Welcome to the Counselor Education Program and congratulations on being admitted to a program with one of the most competitive admissions standards in the University of Maine system. We believe a good beginning can set the stage for an enjoyable experience and the proper ending. The New Student Orientation is designed to set the stage for a quality graduate school experience for you.
The orientation is an opportunity for us to provide new students with the resources to help maximize the experience as a graduate student at USM. We have an outstanding program that has a reputation for the quality of the three concentrations, superior students, and a group of faculty and staff who really enjoy working with one another...and with you.
We want you to feel a part of the USM community--and especially the School of Education and Human Development and the Counselor Education Program--and hope you will take advantage of the many opportunities offered throughout the campus. We also hope this information will assist you as you embark upon your graduate school experience so that you feel informed and connected to what's going on.
Please try to set aside at least one hour to peruse the information that is provided below. A brief introduction to teach new topic will then direct you to one or more URL sites that provide the necessary forms or instructions for completing tasks that will lay the foundation for your successful transition into the program. Once you have visited the URL site and read the materials provided, please acknowledge that you have visited this orientation page and understood the contents by completing the Orientation Attestation sheet.
So, once again, welcome...and let us know if there is something we can do to enhance your role as a learner here.
MAKE IT OFFICIAL!
- Admissions Reply Form: You will receive this form with your acceptance letter. If you have not done so already, notify the Graduate Admissions Office that you have accepted admission into the Counselor Education Program by returning the Admissions Reply Form.
- Activate Your Accounts: Tutorials for activating your USM email account, accessing MaineStreet, searching for classes in MaineStreet, locating your grades in MaineStreet and navigating Blackboard is available from this site: https://usm.maine.edu/computing/helpdesk
- TK20: To help with accreditation and program improvement, the School of Education & Human Development has implemented Tk20. Tk20 is USM's web-based, assessment management and reporting system for all students in Educator Preparation pathways. Link to website: http://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation/tk20. Be sure to click on the 'Students' link at the end of this web page to view additional TK20 instructions.
As an applicant, you have already created a free account. Now, you are required to subscribe. Your one-time, $103 payment will purchase an individual subscription that lasts 20 years - well into your career. Here are some ways a Tk20 account will benefit you:
1. You can create and store your coursework in an electronic gallery of artifacts. Once you save an artifact in Tk20, it will be in your account forever.
2. You can see your progress in your program of study. With our advising feature, you can track your progress throughout your time in your program of study. You’ll never have to guess if you’ve met your program’s criteria, because you will be able to check your progress in your Tk20 account!
3. You will have a fully documented record of your field experience and clinical practice. At some point, you will need to show proof of your hands-on experience in the field, keeping track of your time logs, assessments and observations. Our field experience feature records all of your field experience information so you can easily retrieve the information when gearing up for an interview after graduation.
4. You can create an electronic portfolio to share with faculty and potential employers. Tk20 allows you to create your own electronic portfolio to document your professional growth, field experience, transcripts, and assessments. Even better, you can share this portfolio with potential employers with a link for easy access.
- Immunization Compliance? To register for courses, you must verify that certain immunizations are up-to-date. This requirement applies to you if you were born in or after 1956. You must submit a record that shows you are vaccinated against Tetanus/Diphtheria and Measles/Mumps/Rubella. You cannot register until your record is submitted. For information on how to submit your records or how to show exemption visit University Health & Counseling Services at http://usm.maine.edu/uhcs/immunization-information or call Immunization Hotline at (207) 780-4504 or UHCS at (207) 780-4134 or 780-5411.
FINDING YOUR WAY
Although you will be spending most of your time in Bailey Hall on the Gorham campus, there may be times when you need to attend classes or events on any of USM's three campuses. Go to http://usm.maine.edu/about/directions-and-parking to learn how to get to where you need to go. Also, check out all the other services and activities that can be part of your graduate school experience (e.g. fitness center, theatre, dining services, etc.). Click here for: New to USM or Online Learning? Things to Know
As mentioned earlier, you will not be able to register for classes until you have returned your Admission Reply Form to the Office of Graduate Admissions and your status changed from "admitted" to "matriculated," You must also comply with the immunization policy mentioned above. You will register for classes in MaineStreet. After logging into MaineStreet, look for the little button saying 'add a class.' Then you choose the class by inserting the class registration number. Undergraduates are required to use a pin number to register. We do not use pin numbers in our School. Once you become matriculated, MaineStreet will know that you are a part of this School and you should not receive the pin number prompt. If you do receive this prompt, please call the program office.
Summer 2017 registration begins Monday, March 1 and you will do it on MaineStreet. Payment is not due at the time of registration if you register before the April 15 payment due date. After April 15, you have 10 calendar days from the day of registration to make payment. You will be able to view your registration and bill in MaineStreet. For payment options, go to: http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services
Fall 2017 registration begins on Monday, April 3 and you will again do it in MaineStreet. Payment for fall classes is not due at the time of registration if you register before the August 15 payment due date. After August 15, you have 10 calendar days from the day of registration to make payment. You will be able to view your registration and bill in MaineStreet. For payment options, go to: http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services
In March and April, we highly recommend that you register as soon as you can because some of our classes fill quickly (sometimes filling within the first 2 minutes of registration). How early can you register? 6:00 AM--you cannot register before that time. One class that fills very quickly is EDU 600. This is because every graduate education student is required to take that course and there are a limited number of sections. Don't risk being closed out of a course--plan to register early! Once a class fills, the program will start a waiting list.
If you encounter any problems with registration, feel free to contact Kerry Bertalan at (207) 780-5316.
BEING A GRADUATE STUDENT
- Finding Balance: Being a graduate student is tough work! With all the other things going on in your life, you will find that your involvement in graduate school will require shifting the balance in some of your other life roles. Check out The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Graduate Student for some suggestions about framing your graduate program in the context of all your other obligations.
- If You Need Academic Help: Some students need additional supports to be successful in school. Especially if you have a disability that interferes with your learning, it is important to document the disability with the Disability Services Center. Also, check out the Learning Commons if you need assistance with writing.
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
- Student Handbook: The answers to many of the questions you will have during your graduate school experience in the Counselor Education program can be found in the Student Handbook. And one of the expectations for our accreditation is that we can verify that students are well informed about the contents of the Student Handbook. While we do not expect you to read every word of the handbook, we do need to know that you have carefully looked at the contents and the student expectations, and know how to access it for important information. Click here to access the Student Handbook and then be sure to sign and return the Receipt of Counselor Education Handbook.
It is important for you to choose your courses in a manner that both meets your needs but also aligns the process with program prerequisites, course availability, and administrative planning priorities. While meeting with your advisor is one of the most important parts of this planning process, we have also designed resources to aid in the advising and registration process.
- Check out the Advising Advice Sheets: These sheets are organized according to program concentration (school, clinical mental health, and rehabilitation), your preferred start date (summer sessions or fall semester) and whether you plan to take two, three, or four courses at a time (9 credits is considered full-time status for graduate students). Click here to view the Advising Advice Sheets.
- Program Planning Sheet: Go to Program Plan to find a blank planning sheet for your concentration that will help you visualize in which semesters you need to take the courses outlined in the Advising Advice Sheets, and when to register for field-based courses.
- Three Year Plan-Course Scheduling: Another important resource that will help you plan your coursework is the Three Year Course Scheduling Plan. Courses are currently projected to the Summer 2016.
- Program Sheets: Check the Program Forms webpage now but also remember that you will need to come back to it fairly regularly to complete forms that are required for various transition points in the program. For example, you will need to complete the applications for Practica (HCE 627 and 690/691) and Internship (HCE 686) one full year before taking those courses. AS YOU CREATE YOUR PROGRAM PLAN WITH YOUR ADVISOR, BE SURE TO PLUG IN THE DATES FOR TURNING IN REQUIRED FORMS AND COMPLETING NON-COURSE REQUIREMENTS LIKE TAKING THE COUNSELOR PREPARATION COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION (CPCE). The program's administrative specialist (Kerry Bertalan) will also send out reminders prior to deadlines.
USM posts an Academic Calendar. Referring to the academic calendar can assist you in identifying START and END dates, planning breaks, and registering for courses.
Many of you will be looking for scholarships and/or loans to help you pay for your graduate school courses. Please go to the School of Education & Human Development's web page on Financial Aid to view the various options that you might want to consider. Be sure to note deadlines for applications, since missed deadlines can mean missed opportunities for helpful financial resources.
PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS and PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY
- Accreditation: We are very proud of the fact that USM's Counselor Education Program has been nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) since 1987. We see the CACREP standard as minimum standards for a quality program, and our students benefit in multiple ways from being part of a CACREP program. Go to http://www.cacrep.org for more information of CACREP. The rehabilitation concentration is also accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).
- Belonging to the Profession: We highly encourage Counselor Education students to take out student memberships in one or more professional associations as a way of connecting to the national network of scholars and practitioners, and to the various resources that are so vital to maintaining one's professional identity. Go to http://usm.maine.edu/counselor-education/helpful-links-counselors to learn about the associations, and check with your advisors if you need help in choosing which associations to join. By the time you start your Practicum, you must have student liability insurance, and the best avenue for obtaining that insurance is through a national professional association.
Code of Ethics: READ THIS SECTION VERY CAREFULLY. All students in the Counselor Education Program are expected to have read and understood the Code of Ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and its divisions, and agreed to the expectations for students under the Code. Go to http://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/ethics to access the Code of Ethics. Once you have read them and have a clear sense of your professional expectations, sign and submit the Code of Ethics Attestation Form.
Be sure to check out the additional new student orientation information provided by the Office of Graduate Studies. Go to: http://usm.maine.edu/grad/new-graduate-student-information
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR ADVISOR: Last, but not least, be sure to schedule an appointment with your advisor sometime within the next 3-4 weeks to start developing that important relationship with your advisor, to get answers to your first set of questions, and to start planning your program so you are ready to register for your first semester of classes.
BOOKMARK OUR WEBSITE: For easy access, we recommend you bookmark the program's home page as a 'favorite' on your computer. Please create some time to thoroughly explore these pages, especially under 'Resources / Student Resources'. Faculty bios are available from the left column under 'People.'
- CPCE: One of the rites of passage for the Counselor Education Program is the requirement to pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), a national exam that assesses students' foundational knowledge in eight core academic areas. You must pass the CPCE to enroll in the internship class (HCE 686). Please go to http://usm.maine.edu/counselor-education/comprehensive-exam-cpce to see more information about the CPCE. Also, be sure to mark on your Program Planning Sheet the semester in which you plan to take the CPCE.
- Other National Exams: Students in the clinical mental health counseling concentration must pass the National Counseling Exam (NCE) to obtain licensure when they graduate from the program; students in the rehabilitation counseling concentration must pass the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam to become certified upon graduation; and students in the school counseling concentration track must take the Praxis II exam to be certified in the State of Maine. Because our program meets both CACREP and CORE standards, students in our program are eligible to sit for these exams during their last semester in the program. The NCE is held twice a year (April & October). Prior to the application deadlines (January & July), the program will email student interns about the upcoming deadlines. For further details about the tests, see the Student Handbook.
- Practicum: The Individual Counseling Practicum Seminar and Laboratory (HCE 690/691) are important clinical courses in the program. You must apply for these courses one year in advance of the course so that we can plan for adequate numbers of sections to accommodate student demand. See http://usm.maine.edu/counselor-education/hce690691-individual-counseling-practicum for the application and more information about the practicum. One semester before taking the practicum you will need to meet with your advisor to identify potential practicum sites.
- Internship: The Internship in Counselor Education (HCE 686) is the intensive 600- or 900-hour site-based experience in which you will apply all facets of your graduate program under the supervision of practicing counselors. Again, you need to apply for the Internship one full year before taking the course, and you need to meet with your advisor one semester before the Internship experience to choose your site(s). Go to http://usm.maine.edu/counselor-education/hce-686-internship-counselor-education for the application and more information.
- E-Portfolios: As part of the comprehensive assessment plan for the Counselor Education Program, we use an e-portfolio to help students store and retrieve documents that illustrate how they have met all the CACREP or CORE standards. Even more important, we want the e-portfolios to be a portal in which students can reflect on their learning and then to compile materials and artifacts that will assist in the job search process at the completion of the program. Go to http://usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/counselor-education/Counselor_Ed_Portfolio.pdf for more information.
NEW TO USM? THINGS TO KNOW: We mentioned this resource early and here it is again. We highly recommend you print off this important three-page resource that tells you "how to get a USM ID Card" to "how to get your textbooks and course materials" and much, much more! http://usm.maine.edu/sites/default/files/sehd/New-to-USM.pdf
What should I do once I'm registered?
If you have never taken courses at USM before, there are several things you should do before your course starts:
1. Get a USM ID/Library card--(207)780-5600; https://usm.maine.edu/usmcard
2. Activate your USM e-mail account—USM Helpdesk (207)780-4029; http://usm.maine.edu/computing/helpdesk
3. Get your parking tag--(207)780-4718; https://usm.maine.edu/police/parking-and-transportation
4. Get your books--(207)780-4070; https://usm.maine.edu/bookstore
5. Pay your bill with Student Accounts--(207)780-5200; http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services
6. Check Financial Aid--(207)780-5250 (if applicable); http://usm.maine.edu/student-financial-services
7. Verify the dates, times, and location of your course(s) in MaineStreet.
How do I find out if a course has prerequisites?
Generally, course prerequisites follow the online course descriptions. Course descriptions are linked to the course number on the MaineStreet course search.
How do I get my grades?
Grades are not mailed to students. Grades are generally posted by faculty within 7 days of the end of the course. Students may check their grades using MaineStreet Self-Service or by calling the Registrar's Office and requesting a transcript (see next question for more details).
How do I get a transcript?
To get an official transcript of your grades, you must complete a Transcript Request form or submit a signed request in writing to: Registration & Scheduling Services, 37 College Ave, Gorham, ME 04038. Students may also fax their request to (207) 780-5517. See the Registrar's web site for complete information. All university charges must be paid before a transcript is released.