Finding and Comparing Counseling Programs—Selecting the “Perfect Fit”

Now that you’ve spent some time reflecting on personal considerations for why you want to become a counselor, it’s time to move forward and examine how that connects to practical considerations for exploring graduate counseling programs. In this chapter, we will cover the ins and outs of not only searching for graduate programs, but also comparing programs and ultimately finding the "perfect fit" Just like deciding on where to go to college, you should explore multiple graduate counseling programs and decide which seem consistent with your goals, lifestyle, values, beliefs, and personal preferences. Finding the perfect fit in a counseling program is essential to your success as a graduate student and even more so as a professional counselor once you graduate.

Some people may be able to easily identify their perfect fit in a graduate counseling program; others may find more than one program that seems to mesh well with them, and that’s okay too. In an ideal world, you will be able to identify your preferred program, apply, get accepted, enroll, graduate, and become a professional counselor! But that first step—identifying your preferred program- can sometimes be more challenging than the remaining steps of the process. With this in mind, take note of the items that are most salient to you as you read about various counseling program characteristics and considerations in this chapter. Take some time to self-reflect on these items. Reflecting on the program qualities that you identify as most important will help you during the process of narrowing down programs and eventually selecting your perfect fit.

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