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How to Apply

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Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution, or the international equivalent. For applicants to the MA in Counseling Online program, you must be located in a state in which we are authorized to provide online education. 

While no prerequisites are required to apply, we strongly recommend applicants to have related volunteer or work experience in the mental health field.

GRE scores are not required for admission to PAU master's degree programs. GRE scores will not be considered in the review of applications, even if students provide them.

A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.

Application Details

Online ApplicationToggle Accordion

Applicants must complete the online application for the MA in Counseling in PSYCAS. The application for Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 will be available starting mid-September 2021. If you plan to apply for the online program, before applying, please make sure you are located in a state in which we are authorized to provide online education. 

Start your PSYCAS Application State Authorization

Application FeeToggle Accordion

A nonrefundable application fee must be paid to complete the application. In PSYCAS, the first application fee is $80, and subsequent application fees for additional programs are $40 each. The APA offers a fee waiver opportunity for students who qualify.

PSYCAS Application Fees and Fee Waivers

Official TranscriptsToggle Accordion

College transcripts verifying a Bachelor's degree are required. Only official, sealed transcripts from the Registrar's office of each institution are acceptable. Official transcripts should be mailed by the issuing institution directly to the PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center.

International Applicants

If you attended an institution outside of the US, PAU requires that your transcript be evaluated and, if applicable, translated. You may select any vendor that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Please visit for a complete list of members. Your course-by-course evaluation should be sent directly to PSYCAS. More information on submitting foreign coursework to PSYCAS can be found within the application and via the Applicant Help Center.

Palo Alto University has partnered with the following agencies to provide applicants with convenient ordering sites and direct delivery of evaluations to the Office of Admission. If choosing one of these agencies, applicants are encouraged to use the links below. (*Discount available via link.)

Sending Official Transcripts to PSYCAS

Resume or Curriculum VitaeToggle Accordion

The resume or CV should list professional and academic experience, education, awards, publications, etc.

Writing a Resume for Grad School - Prep Scholar

Letters of RecommendationToggle Accordion

Letters of recommendation from three academic or professional references are required. Personal references, such as family, friends, therapists or informal mentors, will not be accepted. If you have questions about whether a recommender is acceptable, please reach out to your admissions counselor.

Letters are requested and submitted through the PSYCAS system. Applicants will electronically submit the names and email addresses of their recommenders who will receive a request to complete the recommendation form. Three letters are required.

Submitting Evaluations to PsyCAS

Statement of PurposeToggle Accordion

The purpose of the personal statement is to provide a sample of the applicant’s ability to write in an academic and professional manner, as well as to learn about any qualifications or life events that were not captured in the application.

The statement should be no longer than two (2) 1.5-line-spaced pages in 12 point font with 1-inch margins.
The statement should address the following questions:
  • What does being a professional counselor mean to you?
  • Why have you chosen to pursue a career in professional counseling?
  • How have your previous school, work, or training experiences prepared you to pursue graduate studies in counseling?
  • What personal characteristics and strengths will contribute to your being an effective counselor?
Writing the Personal Statement - Purdue University

TOEFL or IELTSToggle Accordion

For international applicants remaining in their home country and applying to the online format, and those whose undergraduate studies were in a language other than English, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required. Scores can be submitted through PSYCAS. For international students who earned their bachelor's degree in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, these exams are not required.

Sending TOEFL Scores to PsyCAS

Once Your Application is Complete


After applications are received, applicants who satisfy admission requirements are selected for group interviews with faculty and student interviewers via video Zoom. 

Acceptance and Enrollment

Students accepted into the MA in Counseling program receive an official acceptance letter by e-mail. To enroll in the program, students who have been accepted must submit an enrollment agreement after receiving their acceptance letter to secure their place.

Financial Aid

For students who wish to secure financial aid, it is important to begin that process as soon as possible by completing the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is complete, the PAU Financial Aid office will send the student a PAU financial aid application.

Start your FAFSA
MA in Counseling Admissions Deep Dive Recording
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