Application Requirements

To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. A degree in psychology or human services is preferred but not required. 

Your completed application must include the following items:

  • Transcripts: Provide both unofficial and official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions or programs attended. You may upload your unofficial transcripts directly to the online application. Official transcripts should be sent electronically to applicationservices@counseling.northwestern.edu or by mail to the following address:

    Application Processing Services
    Counseling@Northwestern
    7900 Harkins Road
    Suite 501
    Lanham, MD 20706
  • Letters of recommendation: Provide at least two letters from professional or academic references who can attest to your dedication to helping others and your ability to succeed in a challenging master’s program.
  • Resume or CV: Upload your current resume or curriculum vitae detailing any clinical experiences you may have.
  • Statement of purpose: Write a statement describing your interest in earning a graduate counseling degree online. Explain how your academic and/or professional background has prepared you to succeed in the program and how you will be an asset to the Northwestern community.
  • Supplemental essay: In a clear and concise way, write about a time in your life when you had to be courageous, as well as a time when you have juggled multiple priorities, and how you handled it. Your essay should be no longer than three single-spaced pages in 12-point type.
  • Recent photo: Upload a recent headshot, such as a passport photo, that includes no other individuals. Use standard image files such as .png, .jpg, .gif, or .pdf.
  • Test scores: Submit official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) taken within the last two years if you completed your postsecondary academic work outside the United States. These scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Northwestern University using institution code 1565 and object code 01. GRE scores are not required for admission to the program. Note: all students must be US citizens or permanent residents living in the United States throughout the program. Non-US citizens and students living outside the United States are not eligible for the program at this time.
  • Application fee: Pay the $95 application fee by debit or credit card within the online application.

Group Interview

Counseling@Northwestern’s accrediting body, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, requires applicants to demonstrate group interactions before receiving an admissions decision. After your application is complete, you will participate in a group interview that takes place in our online classroom.

During the interview, you should demonstrate strong communication and listening skills, self-awareness, empathy, self-reflection, and maturity. Let your personality show during all four stages of the interview: 

Questions about yourself:
Answer five or six fill-in-the-blank or hypothetical questions, such as “What is your biggest weakness?”
Case studies:
Discuss how you would handle a brief case study illustrating complex client problems.
Final reflections:
Share something that had an impact on you during the interview. This can be something you learned from a fellow interviewee or something you learned about yourself.
Questions for faculty:
Ask the interviewers any questions you have about the program.

To make the interview as successful as possible, ensure that you have a stable Internet connection, and choose a quiet location free of distractions.

Financial Aid

We encourage you to apply for financial aid when you complete your online application. For more information, visit our financial aid page.

Academic Expectations

Key Skills for Success 

The Counseling@Northwestern curriculum is rigorous and challenging, preparing you for the complex cases you will encounter as a clinical mental health counselor.

To succeed as a Counseling@Northwestern student, you will need to demonstrate the following key skills throughout your enrollment.   

Effective Writing

Counseling@Northwestern is a writing-intensive program, requiring you to clearly present your thoughts, perspectives, and research in written form. In addition to writing for academia, you should be proficient at writing for the arts and sciences, health sciences, and legal audiences. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with American Psychological Association (APA) Style because you will be required to adhere to this style for all writing assignments. If you would like additional writing practice, you may take a writing seminar at any time while you are enrolled.  

Listening and Self-Reflection 

You will spend much of your time in the program listening to others, whether you’re attending face-to-face classes or working with clients at your placement sites. When others are speaking, we expect you to demonstrate active listening, in which you hear what is being said and then respond meaningfully. In addition to listening, the program requires you to be in constant self-reflection. You will take part in various self-reflective experiences that challenge you to confront your perspectives so you can work effectively with diverse people in need.

Social Skills 

The core of the counseling profession is positive social interaction, and we

expect you to demonstrate strong social skills from your interview through graduation. You should act respectfully toward your professors, classmates, clients and site supervisors at all times. As part of the program, you will take a group dynamics course and participate in a group dynamics immersion that will give you a firsthand look at the complexities of counseling multiple clients at once.

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact the admissions team at 1-844-684-6221 or admissions@counseling.northwestern.edu.