School counselors play a vital role in America’s education system. The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) encourages school counselors to follow Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success, which describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to achieve academic success, college and career readiness, and social/emotional development (2014). These skills and supportive theories are taught within a biblical framework and lay the foundation for a preventative model that starts in elementary school and carries through adolescence; which, if followed, has been shown to reduce disruptive behaviors, responsive/crisis services, and increase student achievement and healthy coping skills.
With the completion of the Master of Arts in School Counseling, graduates will be prepared to begin the process of seeking licensure in Colorado or other states as a Licensed School Counselor. Licensing requirements vary from state to state, nevertheless, credit hours and curricula coincide with the requirements for the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). The Master of Arts in School Counseling has been approved by the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and accreditation by CACREP is in process.
Admission to the M.A. in School Counseling program at Colorado Christian University is selective. Each applicant is carefully evaluated for an aptitude for graduate-level study, career goals, potential success in forming effective counseling relationships, and respect for cultural differences. Admission to the M.A. in School Counseling program is not guaranteed.
Applicants to the M.A. in School Counseling program will complete all admissions requirements before being considered by the Admission Committee. The M.A. in School Counseling Admission Committee determines whether an applicant is accepted or denied admission.
After the first semester in the Master of Arts in School Counseling program, students are formally assessed by the M.A. in School Counseling faculty and administrative team based on their academic work, basic counseling skills, and professional behavior. This evaluation process is performed to fulfill CACREP, ASCA, and professional gatekeeping responsibilities, and to ensure that each student has the capacity to develop the skills required for the field of counseling.
School Counseling admission requirements:
- A completed application for admission (including essay, transcripts, and fees).
- Valid state-issued driver’s license or state-issued ID card or passport.
- Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae.
- An official transcript showing a conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with an undergraduate grade point average between 2.0 and 2.49 may be admitted on a conditional admit (CAD) basis for the first semester. CAD students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or better in their first semester to continue in the program.
- Official transcript(s) of completed graduate level counseling related credits completed at another institution.
- A criminal background check through CastleBranch from every country the applicant has resided in the past 7 years. Applicants should consult with their enrollment counselor before placing their CastleBranch order.
- A completed Candidacy Writing Sample per essay prompts.
- Admission interview(s) and additional documentation and/or requests from the M.A. in School Counseling Admission Committee, and/or designated program personnel.
Online cohorts begin in July of each year. It is recommended that applications are completed at least four weeks prior to the applicant’s anticipated start date. All required admission documents and background check results must be received by CCU before an admission interview will be scheduled. Applicants will be extended an interview invitation and are required to respond within three days to schedule the admission interview. A delayed response may result in a delayed start date if the applicant is accepted.
Application files will be evaluated in the order received. Applicants should complete the admission process as early as possible to allow adequate time to work with an advisor and finalize financial aid.
Transfer of Courses
In accordance with CCU’s Graduate Residency Policy, students transferring from a regionally accredited institution may transfer a maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate credit. The remaining hours must be completed at CCU.
Transfer coursework must be equivalent to that offered at CCU and fulfill the CCU degree requirements for the counseling program. CCU will not accept the following courses, or their equivalents, for transfer to the M.A. in School Counseling program:
- CSL 514 Counseling Practicum
- CSL 581 Counseling Residency I
- CSL 582 Counseling Residency II
- CSL 681 Counseling Residency III
- LSC 631 School Counseling Internship I
- LSC 632 School Counseling Internship II
- LSC 633 School Counseling Internship III
Format of the Master of Arts in School Counseling Courses
The M.A. in School Counseling program is offered in an online format, and is designed to be completed within seven to nine semesters of intensive study in a lock-step sequence. The length of the M.A. in School Counseling program cannot be accelerated, and will be longer for students who complete internship in more than two semesters, and/or step out of the prescribed sequence of classes.
All classes utilize the Blackboard learning platform. Due to the nature of counseling curriculum, some online courses will have a synchronous component, requiring students to be available for scheduled real-time videoconferencing with a small group and/or the professor and class. The program administration reserves the right to move students from one course section to another to provide equity in class size.
The M.A. in School Counseling online program requires each student to attend a five-day on-campus residency held each summer of the program. Online students will attend a total of three residencies during their matriculation in the counseling program. It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for transportation, hotel, and food expenditures. There is a non-refundable residency fee to defray the cost of facilitating the residency experience, required resources, and materials.
All work applied toward the Master of Arts in School Counseling degree must be completed within a six-year period from the date of enrollment. After the six-year period, any student who has not completed the requirements to graduate, and desires to complete the program, must complete a Petition for Exception to Academic Policy. Continuing study is not guaranteed, and must be approved by the Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Students are required to adhere to the most current Academic Catalog, CAGS Student Handbook, Master of Arts in School Counseling Program Handbook, and Manuals, fees, and tuition rates.
Students who have not attended a class for a period of 365 days, and desire to reenter the program, are required to reapply and meet all standard application procedures. If accepted, the student will be admitted under the current catalog standards. Stepping out of the cohort may result in a delayed completion of the student’s program.
Student performance is assessed throughout the counseling program. Assessments include evaluation by the M.A. in School Counseling faculty and administrative team and is based on academic work, foundational counseling skills, professional disposition, professional behavior, and compliance with state statutes and the American Counseling Association’s 2014 Code of Ethics. The evaluation process of informal and formal assessments fulfills the University’s regional accreditation and CACREP’s professional gatekeeping standards to ensure each student is adequately prepared for the counseling profession. If the M.A. in School Counseling program’s administration and/or faculty determine there is a need for formal remediation, the student is expected to fulfill the goals of the remediation plan to continue in the counseling program. If the student is unable to reach academic and professional practice expectations through remediation, the student may be dismissed from the program. If the student violates standards of student conduct as outlined in the CAGS Student Handbook, an ethical guideline, or legal statute, the student may be dismissed immediately. In some situations, the M.A. in School Counseling’s administration may bypass the remediation process and recommend immediate dismissal from the program.