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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 are the Program's Objectives? 

  1. Recruits, selects, and retains qualified graduate students with attention given to the inclusion of candidates from culturally diverse and underrepresented populations;
  2. Prepares school counselors who will serve as advocates, educational leaders, team members, and consultants who will maximize opportunities for every student to achieve academically and develop as active citizens;
  3. Prepares our own faculty, students, our education and community to be highly skilled and culturally competent practitioners who can best support and promote equity and justice in our multicultural and pluralistic society;
  4. Works collectively and collaboratively with diverse youth, other educators, and families in order to facilitate individual and community development;
  5. Develops and promotes the highest quality teaching and learning experiences for our students, our community and education partners, and ourselves by continuously assessing our teaching and learning curricula, practices, and processes; and,
  6. Models community and professional identity through involvement and leadership in community organizations and initiatives; local, state, and national professional organizations; and through presentations at state, regional, and national levels.

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 office of School Counseling by email at schoolcounseling@unf.edu for more information. We invite you to meet SOAR faculty and learn more about the SOAR Program. Join faculty, alumni and current students during these Spring and Summer 2020 Information Sessions on:

    • Wednesday, April 22, 9:45 - 10:45 a.m.
    • Wednesday, April 22, 4:15 - 5:15 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 29, 12:45 - 1:45 p.m.
    • Wednesday, April 29, 5:45 - 6:45 p.m.
    • Tuesday, May 5, 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
    • Tuesday, May 5, 4:45 - 5:45 p.m.
     

No appointment necessary, simply join the Zoom School Counseling "SOAR" Information Session at one of the designated dates and times listed above. Should you need accommodations, please email schoolcounseling@unf.edu at least five days prior to the event date.

 

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 4:30 p.m. 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?

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.)
  • Check the official certification exams website for updates to exam fees and processes (there is a charge for retaking any exam):
    • General Knowledge Test $130
    • Professional Education Test $150
    • Guidance and Counseling Test $200
     

What is the impact of SOAR in local schools?

Impact on K-12 Students    

Field Experiences integrated throughout the course work (total 700 clock hours). SOAR is in partnership with Duval County Public Schools for: 

 

  • Transforming School Counseling Initiative (1999-present)
  • GEAR UP Grant (1999-2005) services delivered at Ribault Middle and High Schools yielded higher achievement on FCAT. 
  • GEAR UP Grant (2004-2007) Lee High School
  • GEAR UP Grant (2007-2012) Northwestern Middle School, Eugene Butler Middle School and Raines High School
  • GEAR UP Grant (2008-2014) Northwestern Middle School, Paxon Middle School, Matthew Gilbert Middle School, Ribault Middle School, Jackson High School and Ribault High School 
  • GEAR UP Grant (2018-2023) Englewood High School, First Coast High School, Lee High School, Raines High School, Ribault High School, Terry Parker High School and Westside High School

 

What is the career outlook for school counselors? 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, employment of school counselors is projected to grow 8% in the next ten years, which is faster than average. On average, school counselors yearly salary is $56,310.