reach out to those placements that you're interested in, to see if they will take you for your practicum and or your internships, and go through the whole process. I share a lot of information with them, and we develop what's called a memorandum of agreement, which really is an agreement between the school or organization and St. Bonaventure University. Once all of that is in place, and they agree to take you, then you're all set, and you develop a schedule with your placement site for that particular clinical experience, and that particular semester.

One of the things that I do like to talk about right up front, that is one of the number one questions that I get from students, and that is can you hold a full- time job, at the same time doing your internship? The quick answer to that is no, you will be required to do approximately 24 hours a week in your internship, and you will also be taking coursework. So, holding a full- time job and doing that is extremely difficult.

Have students been able to do that in the past? Yes, but they have been in situations where their full- time employer has provided them with flexible hours, and they were able to work that out. Do make sure that you are aware of that and you start to make those plans now before you're ready to start your internship. Then the next big question that I get is, can I do my placement in my place of work?

Again, the quick answer to that is no. However, we do have again, some clinical mental health employers and some have worked out a very flexible schedule because they want to keep the employee and they want to support them. Sometimes they do work out. In those circumstances, we do require that we receive a schedule of work, versus a schedule of your internship. We can see the clear delineation between the two of those.

Throughout the process, you will have to go through background checks and fingerprinting, and obtain your ACA, your Counseling Association membership, which will also have liability insurance. I collect a copy of your resume, and really the process can be very quick, and the process sometimes can be very long, depending on where you live, depending on the placements that you're interested in the organizations begin about six months in advance, and they have a very specific process for their internship, whereas they go through an interview process and they go through a screening process.

Again, sometimes the internships can be attained very quickly, and other times, they won't, it will take quite a long time. The communication between yourselves and myself is sometimes daily and sometimes weekly. I am very good at getting back to individuals, especially via emails, a little bit more difficult on the phone, because I am on the phone frequently with placement sites. But nonetheless, I do make sure that I communicate with you a great deal because I know that, it's a very exciting time for you.

I really want to make sure that you obtain a placement site that you're happy with and that you get the greatest experience from. I do want to mention quickly that for New York State students, as of last year, there has been a change, and you do need 300 hours of kindergarten through eighth grade experience, and 300 hours in nine through 12. Those of you going into school counseling, just be aware of that, that you will need to make sure that you get that diversity.

I highly encourage all school counselors, no matter where you live to get that experience as well. I think being very well rounded in all of the grade levels is important, no matter what your state requirements are. That pretty much is the summary of practicum and internships, and like Regina said, we can answer questions at the very end. What's coming up next is, we have one of our students who has just finished up her first internship, Jessica Stein, and she's just going to share a few words about her own experience with you.

Wonderful, thanks so much Mia. I'm going to go ahead and push Jessica's video. I would ask all attendees, please let us know via the chat if, for any reason you can't hear the video.

Jessica Stein [Video]: Hi, this is Jessica Stein, I'm in the School Counseling Program at St. Bonaventure.

What I like most about my online master's program at SBU is how collaborative it is with other students, and how much support I get from my professors. I wasn't sure what to expect since I live almost 3, 000 miles away from the school on a different time zone, and I was really nervous that it would just feel like I was working on a computer all the time. But my professors are so personable, they're always available for questions. They're so knowledgeable, and really some of the best academics I've had the privilege of working with, or being taught by, over my entire academic education.

I really love getting to meet my classmates and doing group projects with them and getting to hear about their knowledge and experience, and so many of them have such great insights. Again, they're all over the country. So, it's a really unique opportunity to get to connect with what will eventually be your future colleagues in your profession, and really have different perspectives from all over the country. I love the coursework, it's challenging, but very approachable. I feel like I've learned so much, and I just started my practicum, but I love the guidance and support that my class offers every week while I'm in practicum.

It's an opportunity to troubleshoot, be really honest and vulnerable about your challenges and concerns, and it just feels like a very healthy, productive learning environment. I feel like I'm going to leave this program, really with the knowledge to be a good school counselor. I'm not just going to be dropped into the deep end, with no understanding of what I'm doing, I'm going to really have an idea and be excited to get out there and start working in the profession that I have training in.

Great. With that, I'm going to go ahead and turn it over to Dr. Holden to talk a little bit more about counseling.

Dr. Adam Holden: Hi, everybody. I want to talk to you a little bit about whether or not a counseling program and our counseling program are a good fit for you. In any field, in any career path, one of the questions that we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we are a good fit for the profession, and whether or not the experience that we're going to have is the ones that we want. That's certainly true of any program, where you have to invest as much time, effort, energy and money as a master's degree program.

Let's start with the things that you can expect from our program. I think we speak to the video a little bit that you've just heard. I think you can expect very well qualified core faculty, who come from a really solidly diverse background, but who have absolute hands on and practical experience in the field. I think that you can expect a program which is genuinely responsive to your needs.

We understand that our students have multiple roles in life, and that being a student is only one of those roles, they're probably a full time employee, they're probably a parent, they may be a sibling, and they may have other commitments. We understand that our program, in order for it to be genuinely successful, needs to be flexible, needs to be adaptive to your needs, and we pride ourselves on the fact that we do that without diminishing the standards or the expectations for you as students.

Having high expectations, and having a standard that we believe is critical for us to achieve is not something that we apologize for at all. In fact, it's something that we embrace, and that we challenge our students to embrace. That being said, all of that's wrapped up within the values of the university as a whole. Being treated with dignity and respect, asking you to treat people with dignity and respect is something that you should expect all the time.

Thus, making sure that we show kindness to others, that we demonstrate the values of decency, fortitude, caring, are key elements that you should come to expect from those who are your peers in the program, but also from those that you interact with in the program. Now, for my part, I spend my time talking about student dispositions quite a lot, and you can see on the slide here, when you come into a counseling program, in order for you to become a professional counselor, any program that is accredited and all good programs are, have to pay attention to disposition.

What does that mean? That means that as you come through our program, we're not just going to look at your academic ability in the program, but we're also going to look at the characteristics that make you, or that have the potential to make you a really good counseling candidate. You can see on the slide here, that those dispositions involve commitment, openness, respect, integrity, and self- awareness. As a core faculty, we come together every seven weeks, every two months, and we talk about our students and we talk about them in relation to their dispositions.

Are there individuals that need a little bit more support? Are there some students that need to think about their openness to new ideas or the way they react when they're given critical feedback? Are there people who we would like to be a little bit more overt in getting involved in groups to be able to take leadership a bit more? Are there are those that we would like to be a bit more sensitive when they're speaking to others? Our job is to support and to guide, not just your academic travel through the program, but your dispositional travel, because we know that it's critically important, by the time you get ready to go out on some of the placements that Mia has just been talking to you about, that you have the confidence, and that you have the characteristics that you need to be successful in that field.

When you come into the program, there'll be a variety of checks, starting with the open orientation sessions that we do at the very beginning of the program. Then through the residency programs that Dr. Pierce was talking to you about earlier, each one of those are going to be dispositional checkpoints for you, so that we can mentor you and guide you to make sure that you've developed those dispositions. So that by the time you leave, as you've just heard, you feel really confident about going into the field, and about being fully equipped in the areas that you need.

You can expect our support with that, but at the same time, you can expect us to hold you to a high standard. We like to think that that's a good thing for our students. I know that by the time our students graduate, they agree with us, but sometimes on the journey, it's a little bit different. But on the whole, we do extraordinarily well. I think that those of us in the program today that will talk to you about our graduates, were immensely proud, not just of their academic ability, but of the type of people that they are, of the character that they have, of the values that they have.

As a result, we're really comfortable growing ambassadors for our counseling program, for the School of Education, for the university, but more importantly, for the counseling industry as a whole. At this point, I am going to turn it back to Regina, because I know that she's going to talk to you a little bit more about the admissions process.

Regina Snyder: Thank you so much, Adam.

I appreciate that. When it comes to your application, and next steps and how to apply, what you really want to do is make an appointment with an enrollment advisor. We can talk to you over the phone, we're going to learn a little bit about your background. Spend some time explaining the program details, like we've just gone over a little bit today in each of the slides that you've seen, and we're going to guide you in the application process when you start to apply. When you get ready to apply, we'll go over your educational background, and we'll talk about your GPAs and things like that through your whole educational background.

You have to have at least a minimum of a 2. 75 GPA cumulative, with all your college and background experience in order to apply. We go over that, first, and then you have to have a finished bachelor's degree. So, completed bachelor's degree and a 2. 75 or above GPA, and you are eligible to apply to the program. When you get ready to apply, what we're going to need for the application is going to... Just when you fill out the application, you'll put your personal information in, you'll list the names of two recommenders, at least two recommenders that can recommended for the program.

If you've been in a recent program in the last three years, one of those will have to be an academic recommendation. But both of those need to be professional. If you've been at a school longer than three years, you won't have to have that academic, but we do recommend academic and professional references. We don't take friends and family and personal references. Then we'll need your college transcripts. When I guide you in the process, or when an enrollment advisor guide you in the process, we'll give you examples on where to authorize those transcripts to and we'll walk through this entire process with you.

There's a personal statement, also. There are six questions that we give you guys to look at those and we'll review those with you and you'll answer those six questions, and that will be your personal statement for the university. Again, to recap that, 2. 75 or above GPA, a finished bachelor's degree, your fill out your basic application with your personal information, and the names of two recommenders, and then we will order those transcripts and get that file complete, along with your personal statement six questions. Once that is complete, we will submit you over for review of eligibility.

When your advisor gets the information back from the graduate admissions office that you're eligible for an interview, we'll talk about different times that are available and what works best for you, and we'll schedule a time and talk to you about what that interview will be about, and what to expect from that. Then you'll have a Zoom video required interview with the faculty. Within a matter of a week or two from your interview date with the faculty, we will hear about your acceptance.

Those are the steps on how to apply, but the first thing is just to schedule some time with us over the phone, and let us talk to you a little bit about the program and learn some of your background, and we'll get your application started.

Katie Macaluso: Wonderful. Thank you so much, Regina.

We're going to go ahead and transition over to our Q& A section at this point.

I'm sure with all this information, it's probably brought up even more questions that you might have. So, please go ahead, and if you haven't done so already, drop those questions for us in the chat below the slide view, and we'll try to get through as many questions as we can today. Taking a look at the questions now. Our first question, I'm going to send this to Dr. Pierce. The question is, why is the degree MSEd, as opposed to a Master of Science or a Master of Arts?

Dr. Latoya Pierce: The MSEd is really just along the lines of being in the School of Education. When you look at graduate level programs, you can look at having a Master’s of Science, Master’s of Arts and say MS, and say MA, Masters of Science in Education, that MSEd degree really is the exact same graduate level degree. But the... What would I call, how it's categorized has more to do with being in school of education.

Most counseling programs, honestly, across different institutions are typically found either in a school of education or a college rather of education. But that will not preclude anyone from seeking licensure or certification, it's simply how the university and the school opted to clarify that particular degree. But your degree will say, in counselor education, with a concentration in school counseling or a concentration in clinical mental health counseling.

Thanks for that. Hopefully, that answered that question. There's actually a second question on this one, is there... Two questions related to being in person. Is there an in- person graduation? Then the follow up is about the two, four day residencies that are on campus, is there an additional cost for that?

Yes. Okay. I'll start with the residency. There are fees that are associated with residency and the formula for those fees are associated if it's a virtual residency, or if it's an in- person residency on campus. Of course, if it's an on campus residency, those fees are going to be higher, because then you have to take into account travel. The student is expected to pay airline costs, and also to pay a certain amount for lodging.

But what we do for the campus residency to help accommodate our students is set up lodging on campus, which is at a discounted rate. We also try to cover some of the cost of food as well while students are on campus. There's travel, and there's lodging, and there are food costs that are affiliated with that on campus residency, when and if we go back to that. For the virtual residency, yes, there's still cost because there's a registration fee, and that is separate from tuition and other student fees that students pay in the program.

The virtual residency cost, of course, is a little bit less, because it is virtual, and students aren't having to cover those travel and lodging costs. But there is still a reasonable fee, I think, for registration, for the virtual residencies. That is something that as a prospective student you do want to consider when it comes time for that in the program. In terms of graduation, there is our online students do not have to travel for graduation.

Our online students do receive their degree in the mail. Your faculty advisor is someone who's going to talk with you and walk you through that process. It gives me a good segue to actually talk about the types of support that you have as an online student coming into the program. Every online student has two people that walk with them in their journey and that is a student success coach, and that's a faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor is someone who is a counselor educator.

There's someone that's teaching in the program, they're core faculty, and they're also often practicing in the field. They've either been a school counselor in a K through 12 setting, or they're a clinical mental health counselor and they're licensed, and may still see clients in private practice. But they're the ones who are going to walk you through questions you have about career and in school counseling, or clinical mental health counseling, if you have changes to your degree plan of study, your faculty advisor is going to walk you through that.

They're going to guide you as well through and open up permission for registration. On the front end, your student success coach is going to do a lot of the work coming into the program, they're going to help you register that first time for classes, they're going to help you set up your original and initial degree plan. And they're going to be the ones that also that are going to track and check in and make sure that things are going well and provide that level of support to students in the program. Your faculty advisor is also going to play a very parallel role, and they're going to be able to offer more of counseling expertise, and guidance in terms of your career path in either school counseling or clinical mental health counseling.

But as your faculty advisor, they're also going to walk you through all the requirements up until the point of graduation, and be able to talk to you about what that process is like in terms of receiving your degree.

Wonderful. Our next question, I'm going to send to Dr. Holden, this came in during his section, the question was asking about openness to... Asked, when you mentioned openness to new ideas, could you elaborate on that? Also, asked, how closely does the program align with the ideas of the Catholic Church? If you can help understand, just the aspect of how that aligns with the curriculum?

Dr. Adam Holden: That's a very good question, actually. We know that one of the greatest skills of a professional helper and particularly a counselor is to be able to genuinely connect with the people that they are trying to help. That means that as a result of that, we really have to practice seeing life through a different lens, sometimes, because the individual that he might be interacting with may be coming from an extraordinarily different context than we are as a counselor.

As such, we really have to work with our students, for them to be able to develop an ability to be open to the concept that somebody else's truth or reality may not be the same as ours. That doesn't mean that we have to embrace those ideas as our own. But it means that we do have to do more than just recognize them, we have to actually value them. We see that specifically when we are speaking to people about working with somebody who comes from a different racial background, for example, or different economic status, or somebody who has not had the same experiences in terms of their family support structure, or their own self- care, for example.

We work quite hard to actually develop, within our students the ability to challenge their own thought process to accept a different positionality on certain things. Now, that does not have a direct correlation with our own personal belief sets. Because the truth of the matter is, those have to be put aside to some degree, to a large degree, in actual fact, when we're working with others.

Now, we need to be aware of them because sometimes they can interfere with the relationship that we have, but at the same time, it takes time to get past your initial feelings, perhaps when you interact with somebody who's coming from a very different value base than ourselves. We know that the more flexible, the more adaptive, the more open to actually listening to other people and perhaps stepping out and doing more to really try and understand where they come from.

The more a student can do that, the easier it is when they then encounter different perspectives and different thought processes. It's a constant journey for us because obviously, it's ever evolving. I would suggest that world events over the last several years have caused many of us to have to go back again to the initial premise of how we see the world and how we see other people in it. We constantly strive to help students try to do that.

How aligned are we? Well, there's two parts to that, the manner in which we conduct ourselves, in other words, the basic core value base is very closely aligned to the values of our school of St. Bonaventure more generally. I think you'll see a significant overlap there. The manner in which our teachings, or our professional presentation would be aligned to any one ideology is less so.

We will prepare students of any background to work with people of any background. That's, I think has been referenced this morning a couple of times, one of the great strengths of our program is that there's a great diversity of ability and strength in the core faculty, that you will witness. As you interact with those individuals, hopefully they'll help you develop that openness and mental agility to be able to cope with whatever it is that we see in our futures.

Katie Macaluso: Thank you so much, Dr. Holden. I'm seeing a few questions about how long it takes to complete the program. I'm going to send this to Dr. Pierce, just combining a few questions here, a number of people just wanting confirmation to how long it takes to complete the program, and then also is it possible to go faster or slower if you're part- time or full- time, and how that works.

Dr. Latoya Pierce: Sure, that's a great question. The online program is a three year program, and we get the question often of, can I fast track to the program? Is there a way for me to do this more at an accelerated pace? Similar to what Ms. O'Brien said, with the question of, can I work full- time during the internship? The simple answer is no, not really. But I want to make sure I explain why.

When you come into the program, no matter what semester you come in; fall, spring or summer, there is a carousel that is pre- built, that outlines what courses you're going to take every term. For our online students, when you're coming from the program, the semester is divided into two, 7 week periods. You'll have one course in... Let's say you come in, in the fall, you have one course in Fall A, you'll have one course in Fall B. Then you'll do the same thing, typically, in the spring, and then the summer term as well.

There will be some terms the further along you get into the matriculation, when you get to your clinical courses, that you'll probably have one course in Fall A, one in Fall B, which you'll have a clinical course that spans the entire semester. You'll be taking two courses at the same time. But the reason we also emphasize to students that it's built that way is because when you get into a seven week course, that work is intense, it's intentional, and it's purposeful, and it's meaningful.

I use all those descriptors to say that you're doing a good bit of work in that course, and you really want your focus to be on that one course, and that course content. The courses are designed where you are... You may have mandatory weekly meetings, and if you don't, your instructor will likely offer what we call live sessions. But you'll have discussion boards, you'll have papers, you'll have assignments that are due that go along with the content of that course.

You really want to be able to fully immerse yourself in that course. Adding different courses on at the same time really takes away from that experience. Then the other thing is that, if students were to add on additional courses, there would come a semester where you really didn't have anything to take, because the way that I build the schedule is based on that carousel. There are only certain courses that are offered in the fall. There are only certain courses that are offered in the spring.

Dr. Latoya Pierce: There are only certain courses that are offered in the summer. It's designed to be a three year matriculation also because there is a sequence to those courses. Developmentally, if you think about this from that perspective, you're going to want those beginning courses like that intro to the counseling profession theories, those ethics course, those courses at the very beginning, which is what we call those foundational courses, before you get to more advanced courses, which might be the interventions course, which might be crisis counseling, which might be multicultural counseling.

You want the foundation courses first. This idea, what we tried to do is make sure that developmentally, it makes sense for the student, that we set students up for success, and the best way to do that is by having them focus on one course in every seven week term. You're taking essentially two courses per semester, which keeps you as a full- time student, but also make sure that you can fully, fully engaged and fully, fully immerse yourself in those courses.

I always tell students, you need to think of this as a journey, as a marathon and not a sprint. That's really how you want to conceptualize your work in counselor education program.

Katie Macaluso: Perfect. Thank you, Dr. Pierce. Our next question, I'm going to send over to Mia, this question is asking about the internships. How many credit hours are the internship, and are there courses that occur during the internship, when are they offered?

Mia O'Brien: Great question. As you take your practicum and your internship 1 and your internship 2, you also take a corresponding course within the university. For instance, if you're beginning with your 100 hour practicum in the field, then you're also taking a practicum course at CE- 610. What we do is have your professor communicate with your site supervisor, whether it be your practicum, or your internship 1 or your internship 2, and they're able to really provide resources, provide communication if there's any concerns or questions come up for either your practicum or your internships, then that can be communicated as well.

As part of their requirements for your practicum and your internships, you will need to obtain two audio or visual client session tape recordings with client consent. You will be submitting those to your professor within the corresponding course so that they can evaluate your skill set as a counselor. That goes hand in hand, you take a course and you'll do practicum and internship.

Katie Macaluso: Great. Thanks, Mia. All right. Looking over here, our next question is about hours of supervised. I'm going to send this to Dr. Pierce. The next question is how many hours of supervised mental health counseling is required post- graduation to enter practice in New York State? Or would there be additional post graduation requirements that they would need to fulfill beyond that?

Dr. Latoya Pierce: Typically, when you're talking about licensure, you're looking at about 3, 000 hours postgraduate degree. Each state is a little bit different, depending on the formula for the 3, 000 hours may be a little bit different in each state. Also, each state may also require a slightly different course. For instance, in the state of Florida, they require an additional course on human sexuality. In the state of Arkansas, they require a psychopharmacology course.

I always tell students, I'll get back to the hours requirements in just a second. What I always tell students is to be very proactive in looking at what your state requirements are, and looking at your state licensure board website, because the website will walk you through exactly what those requirements are for that state, in terms of coursework, and in terms of hours. But typically, across the board, you're looking at about 3, 000 hours post master's degree, different states differ. Oftentimes, you have a window of time, maybe, at minimum, usually about two years, up to about six years, often, to complete those 3, 000 hours.

The formula within the 3, 000 hours varies. It may be that it's a split of maybe 1, 900 hours and 1, 100 hours. The 1, 900 hours would be maybe direct contact hours that you have to have either working with individuals or in group settings, and then the 1100 hours would be supervised hours. The supervised hours come from a board approved supervisor.

Following graduation, you register with the board in your state, and you would find and choose, they usually have a list of what we call board approved supervisors. That's someone who's already licensed, a lot of times they have a supervisor credential. In some states, so it'll be an LPCS, which means that they have the supervisor credential. That person would basically supervise your time while you are maybe a provisionally licensed LPC or in some states, it's licensed associate counselor.

Again, the credential, how they term it varies by state, what they call it varies by state, but typically you're looking at about 3, 000 hours post- graduation.

Okay, great. Our next question is about the application. This question is... Actually, a couple of quick ones here, can one professional recommendation be from a professor and another from a colleague?

I'll jump in, if that's okay with Dr. Holden and Ms O'Brien. Yes, when you're looking at the recommendations for the application, one can be from a professor, another can be from a colleague or supervisor. What we're really looking for and what's helpful to prospective students is this, we're really looking to see a recommendation from someone who can speak to your aptitude to complete a graduate level program. If you have letters of recommendation that don't come from someone in higher education, it's hard for us to ascertain that.

It's really important that you can have someone, a former professors, or someone talk about your ability to do graduate level work, maybe speak to your writing ability, things of that sort that helps the core faculty who are involved in the interview process and reviewing your application, understand your aptitude for graduate level work.

Katie Macaluso: Thanks, Dr. Pierce. Our next question, and I'm not sure if this is better suited for you or Dr. Holden, but we do get a couple of questions about demographics. What are the demographics of the people in the clinical mental health program?

Dr. Adam Holden: Yeah, I can jump in with that. I think it's a really good mix, I think we have a very nice balance. We're very fortunate, in that. Our program is one that can be described as fairly competitive. Therefore, we have the ability to be selective, to make sure that we bring students in that we believe will work together well in a cohort, and at the same time, be able to expand the mindset of those that are coming in with.

I would say, in most of our classes, there's a really good mix of students. We have some students who are coming straight from undergraduate studies at various times, and places, but we have, I would say just as many if not more people who I might describe as mid- level professionals who have been out in the field, who have actually experienced either a different type of career or a career, often in the helping agencies of some sort, who have decided to come back and get formal qualification.

Then obviously, on the counselor education side, we bring in many people who have teaching background or who have worked in a school in particular. We see quite a good diversity. I would also say that diversity continues to expand in terms of geographical background, in terms of ethnic background, so that we're now picking up students from all over the United States and internationally, in fact, but also people who come with a really rich background, which allows those cohorts to have an intriguing tapestry of values and thoughts of people.

Certainly, I don't think that there is a group of individuals that would feel isolated, coming into the program, I would certainly say that. But I would also say, as an individual, there will be people who you will be able to, A, connect with, who might have a very similar life experience to yourself, and at the same time, that there will be other individuals who will be able to stretch you in your thinking process because they come from quite a different background.

Katie Macaluso: That's wonderful. Thank you Dr. Holden. I know we're getting close to the end here. I'm going to ask one last question. Any questions, if we haven't gotten back to you, we'll follow up after the webinar as well. This last question, I'm going to send to Dr. Pierce. It's asking if the school assists in any way with employment placement after graduation?

Dr. Latoya Pierce: That's a good question. I think that would, probably from our Alumni Services Office. What I do know though, and what I can speak to is the level of connectedness that is and the number of St. Bonaventure graduates that are all over the country, and also, from a faculty perspective, our ability to endorse students. That endorsement piece is something that we talk about in the orientation when students are first admitted into the program.

But, it is our ability to write wonderful letters of recommendation for students who have matriculated through our program, through R& D looking for jobs, post- graduation, what I can say where we are right now, especially in the pandemic, what I have seen as a clinician is that there's definitely not a shortage of jobs in our particular area in counseling. I think that is what I've seen us even a greater emphasis in terms of people seeking mental health services, but also school districts attending to the mental wellness of students in K through 12 setting and making sure that they are supporting the efforts and the initiatives of school counselor.

I think that there's support in terms of our Alumni Services Office, but I think the support also comes from core faculty, the relationships that students develop with us while they're in the program, and also our ability to endorse and write letters of recommendations for students upon graduating from the program.

Katie Macaluso: Great. Thanks, Dr. Pierce.

Mia O'Brien: This is Mia, if I might jump in a little bit, just based on my experiences, too, that I encourage students to find their placement sites that they are interested in, because many of our placement sites do pick up students for positions. They purposely choose students based on getting to watch them and learn about their skill sets, and then it's a great way for them to identify potential employees.

Katie Macaluso: Absolutely. I know we're right here at the top of the hour. So, we're going to go ahead and wrap up our Q& A here. We want to thank all of you for the amazing engagement with all of your questions. We weren't able to get to every one of those today. So, we will follow up individually after the webinar. If you'd like to schedule an appointment to learn more about the programs and talk about that journey with an enrollment advisor, there's a link at the bottom left of your screen. If you also take a quick moment to fill out our survey, we'd love to hear what you thought about the webinar.

Then just a reminder that an on- demand recording of this session will be available tomorrow and it'll be sent to you by email using the same link that you registered with earlier. That concludes today's webinar. Thank you so much for attending, and have a great rest of your day. Bye-bye.