By Mercedes Zoeteman
With the new MATCH system in place, I’m sure that brings in a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, especially because this is the first year it is rolled out for genetic counseling. While you’ve had your interview, and now you are ranking the programs you interviewed with, I figured it might be helpful to think about what factors may be important when making this decision.
- Location: Is the location convenient? Can you imagine this city to be the place that you reside for two years? How close will your clinical rotations be? Are there fun things to do in the city or close-by?
- Overall Vibe: How do you feel like you fit within the program? Do you find yourself meshing with program leadership? What impressions did you get from current students? What was the campus like? Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you are there?
- Research Opportunities: If research is your thing, does this program offer the opportunity to participate in your own research project? Will projects be given to you or can you choose your own research project? Does this school have access to the patient population you might need? Are the research projects individual or group based?
- Support System: If family and friends are important for you to have when you go to grad school, do you know anyone there? Are they willing to relocate? Do you mesh with any of the other interviewees really well?
- Campus Opportunities and Extra-Curricular: Does the campus have a recreation center nearby? Are there hobbies you enjoy doing that each location can offer? (FYI North Carolina has both the beach and the “mountains”, so if hiking or hanging out at the beach are your thing North Carolina is the one for you).
- Coursework: When do clinical rotations start? What is the progression of observing to participating in GC sessions? What types of courses are offered? Are any unique workshops offered to students?
- Rotation Opportunities: Do you have access to many different hospital systems? What type of specialty clinics are available? Can you do a rotation abroad or somewhere other than the state the state is located in? Is there a laboratory rotation option?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these may be some questions to ask yourself after each interview. I found it helpful to write these down in an excel sheet so that I can reference them later. It is definitely a tough decision, but I know that when I came to UNCG I felt at home here, and being here has definitely confirmed that. The UNCG family is so welcoming as well, and I think that our weird bank building is just one of the many unique quirks about the program. So think about what felt right during the interview process. Take some much-needed time to reflect and make your decision and enjoy the ride!