Mini Manual 3: What happens after a program applies?
The Self-Study Document is done! Now what? After receiving the application materials, reviewers will conduct a desk review of the program’s compliance with the CACREP Standards. This section of the manual outlines the desk review process including the possible actions concerning the application.
Upon receipt of the application package, the Self-Study Document will be sent to reviewers who will each complete a desk review. The desk review is an extensive paper review of the program’s response to the CACREP Standards and includes a thorough examination of the written description and the supporting materials the program has provided for how it meets each standard. Upon receipt of the reviews, the CACREP staff will send the program a letter indicating any standards that appear to be unmet or for which additional clarification and/or documentation is necessary. The letter will also communicate one of the following decisions concerning the program’s application:
1. Accept the application and schedule an on-site visit.
If the decision is to schedule an on-site visit, the CACREP staff will send site visit planning materials including a list of potential team members. The program will need to submit preferred visit dates and identify any site visitors who should be excluded from consideration for the visit due to potential conflicts of interest to begin the scheduling process. Please note that preferred dates provided must be at least 12 weeks from the time the program sends preferences back to the CACREP office.
2. Require an Addendum to the original Self-Study document.
This decision is made when the reviewers feel that further clarity and/or documentation is needed for how Standards are met, or when the application has significant resource and/or professional identity considerations. When an Addendum is required, the program has up to 6 months to submit a document providing additional clarification and/or documentation pertaining to the standards specified in the initial review letter.
Upon receipt of the Addendum, the CACREP staff will send it to the reviewers for a desk review and recommendation concerning whether or not to schedule an on-site visit. If the decision is to schedule an on-site visit, the CACREP staff will send site visit planning materials including a list of potential team members. The program will need to submit preferred visit dates and identify any site visitors who should be excluded from consideration for the visit due to potential conflicts of interest to begin the scheduling process. Please note that preferred dates provided must be at least 12 weeks from the time the program sends their preferences. If the decision following an Addendum review is to deny approval for an on-site visit, the program may choose to withdraw its application or it may choose to override the initial reviewers’ recommendation and formally request that CACREP schedule an on-site visit.
3. Recommend that the application be withdrawn.
This decision occurs if the desk review identifies major deficiencies that would preclude a favorable accreditation decision. Such a decision will generally occur following the review of a required Addendum. However, reviewers might make such a recommendation following the desk review of the original Self-Study Document if serious questions arise about whether a particular program can be accredited. This would be due to a lack of resources and/or professional identity considerations that would place the program outside the scope of CACREP accreditation (i.e., programs must be clearly identifiable as counseling programs as defined within the CACREP Standards), or a premature application, as described in Section 1.
Withdrawing an Application
A program may withdraw its application at any time during the process before a decision has been rendered. To withdraw, a program must forward written notice of withdrawal to CACREP. If a program is an applicant for initial accreditation, the application for accreditation may be withdrawn by the institution at any time prior to final action being taken by the CACREP Board. The request for application withdrawal must be made in writing by an authorized representative of the institution.
Policies Related to the Initial Review Process:
- Policies Governing Timelines 2.a – Accreditation Process Timeline
- Policies Governing Timelines 2.b -Onsite Scheduling
- Policies Governing 2.e – Voluntary Withdrawal of Accreited Status
- Policies Governing Fees 6.a -Nonrefundable Fees
- Policies Governing Confidentiality of Documents 7.a – Disclosure of Accreditation Materials
- Policies Governing Confidentiality of Documents 7.b – Statement of Confidentiality
FAQs Related to the Desk Review Process:
- How long does the CACREP accreditation process take?
- Does CACREP have approved consultants?
- Based on the results of our initial review, we are required to submit an Addendum to the Self-Study Document before approval can be granted for an on-site visit. Does this mean there are major problems with our program or the accreditation review?
- Is the application fee refundable if we choose to withdraw our program from the review process or if an on-site visit is not authorized?