School Counseling

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CPCF

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions

Application Deadlines

Department: Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

Graduate Director:
Dr. William Lepkowski

The Profession

School counselors work in K-12 educational settings to assist with the academic, career, personal, and social development of all students. In carrying out their responsibilities, school counselors work with students, parents, teachers, school personnel and community agencies.

Mission Statement

The mission of the School Counseling Program at St. Cloud State University is to educate students in the areas of school counseling, developmental guidance, and related psychological and educational services. In this program, students develop the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to help those they serve achieve their maximum level of independence and functioning. The School Counseling Program embraces a multicultural and developmental philosophy in preparing students to provide counseling and related services in a democratic and pluralistic society. The Program's philosophical framework encompasses enhancing personal growth and development; creating awareness of self in relation to society; developing an identity as a counseling professional and professional school counselor; and providing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work effectively with others.


The job outlook is excellent for school counselors in K-12 educational settings. Counselors will be required each year to replace those leaving the profession due to retirement and new positions are being created to respond to emerging issues in schools.

Accreditation Specific to the Program

  •  Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

Admission Information

  • Admission is competitive and selection is based on an evaluation of all factors.  Apply by the March 1 priority deadline.
  • Strong candidates will be invited to interview.
  • Complete a personal interview with representatives of the profession, advanced students in the program and the counseling faculty. An interview is required and is scheduled for mid to late March.
  • For specific interview dates and an appointment, contact the departmental secretary. If attendance at an interview is totally impractical, the graduate director may designate an alternate method. 
  • Admission decisions are made after review of applications and the group interviews are completed. 
  • Generally, notice regarding admission decisions are completed and sent to applicants within approximately 5 weeks of the admission deadline.
  • Applicants can enhance their chance for an admission offer by having all application materials in by the deadline and demonstrating clear and compelling responses to the interview questions in the group interviews.
  • When considering applicants, careful attention is paid to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills and commitment to the counseling profession as demonstrated through application materials and interview responses.
  • Previous experience working with children and adolescents and previous school experience is heavily weighted in the admission process as well. You are also advised to visit with several school counselors prior to admission to verify that this profession is a good fit for you and to be able to show a genuine interest in the field.
  • If the occasion arises in which we do not have enough applicants to fill spaces after the March 1st deadline, we then conduct a second round of interviews in late spring.
  • We admit approximately 20 students per year, dependent on current enrollment in the program. 
  • Fifteen of the spaces are for full-time students and five spaces are reserved for part-time and/or certificate program students.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Priority Application Deadline - March 1 for fall semester admission

Programs with a priority deadline will hold all completed applicant files until the application deadline date, then academic review will begin. The program will review all completed applications at one time (in a pool) and may request an interview as part of the process to award limited spaces. If space remains in the program, a second round of review and possible interviews will be held for completed files received after the priority deadline. 

Wait list Information

  • Applicants may be selected by graduate faculty to be placed on a wait list if you did not initially receive admission following the initial round of interviews and application review.
  • If you are placed on the wait list, you will be notified about your admission status a few weeks following your interview.
  • In this notification we also indicate your placement on the wait list so you can determine how many spaces might need to open to receive an offer for a space in the program.
  • Whether we are able to offer a space to a wait-listed applicant depends on the decisions of those first offered a space in the program.
  • In some years, several wait-listed applicants have turned down the offer to join our program as they pursued other opportunities, thus enabling us to offer an open space to the next best applicant. Other years, all admitted students who were initially offered a program space decide to join us and thus we are unable to offer wait-listed applicants a space.
  • Competition for limited places in the School Counseling program requires the necessity of a waitlist.

Length of Program — Measured by Semesters

  • Part-time student: six to eight semesters taking six credits per semester.
  • Full-time student: four semesters and one summer.
  • Course work includes both day and evening classes.

Part-time Students

As a department, we understand that many part-time students may prefer to complete their graduate studies while continuing concurrent employment. However, some daytime hours are required in order to complete the program, especially for practicum and internship experiences.

Following admission to graduate studies, all part-time students must complete a minimum of nine graduate semester credits per year of course work, approved by their advisor, in order to maintain candidacy in the counseling program. Students must complete the pre-practicum core courses early in the program of studies.

Graduate Assistantship Overview

  • Generally 10 to 12 graduate assistantship positions are available both fall and spring semesters through the department.
  • Graduate assistants work 10 hours per week with a faculty member on administration, course or research projects.
  • Graduate assistantships require full-time student status.
  • An application must be submitted to the department chairperson. It is recommended that applicants for department graduate assistantships meet the March 1 deadline.
  • In addition, all applicants for department assistantships are required to contact the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility and apply for a federal work-study assistantship. 

Required Orientation Program

All new students (both part-time and full-time) must attend the fall semester orientation meeting held early in fall semester. (See the department secretary for details.)


Each new student will be assigned an advisor shortly after they are admitted. Part-time students will need to plan their schedules with their advisors. New full-time students have their first semester planned by the program. Information on a full-time course schedule will be sent to you.

Not all advisors are immediately available for conferences, particularly if the student is admitted during summer session. In these cases, any counseling faculty member can assist you.

Double Emphasis

A student may wish to complete a double emphasis to facilitate greater employability. The second emphasis must be completed with a minimum of 10 semester credits which are not included in the first emphasis program. A separate 600-hour internship must be completed for each emphasis. 

Supervised Counseling Practicum

This experience follows the pre-practicum core courses and provides for the application of theories and techniques to counseling experience. Each part-time student must apply in writing to their program coordinator for placement in a counseling practicum at least nine months before beginning the practicum. Late applications might not be admitted. This may result in delayed internship and graduation.


Admission to graduate study does not constitute candidacy for a degree. Rather, a student who has been admitted to graduate study is advanced to degree candidacy upon the recommendation of the school counseling faculty. Advancement to degree candidacy requires that the candidate must:

  1. Have completed between 12 and 24 semester hours of graduate study at St. Cloud State University with a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Have submitted to their advisor one completed program form signed by the student.
  3. Have clearly demonstrated the aptitude and ability to pursue graduate work and exhibited a commitment to counseling as a profession.
  4. Have demonstrated potential for a successful career in the field of counseling.

Admission to degree candidacy is not an automatic process, but rather the advancement to candidacy is approved by all program faculty only after careful evaluation of all pertinent factors. Proposed program of study forms may be obtained from the department secretary, Room B210 of the Education Building. Note that it is important to have blue program forms submitted before completing an internship placement request form. (See the section below.) 

Academic Review and Retention Policy

The School Counseling Program faculty meet regularly to discuss the progress of students in the program. The following elements are reviewed: academic progress and promise; counseling skills acquisition and development; personality traits or personal issues that may be interfering with progress in the program; legal and ethical issues. In the event that there is a faculty concern about a student regarding any of these areas, a faculty member will meet with the student to discuss necessary remediation and steps to take toward improvement or to offer assistance to the student in finding a more suitable field of study. While there was preliminary evaluation of a prospective student's suitability for counseling at the time of admission, evaluation also occurs throughout a student's course of study. During the pre-practicum core, course evaluations are made by faculty as to whether students have developed the skills and personal characteristics necessary to proceed to practicum. During practicum, regular evaluations are made by faculty to determine whether the student is prepared to proceed to internship or whether the practicum experiences needs to be repeated or other assistance is necessary to continue in the program. During the internship, regular assessments are made by the site supervisor documenting the pre-professional progress and readiness for recommendation for graduation and licensure. 

Supervised Counseling Internship

This experience follows the counseling practicum and is a final capstone experience which will provide counseling experience in a work setting. School counseling students must complete a 600-hour internship. School counseling students must have all courses required for the master's degree except CEEP 654, Guidance for Special Needs and CEEP 672. Family, School and Organizational Partnerships before beginning an internship. The candidate must apply in writing to the internship coordinator by completing an internship placement request form before February 15 for all placements during the following academic year. This means a minimum of seven months before beginning an internship. (See department secretary for details.)