Admissions

Program-Specific Requirements

For admission to the MFT Program, an accredited Bachelor’s Degree is required. Explore what the MFT/LPCC Program is all about. Learn More…

For admission to the MS in Education and Community Leadership Program, a Bachelor’s degree is required. Explore what the MS in Education and Community Leadership Program is all about. Learn More…

For admission to study for the Ed.D., each student must have an accredited Master’s degree, or a minimum of 30 semester units of graduate study at an accredited institution. Explore what the EdD in Higher Education Program is all about. Learn More…

Calendar and Enrollment

Students may apply, be admitted, and begin study as of the first of any month of the year and may complete their programs in any month.

Programs continue year-round, although seminar activity is usually less in the summer. WISR’s fiscal year begins on July 1.

Requirements for All Programs

Each prospective student should read and explore our website carefully, and in particular, should read the following sections as first steps in learning about how to enroll at WISR:

Statement of Non-Discrimination, Inclusion and Affirmation of Diversity Values

Western Institute for Social Research admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability in the admissions or in the administration of its educational policies, scholarships and loan programs and all other school administered programs. WISR actively encourages interested members of ethnic and racial minority groups, women, and other underserved persons to discover whether its programs and methods fit their special, personal and community interests and goals.

In addition, WISR seeks actively to build an inclusive and diverse, including a multiracial, multicultural, learning and teaching community, in which the central values are built on the worth and distinctiveness of each person’s background, going beyond our differences to celebrate qualities and needs that we all share as humans. In building and nurturing such a community, WISR affirms the importance of free and open dialogue, and to that end, students, faculty, staff, alumni and Board are all expected to 1) refrain from making comments that would infringe on the safety, dignity and respect for any group, and 2) welcome assistance in learning how to improve their interactions with groups with whom they are less experienced or comfortable.

WISR core values include:

  • Developing a multicultural, inclusive perspective. This means developing and using inclusive and multicultural perspectives to inform one’s purposes, and one’s views of social issues and challenges and opportunities in one’s chosen fields or arenas of endeavor—profession, workplace, community.
  • Developing a sense of empathy, compassion and community toward, and with, others.
  • Appreciating and understanding the broad spectrum of perspectives and consciousness, and how those arise out of people’s culture, gender, economic background, religious and sexual orientations.
  • A culture of learning that respects and promotes the dignity of every person.
  • The belief that no individual or group may rightfully prosper at the expense of others.
  • The use of language that conveys respect for persons whose gender identity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, economic background, or political interests may differ from our own.

WISR will only accept transfer credit from accredited institutions.

Entering MS students must possess an accredited Bachelor’s Degree. and that entering EdD students must hold an accredited Master’s degree or 30 semester units of graduate study at an accredited institution, and demonstrate the ability to make creative scholarly and/or action-oriented leadership contributions during their studies. 

Foreign students must have their transcripts evaluated by an agency that is a member of one of the following two associations:

For WISR’s MFT program, students who have completed (accredited only) academic work which clearly meets State guidelines and WISR’s descriptions of the core courses required for WISR’s MFT MS in Psychology option may then receive up to 12 semester units of transfer credit.

For WISR’s MFT program, students who have completed academic work which clearly meets State guidelines and WISR’s descriptions of the core courses required for WISR’s MFT MS in Psychology option may then receive up to 12 semester units of transfer credit. Courses transferred for students entering the MFT program are evaluated by WISR’s President or Chief Academic Officer, sometimes in consultation with licensed MFT’s on WISR’s faculty, to make certain that the course titles/descriptions closely parallel State guidelines, as well as WISR’s descriptions for core MFT courses.

In other graduate programs at WISR, each student’s prior graduate study is taken into careful account, in planning out her or his program of study, in order to build on the student’s strengths and avoid duplication of efforts. Some graduate course work is accepted for transfer in such cases. Credit is accepted for transfer only if it is determined, after examining the student’s transcript(s) and/or samples of the student’s academic work, that the work to be accepted for transfer credit is 1) relevant to the degree program into which they are transferring and comparable in substance and quality to work expected at WISR Some graduate course work is accepted for transfer in such cases. At the request of the prospective student, the President and/or the Chief Academic Officer, often in consultation with a subcommittee of WISR’s faculty, evaluates the student request for transfer of credit, based on the student’s transcript and other relevant evidence, such as course syllabi and/or samples of the student’s academic work.

No more than 9 units of doctoral level credit (only from accredited institutions) may be transferred toward Doctoral studies at WISR, and no more than 6 semester units (only from accredited institutions) may be transferred toward the MS in Education and Community Leadership.

  1. A WISR faculty member will confer with each enrolling student to discuss the first steps and activities in their learning at WISR, whether the student is living at a distance from WISR, or not, within 7 days of the student’s date of enrollment. WISR uses a combination of online learning—through a Learning Management System (Google Education Suite)—and real time interaction between students and faculty, and among students. The real time interaction may be on site at WISR, by phone or by internet. All WISR seminars are offered by video/audio conference (accessed by either phone or internet), and most are simultaneously on site. At the moment, we use Zoom’s conference services. In addition, most seminars are recorded and available later, online, through WISR’s Google Education Suite.

  2. When first enrolling students, must verify their identity by showing an official ID with a photo (e.g., passport or driver’s license) and having a WISR official check their identity either in person or by video conference, or face to face, on site at WISR.

  3. WISR protects students’ privacy and students will be updated annually on WISR’s policies.WISR complies with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations, and we are currently in the initial stages of taking steps toward complying with the more stringent requirements of European Union’s GDPR laws (General Data Protection Regulation).

  4. For students learning at a distance and those residing locally, instruction centers on real time interaction between students and faculty—either face to face or by phone conference (the latter is used with local students from time to time as well as with students studying at a distance). Instruction is aided by the use of online courses through Google Education Suite, as well as sometimes of communications, drafts of papers, and comments on drafts between students and faculty. All WISR students are required to obtain a wisr.edu email address, and they will be shown how to have those emails forwarded to the current, primary email address. Exceptions may sometimes be made for students only taking one course or several courses, rather than an entire degree program.

  5. Students are responsible to backup drafts of their papers, and especially of theses and dissertations—through the Google Drive available with their wisr.edu email address. No student wants to write several pages of work, much less dozens or hundreds of pages, and lose their writing if their computer crashes. It does happen!

  6. Students are required to respond to two to four annual surveys from WISR—this is important part of WISR’s ongoing commitment to improving our curriculum and instruction and to sustaining WISR as a quality and valuable institution of higher learning. Usually, there will be at least two surveys during the summer—one to evaluate WISR faculty and their teaching performance, and another to evaluate WISR’s contributions to each student’s learning and to elicit suggestions for improvement. Sometimes, there will be one or two other surveys each year—for example, as part of WISR’s Strategic Planning Process. Students may count the time spent responding to surveys as part of their required hours of collaboration for WISR courses.

  7. As stated in WISR’s enrollment agreement, a Full Refund, including the $50 application fee and the $200 enrollment fee, may be obtained by withdrawing within 7 days of the beginning of an enrollment agreement, or at the student’s first meeting with a WISR faculty person to plan and begin their studies for their educational program, whichever is later.  Since all students meet with a faculty member within 7 days, they will still have the 7-day period in which to cancel and receive a full refund.

  8. WISR offers distance education programs in which some instructions may not be offered in real time; WISR shall transmit the first lesson and any materials, through WISR’s provision to the student of access to WISR’s online courses, to any student within seven days after WISR accepts the student for admission.

  9. The student shall have the right to cancel the enrollment agreement and receive a full refund, including the $50 application fee and the $200 enrollment fee, before the first lesson and materials are received through WISR’s provision to the student of access to WISR’s online courses. Cancellation is effective on the date written notice of cancellation is sent. If WISR sent the first lesson and materials, through WISR’s provision to the student of access to WISR’s online courses, before an effective cancellation notice was received, WISR shall make a refund within 45 days after the student’s return of the materials.

  10. WISR shall transmit all of the lessons and other materials to the student, through WISR’s provision to the student of access to WISR’s online courses, once the student makes an initial payment of tuition in any amount, even if they haven’t yet paid for the entire program. So long as the student is officially enrolled, even when they are not up to date in their tuition payments, WISR shall remain obligated to provide the other educational services it has agreed to provide, such as responses to student inquiries, student and faculty interaction, and evaluation and comment on lessons submitted by the student, but shall not be obligated to pay any refund, either than the required pro-rata refund of any tuition paid in advance, after access has been provided to all of WISR’s online courses, which is they vehicle by which all of the lessons and material are transmitted.

  11. Faculty feedback to students learning at a distance and submitting drafts for comment follows principles of diligent reading of student drafts and papers and responding thoughtfully in a timely fashion. Faculty make every effort to give students rapid feedback on drafts of papers and theses. Typically, faculty give students feedback on papers and other drafts that are 20 pages or less, within 7 to 10 days. Faculty may need as much as three to four weeks to read and give feedback on longer papers, and especially on drafts of theses and dissertations. Faculty are available to set up hour-long conferences with students, either face-to-face, or by phone once every week or two, as needed by students. Generally, it is best to set up appointments a week in advance, so students can coordinate their own schedules of availability with the openings in the faculty member’s schedule.

  12. All WISR students are expected to have a high degree of self-motivation and capability for self-directed learning and are expected to contact faculty for support and assistance, whenever they feel they need it. To support, student academic progress, students are expected to do the following, and although the following are student responsibilities, faculty should be supportive in reminding and guiding students to:
  • Generally, confer with a faculty member at least once every two weeks about their studies.
  • At any one time, the student should have one faculty member whom they have identified as their primaryfaculty advisor, and the student should communicate, and verify, with that faculty person understands that the student wishes for them to take on this role, and that they are willing to do so. Further, this should be noted in the student’s in progress transcript, and the student is responsible to update WISR’s administration (the CEO or the Chief Academic Officer) regarding the name of their current, primary faculty advisor.
  • The student should consult with their primary faculty advisor before beginning to work on a new course. In addition, students should not work on more than three courses at a time without permission from both their faculty advisor and either the President or Chief Academic Officer.
  • The student should be familiar with WISR’s policies and practices on “Faculty Review of Student Progress
  1. A student may withdraw at any time. Notice of Cancellation of an Enrollment Agreement must be in writing to WISR’s President, and a withdrawal may be effectuated by the student’s conduct, including, but not necessarily limited to, a student’s lack of attendance. Students are expected to be in touch with faculty twice per month, or at least once per month unless they notify faculty of special circumstances (e.g., health or vacation where they will be unavailable for longer than a month). If a student is disenrolled for lack of attendance, they have the opportunity to appeal to the Faculty Executive Committee, and then to the Board. Students are expected to be in touch with faculty twice per month, or at least once per month unless they notify faculty of special circumstances (e.g., health or vacation where they will be unavailable for longer than a month).

  2. Students have access to the online library database paid or by WISR, by going to https://www.lirn.net/databasesand entering the password given to them. By the terms of our agreement with LIRN students cannot share this information with anyone outside of WISR.

    In addition, by signing this document, the student agrees to respect all copyright laws, which includes, but is not limited to the following considerations:
  • None of the content shared in WISR’s online courses may be shared with anyone other than students and faculty at WISR, unless it is explicitly stated that it can be shared under open access, Creative Commons licensing.
  • When using resources from LIRN, from scribed, online databases accessed through professional association memberships or library card/memberships, students may not copy and share any of those materials, unless explicitly stated as open access under Creative Commons licensing.
  • When writing papers, or making posts on the online forum, students are to cite and reference their sources. For assistance in using the proper format, consult Easy Bib (com)
  • Students having any questions about copyright issues and the sharing of articles and/or videos, should contact WISR’s librarian (roberson@wisr.edu ), WISR’s CEO (john.bilorusky@wisr.edu) or another faculty member for guidance.
  1. WISR students are expected to collaborate with other students at WISR, and these expectations and requirements are outlined in each course.

  2. In order to participate in seminars and real-time conversations with WISR faculty, all WISR students must have regularly accessible, reliable, and well-functioning internet service, sufficient to participate in seminars and oral exams by video conference, and this must be tested by a WISR staff person prior to enrollment. Having a webcam is essential for oral exams, and ideal for seminars. Having a headset with a microphone is desirable. Sometimes students are able to converse by phone, but very importantly, regular internet access is essential for online courses, and for most seminars.

  3. Students should expect to spend about $50 to $100 on books (or e-books) for each course.In addition, all students are required to:
  • purchase and maintain a monthly membership in ScribD (access to many required readings—books and articles, for $9/month. scribd.com),
  • purchase a membership in a major professional association such as the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (camft.org), American Educational Research Association, or American Sociological Association. (These fees are typically less than $150/year.) Depending on the student’s interests, faculty may approve a membership in another association, instead.  All MFTs students must obtain a membership in CAMFT, because, among other things, this provides access to psychology journals through the EBSCO library online database.
  • if a California resident, the student must obtain a free library card (but requires a visit on site) to either the San Francisco or Los Angeles Public Library.  This card entitled the holder to access to important added online library databases (off site, need not be at the library), as well as, to thousands of films and videos available through Kanopy (kanopy.com), and some of these films are required viewing for many WISR courses. WISR will provide other access to limited number of Kanopy films, but at least to those that are required, to students who are not California residents, if the student is not able to obtain access through another library.
  1. By signing this, the student states that they understand that WISR provides no English language services for those for whom English is their second language, and by signing this, the student affirms that they understand that if they do not have a previous college degree from an institution in which English was the primary language of instruction in order to be considered for admission at WISR, they demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English through one of the assessments outlined at www.wisr.edu/admissions. Further, even students who pass one of these assessments may sometimes be admittedly only on a “provisional” basis, and in any case, they will be admitted (provisionally or not), only if in the judgement of WISR’s CEO and/or Chief Academic Officer, they demonstrate (through conversation, the writing of a brief admissions statement, and if applicable through their current work experience) that they are capable of making good progress in their studies at WISR. Students who are admitted provisionally enroll in one course, and then their proficiency and ease in handling that course is assessed by WISR faculty before they are officially enrolled in a degree program.

  2. WISR Academic Integrity and Honesty Policy: WISR embraces the value of learning that builds on the knowledge, efforts and experiences of others. In particular, WISR actively encourages students to collaborate with one another, and with others throughout the larger community. Academic honesty and integrity require that students disclose and make transparent what they have learned from others, and how their learning and inquiry are indebted to, or have been importantly influenced by, others. This includes not only making the appropriate citations of the literature used in one’s papers, theses, and dissertations, but it also includes acknowledging the informal contributions that others have made in shaping one’s ideas, questions, and actions. WISR students are encouraged to write in their own voice, discussing how their studies and inquiries have led to their conclusion, recommendations, and further lines of inquiry.

    At WISR, faculty and students meet regularly and engage in continual and detailed dialogue about the student’s studies, and for this reason, faculty are usually aware of how others have contributed to student learning. Furthermore, WISR students are expected to be highly motivated and committed to genuine inquiry, and uninterested in purely expedient strategies for producing the required academic writing. Violations of academic honesty and integrity at WISR have been virtually unheard of in our decades-long history. In case of a violation, the work submitted will not be accepted for credit, and a second violation of this standard will result in dismissal from WISR. All such decisions are subject to student appeal first to WISR’s Faculty, and then to the Board of Trustees.

    Nothing in this policy should discourage students from actively and fully collaborating with one another in any aspect of their studies, including a paper, project, or thesis or dissertation. Indeed, such collaboration is encouraged, and that collaboration must be disclosed by the participating students with a written description of the process of collaboration and each student’s contributions to the collaboration.

    Reporting Possible Violations: It is the responsibility of WISR faculty to be aware of, and report on, any possible violations. As noted above: “At WISR, faculty and students meet regularly and engage in continual and detailed dialogue about the student’s studies, and for this reason, faculty are usually aware of how others have contributed to student learning.” Also, the ongoing dialogue with students in combination with end of course oral exams, enable faculty to detect any possible violations.

    “Application of policy as noted above: In case of a violation, the work submitted will not be accepted for credit, and a second violation of this standard will result in dismissal from WISR. All such decisions are subject to student appeal first to WISR’s Faculty, and then to the Board of Trustees.”
  1. By signing this, the student attests that they have read the WISR catalog and/or the information on the website.

Foreign Transcripts

Foreign students must have their transcripts evaluated by an agency that is a member of oneof the following two associations:
o NACES
o AICE

Foreign Students—No ESL Instruction, no I-20 status, but assistance in obtaining permission to visit:

WISR does admit students from other countries. However, WISR does not provide English as a Second Language, or English as a Foreign Language, instruction. All instruction is conducted in English. Some students who are not native English speakers, but who are fluent in English, have enrolled and successfully completed programs at WISR.

Students who do not have a previous college degree from an institution in which English was the primary language of instruction may be considered for admission at WISR, if they demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English through one of the following assessments:

  • they meet (for the degree program for which they are applying) one of the following conditions (see below), AND ALSO
  • if in the judgement of WISR’s CEO or Chief Academic Officer, the prospective student demonstrates (through conversations with WISR faculty, the writing of a brief admissions statement, and if applicable through their current work experience) that they are capable of making good progress in their studies at WISR.

Prospective students whose native language is not English and who have not earned a degree from an appropriately accredited institution where English is the principal language of instruction may be considered for admission at WISR, if they demonstrate college-level proficiency in English through one of the following for admission:

  1. Master’s Degree: A minimum total score of 60 on the paper-delivered Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT), or 71 on the Internet Based Test (iBT); 6.5 on the International English Language Test (IELTS); 50 on the Pearson Test of English Academic Score Report; 100 on the Duolingo English Test; or 55 on the 4-skill Michigan English Test (MET), or 650/LP on the Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE), or 650/LP on the Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE)
  2. First Professional Degree or Professional Doctoral Degree: A minimum score of 65 on the paper-delivered Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT), or 80 on the Internet Based Test (iBT); 6.5 on the International English Language Test (IELTS); 58 on the Pearson Test of English Academic Score Report; 105 on the Duolingo English Test; or 55 on the 4-skill Michigan English Test (MET), or 650/LP on the Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Competency in English (ECCE), or 650/LP on the Michigan Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English (ECPE).
  3. A minimum score on the College Board Accuplacer ESL Exam Series as follows: ESL Language Use: Score of 85 ESL Listening: Score of 80 ESL Reading: Score of 85 ESL Sentence Meaning: Score of 90 ESL Writeplacer: Score of 4
  4. A minimum grade of Pre-1 on the Eiken English Proficiency Exam;
  5. A minimum B-2 English proficiency level identified within the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) standards and assessed through various ESOL examinations, including the University of Cambridge;
  6. A transcript indicating completion of at least 30 semester credit hours with an average grade of “C” or higher at an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), or accepted foreign equivalent that is listed in the International Handbook of Universities where the language of instruction was English. A “B” or higher is required for master’s degree, first professional degree, or professional doctoral degree.

Students whose native language is not English and who do not meet the above requirements may NOT be admitted provisionally. They must meet the above standards.

WISR’s admissions process helps all prospective students to assess their skills, learning needs and interests, and aids WISR faculty and the prospective student in determining whether or not WISR can meet their educational needs. Enrollment at WISR does not provide foreign students with I-20 status (i.e., WISR students do not qualify for foreign student visas.). However, WISR has and will vouch for a student’s enrollment status and verify that WISR encourages all students studying from a distance to visit WISR for a few days every year or so. By so vouching and verifying, WISR is usually able to assist foreign students in obtaining permission to visit the United States for a brief period, for this purpose.

Since the State of California is the only state in the US that has not signed the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (go to http://nc-sara.org/ for more details), WISR cannot offer its distance learning programs to students living in most other states of the US. There are a few states whose residents may enroll at WISR, since WISR does not have a physical presence in those states and does not advertise in those states. Because of our small size, it is not economically feasible for WISR to seek the necessary state authorization from each state in which a prospective student resides. Those from other states who are interested in enrolling at WISR should contact us to find out if their state is one of the states for which WISR would be allowed to provide distance education to students. Those from other states who wish to do studies at WISR on site, in the Bay Area, rather than from a distance, are welcome to explore this option as well. WISR is able to entertain inquiries from prospective students living in other countries, since this interstate reciprocity agreement does not apply to students from other countries.

 

As an educational institution devoted to personalized education, there are many things that WISR does to aid students with various disabilities, especially those with psychological and learning disabilities. First of all, as a matter of routine practice, faculty meet with students regularly to discuss their special needs and challenges as well as their strengths, in order to better support each individual student’s learning efforts. This includes working with the student to develop learning strategies–study schedules, uses of special resources, and approaches to each assignment that will work best for the student, and to make the needed adjustments over time. In this context, when meeting with students with disabilities, faculty give special attention to those students’ special needs, and make accommodations to the extent of WISR’s capabilities as a small, institution with a limited budget. Therefore, prospective students with disabilities fill out the Disabilities Accommodation Request Form prior to making an enrollment decision, so that WISR’s ability to meet their needs can be realistically assessed and evaluated. WISR is committed to including the widest variety of students, and with varying needs, as is possible. If WISR cannot accommodate a particular student’s needs, the student will be informed of why WISR cannot and what specific challenges and limitations that they would face if they were to enroll. Based on this information, in order for the student to enroll at WISR, the student and WISR’s CEO or CAO must both agree that, overall, WISR can still meet enough of the student’s needs well enough that they will benefit from study at WISR. If it is determined that WISR cannot meet their needs, WISR’s CEO will inform the prospective student, whether or not it is feasible and likely that WISR can make sufficient changes in the 12 months to accommodate their needs. The CEO will state in writing the reasons for this assessment, and further, if changes are stated as likely, the CEO will also share in writing the key steps in the plan to make these changes. The prospective student will be informed that they should not take this as a guarantee, but instead, these statements are to be taken as a public disclosure of WISR’s intentions of the steps to be taken to become more accessible.

As a matter of routine practice, faculty meet with students regularly to discuss their special needs, and to make accommodations, including but not limited to: 1) gaining extra help and support with writing and the use of grammar and spell check software, 2) obtaining extended time for completing courses and the entire degree program, 3) in special cases, the student and their supervising faculty member may request from the Faculty Executive Committee permission to re-design some assignments so that the student with special needs can learn and demonstrate knowledge in equivalent ways (e.g., supporting students in learning how to use voice to text software for writing, and by substituting added oral exams for some of the shorter writing assignments).

Our courses are not yet optimized for the visually impaired, but our tech staff person is going to work on that and give that a priority in the next year.  Because our online courses are heavily text-based, and do not make use of images or pdf files except in rare cases, they are mostly accessible for people using text voice readers. The videos used (mostly of our own seminars) are accessible by web links.  However, they do not have closed captions because the cost of that with zoom is prohibitive for a school as small as WISR.

At WISR, we wish for students to proceed at a pace that makes sense in terms of their learning needs and purposes. Over the years, we have found that some students are interested in support for significant, personal learning goals—including help in writing a book or series of articles, creating a new program or non-profit, developing a workshop series, or support for other personal learning agendas, and that while they may wish to pursue an academic degree, they are not yet certain if they will have the energy, motivation and/or ability to complete an entire degree program at within the maximum allowable amounts of time for students to complete our degree programs—6 years for a Bachelor’s degree for those with no previous academic credit and 3 years for those transferring with 80 semester units of credit; 4 years for the MS in Education and Community Leadership. And 6 years for both the MS in Psychology and the EdD. In some cases, when a student has a disability or some other special, extenuating circumstances, they may petition for a little bit more time to complete the degree.

 

We advise students who are not yet certain if they want to be held to these timetables—which are designed to require the pace of consistent half-time study, or more, by each student—that we can only enroll them on a provisional status for a specified, agreed on, period of time, not to exceed one year. Then, after a specified period of time enrolled on provisional status, the Faculty Executive Committee and the student’s major advisor will evaluate the quality of their academic work and their rate of progress, and if deemed satisfactory, the student will then be enrolled in a degree program. If not, the student’s enrollment will be terminated. Based on the admissions interview and other information about the student, the CEO and Chief Academic Officer, sometimes in consultation with another faculty member, will decide which prospective students can only be admitted provisionally, and then discuss with those prospective students, the risks (loss of tuition and time if they fail to progress and perform adequately) and the advantages of this option (opportunity to see if they can manage the demands of being in a WISR degree program) to help each prospective student make a decision that is in their best interests.

 

Under our new policy about “provisional admissions” to study at WISR as an option for some students, a prospective student with health or energy limitations might be denied unconditional admission to a degree program, but they would have the opportunity through taking the relevant courses in their desired degree program on a “provisional student” basis, until such time that they might demonstrate the capability of completing the program within (or very close to) the maximum expected length of time for that program. In effect, the student is then given a “trial period” to learn some of the things they wish to learn, and still, to get credit toward a degree at a future date, if they end up demonstrating the motivation, energy and capacity to complete the entire degree program. Typically, a student will have up to a year to demonstrate this capability. They do not pay the $250 enrollment fee ($50 for an admissions fee and the $200 fee to register in a degree program) unless and until they are accepted as a degree student. Foreign students whose native language is not English are not admitted provisionally if they fail to meet the English language proficiency requirements.

Admission Decisions

All admissions to study at WISR are made on the basis of intensive conversations, during the application process, with applicants about their goals, interests, and backgrounds, and applicants are told about the kinds of learning and action that are involved in studying with us.

Initial discussions may be informal. WISR is interested in working with students who find a common bond with the Institute’s stated philosophy and goals. WISR also seeks students who want a flexible program, tailored to their individual needs, but who also want discipline and rigor in their studies. These and other issues are discussed frankly and openly with each serious applicant, and students’ intelligent self-selection to study at WISR is very deliberately emphasized. Many tentatively interested inquirers are discouraged from formally applying if their specific interests, personal maturity, or resources of time and money do not promise success in study here.

In particular, each applicant must discuss her or his background and objectives with a core faculty member, usually WISR’s President or Chief Academic Officer. Interested persons are routinely encouraged to visit WISR seminars and to talk with other faculty, students, and Board members of WISR, to gain several perspectives on study at WISR and a sense of the learning community that they may be joining.

The admissions decision is made by the Chief Academic Officer and/or WISR’s President, sometimes in consultation with other faculty if they believe that added input is needed.

The admissions decision is based on interviews with the student, transcripts and other evidence of the student’s previous academic work, and letters of recommendation, and if applicable, demonstrated proficiency in English.

Decisions to admit a student are made based on the likelihood of the student benefiting from studies at WISR. This includes having the necessary self-motivation and previous experience or knowledge to study successfully at WISR, along with having demonstrated sufficient access to the internet to participate in online courses.

Prospective doctoral students must show that they have the potential to make creative scholarly and/or action-oriented leadership contributions during their studies.

If a student is admitted they are notified by email or “in person,” online or on site, at a schedule meeting with the CEO or Chief Academic Officer, and this notification is conveyed by giving them the various documents that include the enrollment agreement and various disclosures. Further, when students are admitted, they are given a copy of the Admissions Application and Interview Form, with the date of admissions and the date of eligible enrollment, signed by the CEO or Chief Academic Officer.

If the student is denied admission, they are informed in writing by email or snail mail from the CEO or the Chief Administrative Officer, and the reasons for denying them admission are stated. Any student denied admission may also appeal to WISR’s Board of Trustees.

If the prospective student is only to be admitted on a provisional basis, they are given a letter indicating this, and the letter will indicate the maximum allowable time of enrollment on the provisional basis (not to exceed a year), and they must discuss this option further with the CEO and/or CAdO, so that the prospective student may make an informed decision whether or not to proceed with enrollment on this basis.

The Five Steps to Admission

Reach Out to Us and Connect

Call to meet us at 1-510-655-2830.

We will want to have two to three conversations with you including an interview. During our conversation we will arrange for you the following opportunities:

  1. Speak with current students or alumni
  2. Speak with one or more faculty members
  3. Attend one or more WISR seminars
  4. MFT students only…
    A) Check with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) and/or CAMFT about any remaining questions about licensure
    B) Join the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Call to meet us at 1-510-655-2830.

Important Documents to Read Before Applying

Read these webpages and formulate further questions:

Your Alignment with WISR’s Mission

Important: In preparation for your interview, we ask that throughout your reading you consider whether WISR’s mission statement and the focus of your program of interest is:

  1. Aligned with your own values and therefore something you find inspiring
  2. Aligned with your intentions and sense of purpose in life
  3. Aligned with activities you have already pursued in your life

This is the link to the “Admissions Application and Interview Form.” 

As part of the application process, all admissions to study at WISR are made on the basis of intensive conversations with applicants about their goals, interests, and backgrounds, and applicants are told about the kinds of learning and action that are involved in studying with us. Initial discussions may be informal.

Thereafter, each serious applicant is asked to file a formal application for admission, by filling out:

  1. The Admissions Application and Interview Form,
  2. submitting transcripts of previous college-level study to verify that the student has met WISR’s admissions requirements and to verify any transfer credit requested, and
  3. providing two letters of recommendation from others who can attest to the student’s readiness for further academic study.
  4. The application for admission must also include a written statement describing the scope and significance of the applicant’s study and future objectives, assessing how well these fit with study at WISR, and discussing the applicant’s commitments to professional and community work.

WISR is interested in working with students who find a common bond with the Institute’s stated philosophy and goals.

We are also interested in students who have given some thought to their educational goals and have an initial clarity about them, although we recognize that goals frequently change as a student’s course of study progresses.

WISR also seeks students who want a flexible program, tailored to their individual needs, but who also want discipline and rigor in their studies.

These and other issues are discussed frankly and openly with each serious applicant, and students’ intelligent self-selection to study at WISR is very deliberately emphasized.

Many tentatively interested inquirers are discouraged from formally applying if their specific interests, personal maturity, or resources of time and money do not promise success in study here. We help many potential applicants to find other ways of pursuing their studies elsewhere.

As part of the application process, each applicant must discuss her or his background and objectives with a core faculty member, usually WISR’s President or Chief Academic Officer. Interested persons are routinely encouraged to visit WISR seminars and to talk with other faculty, students, and Board members of WISR, to gain several perspectives on study at WISR and a sense of the learning community that they may be joining.

 

Set Up Your Interview

Call us and arrange for your interview. In preparation for the interview, we think it is valuable for you to read the questions we will be asking the topics we will be discussing in advance. Here’ the link to the “Admissions Application and Interview Formwhich makes that clear. 

About the Interview

As part of the application process, each applicant must discuss her or his background and objectives with WISR’s President or Chief Academic Officer. This meeting is both an “admissions interview” and an exploration, together, of how well WISR’s distinctive approach to learning and our specific State-licensed degree offerings, will meet the prospective student’s needs and enable him or her to have a strong likelihood of using a WISR program in the meaningful and successful pursuit of his or her short- and long-term goals.

Prospective students are urged to have a face-to-face meeting at WISR; however, if it is more convenient, or if the student is living at a distance, two or more in depth phone or video conversations often suffice. An hour-long conversation is scheduled so that the prospective student will not feel rushed, and indeed, students are welcome, and even expected, to have more than one conversation with WISR’s President or Chief Academic Officer.

After extensive discussions, most prospective enrollees are able to judge the kinds of student autonomy and commitment that study at WISR requires. Most applicants who do not have the necessary qualifications screen themselves out voluntarily.

The purpose of the conversations and interviews is to help each person to make a very informed decision about whether or not to apply for admissions, and also to enable the Chief Academic Officer and/or the President, sometimes in consultation with other faculty, make the decision to admit the prospective student, based on whether or not they are likely to benefit from studying at WISR. 

The WISR “Admissions Application and Interview Form” shows how much we place a priority on admitting those prospective students who understand WISR’s learning methods and mission, whether or not a WISR degree is likely to aid them in achieving their future goal and who are likely to succeed in learning and pursuing an academic degree at WISR.

 

If admitted, call us to set up your start date and arrange your enrollment meeting in which you sign your enrollment agreement and set up your payment plan. 

In preparation for the enrollment meeting, make sure you have read the following WISR documents: 

WISR’s Catalog

WISR’s Consumer Disclosures

Tuition and Fees

Learn about WISR’s tuition, fees and related topics. 

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