Fall 2019
Cal State Apply Application Feb. 1, 2019
Supplemental Materials Feb. 1, 2019

End of February

Offers of Admission Early April


HECSA Alumni




Antonio Ramirez

Class of 2012
Admissions Officer, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The Counseling and Guidance program provided my career pathway direction. I went into the program having a narrow view of what Student Affairs and the helping professions were. With the countless opportunities to work with my professors, cohort members and University partners, I was able to fine tune my career goals and learn valuable tools to effectively work with students, in turn helping them reach their potential. This investment was well worth it for me and I highly recommend to anyone interested in creating opportunity for themselves.”


Clare O'Brien

Class of 1985
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Cal Poly State University

“My Cal Poly experience as an undergraduate in Economics and graduate student in Education, Counseling & Guidance helped shape my career over the past 30 years. My M.A. degree introduced me to the world of Student Affairs and opportunities to support student success on so many levels in Higher Education. I enjoyed 16 years professional experience in Student Affairs, both at Cal Poly and Santa Rosa Junior College, before stepping into the ring of the corporate world. Who knew that Corporate America would welcome me so warmly with opportunities in Learning & Development, Executive Coaching, Talent Planning, Curriculum Development and Strategic Planning? With the ‘Learn by Doing’ brand opening doors at world-class corporations in multiple industries, I held executive roles at Hewlett Packard (high tech), Medtronic (medical devices) and The Walt Disney Company (entertainment). Last year, I returned to my first love: Cal Poly Student Affairs, to help lead our strategic vision and inspire students to embrace their unlimited possibilities. I encourage you, as a prospective graduate student, to consider all the possibilities this degree may offer you as you impact others in so many ways.”


Heather K. Iwata

Class of 2007
Associate Director of Admissions and Student Affairs
University of California, Berkeley, School of Optometry

“Completing my Master’s Degree in Cal Poly’s Counseling and Guidance program provided the greatest foundation when navigating one’s new career: real-life application. Without it, securing a job within the realm of Student Affairs is an uphill challenge. With it, the opportunities are plentiful! Like building blocks, you learn about theories, how they apply to a specific population and how to develop your own theory/style as you are evolving through the internship process. Providing those real-life examples of my “in progress” approach gave me the confidence to have more robust interviews and secure some awesome jobs. Mentorship and networking came along with the experience; Cal Poly has outstanding professional staff who are leaders within their own forte and can helped me read between the lines, connect with colleagues, and shape my road map to success. I am grateful to the program and hope to pay it forward to you one day!”



Laura Hunkler

Class of 2013
Career Counselor
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The cohort model of this program creates an immediate sense of community, which I loved. Also, the variety of higher education experiences I was exposed to as part of the Counseling and Guidance Program was really invaluable. Not only did it allow me learn which parts of higher education/student affairs I was best suited for and interested in, it also gave me the opportunity to become a true working professional while still a graduate student.”


Brian Gosney

Class of 2008
Sierra College

“The Counseling and Guidance: Higher Education/Student Affairs MA in Education Program at Cal Poly allowed me to develop the tools to excel in the community college counseling field. The Counseling and Guidance Program provided an environment for me to grow both professionally and personally. I was encouraged and given an opportunity to get hands on experience at the community college and four year level. In the classroom I was challenged by the material of the coursework, my professors and even more so by my peers. I would not be the person I am today without the Counseling and Guidance Program.”



Jackie Duerr

Class of 2011
Advisor, Multicultural Engineering Program
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“Although the classes in the master’s program are structured, the projects provided the opportunity for flexibility and exploration within the field of higher education. Where I benefited most was from this flexibility, which provided me the opportunity to specialize in what was most meaningful to me. As a former transfer student who values diversity, the graduate program allowed me to explore these passions so that I could build my resume and find the career path where I find significance and meaning, and, of course, enjoy on a daily basis.”


Greg Avakian

Class of 2011
Director, Recreational Sports, Associated Students, Inc
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“In the role of an administrator and supervisor of both professional and student staff, I have valued my experiences gained within the Counseling and Guidance curriculum tremendously. The skills I obtained through the courses such as Group and Individual Counseling, as well as Leadership, provided me the tools of both self-awareness and the ability to better understand the individual in order to be a stronger supervisor, coach, and mentor.”  


Katie Ellis

Class of 2012
Advisor, Educational Opportunity Program
Student Academic Services
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The Counseling and Guidance program changed my life for the better. Without my master's degree, I would not be working in Higher Education or have the pleasure of working with such motivated and inspiring students every day. In my master’s program, I learned far more about myself and my ability to advise others than I ever thought possible. The cohort model allowed us as cohort members to grow from each other, lean on each other and also provided an accepting environment to explore our career goals and interests. The most beneficial part of the master’s program for me was the opportunity to complete several internships. The internships allowed me to become a working professional while still in graduate school and gain the experience necessary to obtain a position in higher education upon completion of the program. Lastly, the dedication and support of the professors within the Counseling and Guidance program are the reason the program is successful and each student who goes through it is successful.”


Veronica Heiskell

Class of 2014
Career Counselor
The Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling
The University of Texas at Austin

“The C&G program provided me the opportunities to try out a number of different student affairs areas through internships, projects, and the final thesis. Because of this myriad of different experiences, I was able to apply to a diverse set of positions and select the best position for me upon graduation. The final thesis also impressed search committees; you can tailor the project to ensure that it will be most beneficial for you. The faculty care about you as a new student affairs professional and are incredibly helpful in providing advice and guidance about your next steps. I highly recommend this graduate program. ”


Jason Mockford

Class of 2008
Assistant Director of Leadership & Service
Dean of Students Office
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The best part of the Counseling & Guidance program is being able to tailor your experience to your professional interests and curiosities. It both prepared me for my specific career goals, while allowing me to have a broad understanding of both counseling and student affairs as whole. The cohort model was a fantastic way to build an automatic support system and a professional network.”


Christina Kaviani

Class of 2009
Coordinator, SAFER Program
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The C and G program helped me prepare me for my career by giving me confidence and knowledge. Many times I use to think I did not have a skill or a talent. Until being in the program, I never saw my skill set as something valuable. I love being with people, helping them, motivating them and empowering them to have a voice. But I never understood how this was my talent and I can find a profession where it is recognized and celebrated. The program allowed me to gain the knowledge in counseling, advising, educating and inspiring others. I would 100% recommend the program to any prospective graduate students based on what I was able to understand about myself and what I was able to learn in order to help more people. What I learned allowed me to be the best version of myself in my career. So much in your career is the confidence you have in your field along with the knowledge you have gained from your education. The C and G program gave me this.”


Brittany Manzer

Class of 2011
Career Counselor; Internship Development Coordinator Career Services
University of California Santa Barbara

“My experience in the Counseling & Guidance program at Cal Poly defined my career aspirations and passion as an educator and counselor in student affairs. The incredible reputation of the C&G program throughout the field of higher education is a true testament to the faculty, foundational focus on counseling and student affairs, cohort structure, and successful alumni. The C&G program facilitates your preparation for the competitive job market by purposefully creating opportunities to gain practical, well-rounded experience through diverse course projects and professional internships in a wide variety of settings. You truly create lasting relationships with faculty and mentors who support your professional growth both during and after the program. This goes beyond networking--the C&G program is a family that you will always be proud to be a member of.”


Katelyn O'Brien

Class of 2014
Academic Advisor, Orfalea College of Business
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

“The Counseling and Guidance Program served as an opportunity to explore how to apply tangible experiences to specific fields of interest. The support, mentorship, and coaching from the faculty in this program is one of the many components that sets it apart from other graduate programs. While the formative learning and coursework provided the foundation of knowledge, the internship opportunities and experiences allowed me to develop career related skills I would later apply to professional roles. This program was a huge source of empowerment for my colleagues and myself in discovering and applying strengths as an emerging student affairs professional. The Counseling and Guidance Program created enriching outlets of opportunity for success. Without hesitation, I'd recommend this program.”

Related Content

School of Education
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407