Hey everyone. I just started my last semester of undergrad!! YAY! It’s about damn time. I’m starting the grad school application process and have a few questions for those of you who have been through it. Any input, wisdom, or resources you can share would be greatly appreciated. My first goal is to be a therapist in private practice, but teaching counselor education in a master’s program also really appeals to me. So does being a clinical director over a counseling practice, which makes me think PhD eventually.

1. I’ve had a lot of folks tell me that an MSW (master of social work) is really the way to go if I want to work as a therapist, because it’s quicker and the degree is broader, thus if I decide I’m tired of doing therapy, I can do something else that falls under the umbrella of social work. The issue is that (and forgive me, I know this sounds corny but) none of the social work degree programs I’m looking at really inspire passion in me. When I look at the courses offered in counseling masters’ programs, I feel excited and inspired. One of my advisors told me to go for the programs that bring me that excitement when I look through them, because that passion will help me be more successful eventually. I don’t disagree, but I also worry about shooting myself in the foot in the name of passion if I get a degree that has fewer applications. :/ If anyone here has done one or the other (counseling master’s or MSW) any thoughts?

2. How many programs did you apply to? I have a list of 8 so far, I’m hoping that I’ll be accepted to at least a few. I have a 3.7 GPA, strong writing skills, 6 years of volunteer experience working in the field and some solid letters of recommendation. Most of the schools I’m looking at are considered selective for my field, so I wonder if I need to pad it with other places that might not be as competitive.

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3. Any wisdom about getting out of state fees reduced or waived is very appreciated. I live in Texas and I’d love to get out of here, especially considering the way this state treats mental health services, but I don’t want to go up to my eyeballs in debt.

I need to take the GRE still- I’m planning to take a practice test next weekend, and I’m signing up to take the test in late October.

Thanks in advance.