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For New and Current Students

We are excited that you will be joining John Carroll University as you embark on your journey to becoming a counselor! As a new student, you may have many questions and we hope we can help. Please read on for some common questions and take note of where you can find more information about each topic. We hope you will consider joining us for a new Graduate Student Orientation before your first class on campus.

If you are a newly accepted student, please be sure to visit Graduate Studies’ Getting Started page. Here, you will find everything you need to know before you start classes. This information includes contacting and meeting with your advisor, how to register for classes, course schedules, how to access JCU web services, setting up an email and Banner account, billing and payment information, and more.

You’ve registered, what’s next? Please visit the Newly Admitted Students page for all on-campus related information that will better acquaint you to campus and JCU. This page includes information on parking and permits, obtaining a student ID, registering for JCU alerts, ordering books, and more!

All questions related to tuition and financial aid should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid. They will be able to answer all questions related to tuition/fees, types of aid, and billing and payments. Please note, the Department of Counseling does not handle any matters regarding financial aid and cannot discuss student financial plans.

Graduate assistantships are designed both to serve the needs of the University and to assist students in their professional development. Selection for these positions is highly competitive. Prospective students who are applying for graduate assistantships should submit their applications by February 1.

All new assistants are required to attend a workshop for new graduate/athletic assistants at the beginning of their contract, usually during the week preceding the start of fall classes. In addition, individual departments/programs may have their own orientations.

All questions about graduate assistantships should be directed to the Office of Graduate Studies.

If you are new to the Cleveland area, there is much to be explored! Read about Cleveland  and the fun places to visit when you’re away from campus. Also, if you are looking to find a place to live near John Carroll’s campus, you can find some information about the nearby neighborhoods here.

Questions? Contact Us.
Prospective Students:
Colleen Sommerfeld | Assistant Dean for Graduate Admission |216.397.4902

Forms and Documents

It is essential that all new students take the time to carefully read the Department of Counseling Student Handbook. The handbook fully covers all aspects of being a student in the Department.

To access the Academic Planning Guides you must be logged into your email account.  To fill in your Academic Planning Guide do not request edit access.  Instead, make a copy to edit in Google Sheets by clicking on File > Make a Copy and rename and save it to your Google Drive. Then, you may share that file with your advisor so they can give you feedback as you move through the program.

  • To submit an Academic/Transient/Course Overload Petition – Go to Banner. Click on Enter Secure Area.  Log in to your Banner account. Click on blue Academic tab at the top. Click on the Graduate Academic Petition Form.  Complete and submit your petition request.
  • Independent Study Form: To apply for an independent study.

Comprehensive Exam

The final examination requirement for the master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health or School Counseling is satisfied through successful completion of the Master’s Comprehensive Examination. Students should take the exam before beginning their last semester in the program. In case a student does not receive a passing grade, an additional semester before the anticipated graduation date is available for retaking the exam. Students need to take the test no later March 31 if they wish to graduate at the end of spring semester, no later July 31 if they wish to graduate at the end of summer semester, and no later than November 30 if they wish to graduate at the end of fall semester.  The exam must be passed before a student can graduate from the program.

The Master’s Comprehensive Examination, the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam™ (CPCE™), assesses the student’s overall knowledge of counseling. It consists of 160 multiple-choice questions. The examination incorporates the eight core content areas with 20 questions each, covering professional orientation, research and evaluation, group work (dynamics, processing, and counseling), appraisal of the individual, the helping relationship (including theory as well as methods and techniques of counseling), human growth and development, social and cultural foundations, and life span and career development. The exam has been created by the Research and Assessment Corporation for Counseling (RACC), in conjunction with the Council for Credentialing and Education® (CCE®) – both affiliate corporations of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The CPCE™ exam is commonly used in counseling programs throughout the country and provides students with an opportunity to synthesize their knowledge while also preparing for the licensing exams which they will need to take upon graduation.

The examination may be taken upon the completion of academic course work in the eight core areas of counseling. CG 500, CG 505, CG 509/ED 502, CG 530, CG 531, CG 535, CG 561, CG 562, CG 563 should be completed prior to taking the examination.

To prepare for the examination, students should review all notes, texts, and other readings from the appropriate academic course work. The Master’s Comprehensive Examination (CPCE™) may contain questions that have not been addressed specifically in the individual student’s academic course work. Therefore, to be well prepared for the examination, students are encouraged to keep up with the current body of knowledge in the field. This effort toward keeping current may be especially important if course work spans several years, as it does for many students. Students are encouraged to review current journals, and to keep current through reading, workshops, and small group discussion. Students are also encouraged to review the Ethical Code (ACA or ASCA) as well as position statements of the ACA and or the ASCA and other professional associations. Some students find it helpful to review commercially prepared study guides. Any study guide used for the National Counseling Exam is appropriate for use with the CPCE exam. These materials can be located by going to the National Board of Certified Counselors website or just Googling the topic. A common resource students have used is the Encyclopedia of Counseling by Howard Rosenthal. This resource is available online at Amazon and other book sellers. If students desire further guidance about preparing for the exam, they should set up an appointment with their advisor. There is no penalty for guessing on the examination.

Students must register at least two weeks prior to their intended test date using this form:

Comprehensive Exam Registration Form

Within one week after submitting this form students will be emailed a CCE® registration link. Students will have a 6- month window to take the exam. Students must then submit their CCE® registration via the link provided. Within 7 business days, the students will receive an email from Pearson VUE regarding their approved examination. The student must then create an account with Pearson VUE. Students will be prompted to select a Pearson facility nearest them, and schedule their examination for an available time slot at the selected facility. Pearson VUE sites can be viewed by going to the following link,

CPCE™ – Pearson VUE Testing Centers

and clicking on “Find a test center” on the right side. The three testing sites closest to John Carroll University are in Beachwood, Westlake, and Copley Township.

The student will pay the $150 exam fee to Pearson VUE via personal credit card. Upon completion of the exam, students’ scores will print with no indication of pass/fail status. Official scores and descriptive statistics from the previous month’s test takers are delivered to John Carroll around the middle of each month and are then emailed to students.

Students need to take the test by March 31 if they wish to graduate at the end of spring semester, by July 31 if they wish to graduate at the end of summer semester, and by November 30 if they wish to graduate at the end of fall semester AND students must receive a passing score.

If a student is unsuccessful in passing the examination on the first attempt, the examination may be repeated. However, before the student is eligible to repeat the examination, he or she must meet with his or her faculty advisor to organize a plan of study to prepare for the repeated examination. This plan must be in written form and must be filed with the department chair. Students who are required to retake the exam (up to three attempts) will simply log into their Pearson VUE account, pay for and schedule the exam (another CCE® registration is not required). If four or more attempts are required, students must obtain permission from the Department Chair who will notify CCE®.

A letter from John Carroll University’s Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Office will have to be written on university letterhead with the student’s name and what services they are approved to receive. This letter is to be delivered to the Department of Counseling’s administrative assistant. She will notify CCE®. Further instructions will be given to the student for additional steps to take to schedule their exam with Pearson VUE.

For students admitted Spring 2016 or later, the passing score is one that is at or within 3/4 standard deviation below the current mean for the national sample of students who took the exam as an exit exam. For students admitted Fall 2015 or earlier, the passing score is one that is at or within one standard deviation below the current mean for the national sample of students who took the exam as an exit exam.