Over the past few months there have been a number of RCP followers that have reached out to me to learn more about the specific details of how I became a counsellor. This led me to reflect on how I got from undergrad to owning my own private practice.
Through these discussions, I decided to share my personal experience and provide insight to anyone who is thinking about getting into the mental health field as their career. This post is the first in the series on major themes to understand when considering this profession.
Check out what I have to say about the educational aspect of my experience below.
What is your advice for someone who is accepted into the program?
The biggest thing would be to get to know your academic advisor and the program director. Go out of your way to meet with them. Being in their good books can really benefit you. Also, it's very important to keep all your course descriptions together for the CRPO application.
What would you have liked to have known before starting the program?
Looking back at it now I would have gone to Saint Paul's over uottawa. Their program isn't religious based if you don't want it to be and the students there get at least 2 times more internship experience working with clients directly. They seem much more prepared for work when school is done.
What did you do to help you get into the program?
For the program I didn't get in the first time I applied. I took a year to complete my B.Ed after I didn't get in and worked on improving my application by doing a volunteer research position to give myself the research experience. I also had someone who was already in grad school help me with my statement of intent.
Why do you think you didn't get into the program the first time?
Because my statement of intent was not strong enough, my grades could have been higher and I needed more research related experience.
How did you fund your Masters?
In the M.Ed program, because you are not doing research, you do not get a scholarship from the school, no matter how high your grades are. So you have to figure out how to pay for school on your own through loans, working etc.
How’s the uOttawa counselling psychology program? How heavy was the workload?
From my understanding of my experience in the uOttawa program and what I have learned about how other programs operate and the amount of direct counselling hours students receive in other programs, I would say that uOttawa was average.
Unlike undergrad, where the workload feels excessive for everyone, no matter the program you are in. Graduate school in Counselling Psychology is different. Everything that is done applies directly to the specific career of being a counsellor, so nothing really felt like ‘work’. I enjoyed every part of the ‘sit-down academic’ side of learning.