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Ryan Leger

M.Ed. in School Counseling

School Psychology and Counselor Education

  • 2021, William & Mary, Master of Education, School Counseling
  • 2014, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bachelor of Science, Sport Management

As a student pursuing a master's degree in School Counseling, why did you choose this field?
After spending years working as a sports writer and editor in Massachusetts and North Carolina, my wife and I moved to Greenville, South Carolina. I was struggling to find full-time work as a writer and thought about pursuing my Master's in Journalism in order to further my education and increase my network and job prospects. However, I realized that working as a journalist would make it difficult to raise kids because of the unusual work schedule. Due to my own history with substance abuse, I thought about pursuing a Master's in Addiction Counseling. I soon realized that I could make more of a difference working with students rather than adults who had already chosen a path. I had always loved working with children and adolescents, one of the reasons I enjoyed covering high school sports so much, and my own school counselor had a tremendous impact on my life, helping me to improve my grades and encouraging me to go to college and reach my potential.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
After graduation, I hope to become licensed and begin working as a school counselor at a public school in Greenville. South Carolina. I would love to find a job at a school with a diverse student population and many underprivileged students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. In 10-15 years, the possibilities are endless. As long as I am doing something I love and making a positive difference in the lives of others, I will be happy and fulfilled. 

Why did you choose to apply to William & Mary and specifically to this program?
I needed to choose an online program because there were no schools that offered a school counselor program in my area. I also needed to continue working and loved being able to volunteer in my community, so I needed a program that was flexible. This degree program is more intensive than many of the other colleges I applied to and I wanted to ensure I committed to a program that covered all the CACREP requirements, as this is the standard for the counseling profession. However, I also wanted to have enough credits to become a licensed professional counselor, if I choose to work in the clinical field sometime in the future. The primary difference makers for me were the strong focus and importance the program placed on social justice, advocacy, equality, and multi-cultural competence, in addition to the on-site residencies we were required to attend in order to graduate, which were not a part of many other programs. The holistic approach of the program also appealed to me, as we are required to take many clinical courses in addition to our school counseling requirements, which will be very beneficial as I move forward in the counseling profession.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
The most influential experience I have had so far in the program was the residency my entire cohort attended on campus in June 2019. Despite never meeting anyone in person, I had already developed so many relationships with my fellow students and professors, which made this experience that much more incredible. It also further strengthened the bonds I had developed with my fellow online counseling students and truly opened up the lines of communication between our cohort. I now keep in touch with many of my fellow students and several professors, but most importantly we were welcomed by the William & Mary community and were able to explore the campus and surrounding town of Williamsburg, which I had never seen in person before. I also learned a great deal throughout the residency, getting the opportunity to put much of what I had learned in class into practice and receive in-depth feedback from my peers and professors, which has helped me grow as an individual, student, and counselor-in-training.

Is there any additional information you would want a prospective student to know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
I cannot say enough positive things about my experience in the School of Education’s school counseling program, as it has exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. I have taken online courses at other colleges in the past, during which the professors were not completely present, great at providing feedback or responding promptly to questions or concerns. The professors and doctoral students at William & Mary’s School of Education are so passionate about what they are doing, always ready to answer any questions that may spring up in a prompt manner and provide meaningful feedback to students, which is inspiring. They want you to succeed and love what they do so much it is contagious. I would recommend that any prospective students commit to William & Mary and the School of Education, as I believe it will be a decision that will change their lives for the better.

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