Frequently Asked Questions
What is SOAR?
SOAR is the UNF School Counseling Graduate Program. The acronym stands for Supporters of Academic Rigor. This two year program is designed as a Cohort Model. This means that the group of students admitted together basically follows our 2 year graduate program together until completion. We find this provides our students with support, cohesiveness, and more opportunities for practical experience with schools and students. All of our courses are held in the late afternoons, evenings and/or some Saturdays so that students can work if they choose. The average course load is 3 courses a semester. SOAR is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
What does a School Counselor do?
School Counselors meet the academic, career, and social/emotional needs of diverse student populations.
School Counselors …
- Serve as advocates, educational leaders, team members, counselors, and consultants to maximize opportunities for every student to succeed academically;
- Develop in students a commitment to achievement and provide conditions that enable students to accomplish their goals;
- Help students recognize their potential and enhance their capacity to make academic and career decisions;
- Serve as leaders and stewards of equity and achievement and be able to remedy institutional and environmental barriers impeding students' progress;
- Provide all students with academic and career advising in order for them to form values, attitudes, and behaviors conducive to their educational and economic success; and,
- Become managers of resources and partnership builders, enlisting the support of parents, agencies, and community members.
How do I apply to SOAR?
Admission is a two-part process. First, applicants must apply and qualify for admission to the UNF Graduate School. Second, applicants must complete a SOAR Admission Portfolio and interview with a Selection Team. Upon successful completion of both these components, applicants would then be invited into the program.
When should I apply for SOAR?
SOAR admits students in Summer B and Fall semesters. The program preference is Summer B admission. We recommend students start their Graduate School application in February or March. All supporting documentation and test scores must be in by the application deadlines listed under Important Dates on the SOAR website.
Where can I get more information about SOAR?
You can contact the Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management Department at (904) 620-2990. SOAR also hosts several Information Sessions. These sessions are hosted by the faculty. The session covers the school counseling profession, the program and admission information. The session lasts approximately 1 hour. No reservations required. The dates are listed under the Admission to SOAR section of the SOAR website.
Can I take classes and work full time?
Yes. All courses are in the late afternoons, evenings and some weekend days. We try to schedule classes so that students only need to come to campus one or two afternoons/evenings a week. The earliest weekday class will start at 4:30PM. We do ask that all students save 6 personal days a year for daytime school activities and counseling events.
Do I have to be a teacher or an education major to apply to SOAR?
No, you do not need to be a teacher or have a bachelor’s degree in education to apply or be admitted to the SOAR program. We welcome the perspective of applicants who come from diverse educational and career backgrounds.
How do I apply for scholarships or get financial aid?
The College of Education has a scholarship website:
You can also get detailed information on financial aid from the UNF One-Stop Student Services.
How much does SOAR cost?
Information about tuition and fees can be found on the UNF website http://www.unf.edu/tuition/. SOAR consists of 48 credit hours. There are also an additional 6 pre-requisite hours for students who do not have their ESOL endorsement or their Reading Competency requirement. Some courses require the purchase of one or more books. Those costs are flexible depending on whether they are purchased new or used. If you purchase a campus parking permit, the cost is between $55-$160, or you have the option of paying a $5 daily fee. The first summer and fall semesters students are only required to come to campus a limited number of days. There are also costs during the program associated with Professional Requirements. These costs are subject to change without notice, however, here are the costs as of 2015:
- Duval County Public School – Contractor fingerprinting - $85.25. *DCPS teachers may also need to be fingerprinted as a contractor.(One time fee.)
- American School Counseling Association (ASCA) Student Membership -$69.00. Membership includes required counseling liability insurance. (Yearly fee.)
- Florida School Counseling Association (FSCA) Membership -$10. (Yearly fee.)
- Certification exams (there is a charge for retaking any exam):
- General Knowledge Test $130
- Professional Education Test $150
- Guidance and Counseling Test $200
Optional: One summer course does have an optional one week trip to New York City attached to it. The average cost of the trip (not including tuition) is approximately $1,400. There is a Jacksonville based option for those students who choose not to go to New York.