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Northern State offers priority admission for counseling program

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 6:00 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Mental health and counseling services have become more prevalent with the ongoing pandemic. But the need for professionals to fill those rolls hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Northern State Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Director of Graduate Studies Dr. Erin Fouberg says incoming students have been more interested in filling those needs, helped by their recognition of mental health issues.

“They recognize that mental health is not a stigma, but it’s something we need to talk about. And the more people involved in helping each other out, the healthier we can be as a community and as individuals.” Fouberg says.

Students at Northern looking into those fields will now have priority admission into the university’s counseling master’s program, which prepares students to take a state licensure or national certification exam to become a licensed counselor. Fouberg says although this has been in the works for a while, the ongoing pandemic has directed many into looking into the program.

“And COVID has made everybody recognize the amount of stress, depression, and anxiety that so many of us are under. Just the need for mental health professionals in our region."

It can also help undergraduate students looking into counseling direct their attention towards specific careers or areas.

“I just wanted students to see, ‘Hey, I’m here at Northern. I’m a freshman, I’m a sophomore, I’m a junior, I’m a senior. I don’t know necessarily what I want to do with my life. But this is a path I could take. I have an interest in criminal justice. I have an interest an in sociology. I have an interest in psychology.’” Fouberg says.

And Fouberg says getting more undergraduates interest in counseling at Northern will help the region retain mental health professionals, and provide more resources to South Dakota.

“That’s why it’s important for us that we have enough counselors in our region. That we want our students who go to Northern as undergraduates to go here for graduate school. And hopefully then they’ll practice in this region and provide mental health counseling for us in the years to come.”

An information session for current Northern students who want to learn more about the priority admission program and the NSU counseling program will be held via Zoom at 10 a.m. Central time Thursday, Nov. 5. And an information session for members of the community who are interested in careers in clinical mental health, school counseling or forensic counseling will be held via Zoom at 7 p.m. Central time Wednesday, Nov. 11.

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