When I was in high school, I was friends with someone who was homeless. Despite his struggles, he raved about how much support his school counselors provided. After personally witnessing the positive impact counselors can have on students’ lives, I was instantly inspired to become a school counselor myself.


Since the beginning of this academic year, I have been preparing for life after I graduate in May. I have wanted to attend graduate school for school counseling since I was in high school. 


However, doing so is definitely not something to quickly and easily cross off on my to-do list—I knew there was a process ahead of me.


As a first-generation student, it was difficult for me to really comprehend the materials I needed to apply to graduate school and where to even start. 


After doing some personal research on programs offered and having a handful of conversations with faculty, I decided to narrow it down to Winona State University and another school.


Here’s how I turned my dream of becoming a school counselor into a reality.


Photo by Brooke Powell ’21


Prepare Inside & Outside of the Classroom

A big question I had coming into WSU as a first-year student was what I was going to study. Since counseling is a master’s program, I had to explore my options for an undergraduate degree.


After changing my major a couple of times, I finally decided to major in communication students, and triple-minor in psychology, sociology and child advocacy studies. 


I believe this wide array of areas has prepared me the best to begin graduate school for school counseling. Not only have I learned tons of material in class, but also I have gained a lot of experience during capstone and internship opportunities.


Another factor that has prepared me for this next step is my work experiences on campus as a Resident Assistant (RA) and tutor. Working with students one-on-one has improved my patience and conflict management. 


Balancing my different roles has also given me the opportunity to improve my time management skills, which will be helpful as a full-time grad student.


On top of all this, I connected with many resources offered on campus, which have helped to solidify my skills and give my confidence to begin applying.


Photo by Brian Waldbillig ’18


Utilize On-Campus Resources

I do not think I would be where I am today in my graduate school process if it had not been for the Warrior Success Center and other staff and faculty members.


The Warrior Success Center is the ultimate hub of Support Services, from Advising, Career, Tutoring and Access—all free of charge! 


I went here many times to complete my resume and personal statement needed for graduate school applications. I also put together a list of references who can attest to my work ethic and performance.


Meeting with advisors in the Warrior Success Center helped me prepare and gain confidence in applying for graduate schools. I am so grateful for their help and resources. 


Photo by Kelsa Katzfey ’21


Make the Final Decision

I have completed my application and interview processes for WSU and the other school, and I am happy to announce that I have been accepted to both programs!


I have not made up my mind yet because I am still waiting to hear back about available Graduate Assistant positions at both schools. However, I am so ready for this next step, wherever it may be.



If you see graduate school in your future, reach out to staff and faculty members around you and dive right in. No matter your background or areas of study, you can turn your dream into a reality, just like me!