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noellemw

Career change to SLP

6 posts in this topic

Hi!

So I'm going to be applying to SLP Masters programs for next Fall, but worried because I have no educational background in SLP. I graduated last month with a BA in Communications; I realized too late that SLP is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I'm wondering if anyone has any words of advice for someone like me? Like should I be enrolling in Post-BA programs before I jump into applying to schools? Every school that I am applying has its own set of prerequisites, but I'm still worried about my lack of education in this field.

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I did not have a single CSD prerequisite completed before being accepted into a graduate program. I am taking all CSD-specific prerequisites this summer in a condensed format through my graduate program. I also applied to programs that extended the length of the graduate program to complete prereqs. I have an English degree. 

It is all a very personal choice. I chose to go this route because I am 28 and am ready to be in grad school. It limited the schools I could apply to but I am happy where it led me. It also meant there wasn't a chance I would have paid to do an entire year of classes to then not get accepted. But it depends on what is important to you! I will say that if you have time don't waste it—schools will like to see that you are working towards your goal (for example, last year I was working in a language clinic full-time and taking gen. ed. ASHA prereqs after work while also applying).

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Do you have any SLP-related shadowing and/or volunteer experience? If not, I would work on getting some ASAP. You are going to need to convince the AdComm that you are serious in your desire to become a SLP and are not just going through normal 20something panic at having graduated & finding out that "the real world" isn't what you had hoped it would be.

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I also have a BA in Communications, not SLP, and I'll be 30 this fall so it's definitely not too late for you :)  

I agree with @plume that it's a personal choice. In my opinion, and I'm sure some will disagree, I don't think a second bachelors is worth the money unless your undergrad GPA is not great and you want to try to boost that. I do think it's worth it to take a couple of prereqs  to give you some background in the field, even if it's just one Intro to Communication Disorders class. This will help show the AdComms that you're serious about the change, as @Crimson Wife mentioned above. Volunteering and shadowing is also a great idea, probably even more beneficial than prereqs because it will give you something to talk about in your statement of purpose. While it may feel like your background is completely unrelated, I think there are ways to show in your SOP how you can translate the skills and education you already have into a career in SLP.

There are some programs that incorporate the prereqs into the curriculum in one way or another (NYU, Columbia, and NYMC are examples from the ones I applied to). Sometimes this means the program is longer than 2 years. This is the case with NYU and Columbia but not with NYMC, which is one of the reasons I ultimately chose that program. It's helpful to attend open houses to get a feel for what the programs and faculty are like. In my opinion, some schools are more welcoming to out-of-field applicants than others. Some that I visited claimed to allow out-of-fielders after they complete a list of prereqs, but I didn't feel very welcome or encouraged to apply after attending their open houses.

FWIW - I took 5 CSD prereqs (all of the ones required by CUNY Hunter) to boost my undergrad GPA and get an introduction to the field. Some of the schools I applied to had more prereqs than that, but they were either ones I could take as part of the program if accepted or ones I could complete the summer before starting.

Sorry for the long post! If you have any other questions feel free to message me. I just went through this process a year ago so I know how daunting it can seem at first. 

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I agree with the other posters -ASHA also requires that SLPs have general science classes (bio, chem), statistics and psychology.  You might want to check those requirements.  Before committing to an expensive graduate program you should spend some time shadowing / interviewing SLPs to see what the job is all about.  I would take your time, take a few classes, get a job working with people with disabilities and then apply.  If you don't have a college near you there are several on-line options for CSD classes.  Most programs require Phonetics, Normal Language, and Anatomy and Physiology of Vocal Mechanism so you could start with those.  

I'm 43 and about to start a MS program so you have time!!  I have another Masters in a different field but sometimes life does not work out how you plan in your 20s or you find a different passion.  

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On 6/28/2017 at 10:10 PM, Crimson Wife said:

Do you have any SLP-related shadowing and/or volunteer experience? If not, I would work on getting some ASAP. You are going to need to convince the AdComm that you are serious in your desire to become a SLP and are not just going through normal 20something panic at having graduated & finding out that "the real world" isn't what you had hoped it would be.

This is seriously good advice. The application pool is filled with people who were stressed out and patted themselves on the back after finding this career in Google search results. Admissions committees can see through this, so make sure you take the steps to show them you are serious about this change. If you are applying for a 3-year program (which you will most likely need to if you have no prerequisites), maybe just take one course for yourself or volunteer in a relevant setting to help you get some clarity about the field and which direction you would like to take it. Good luck with everything!

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