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About Lindsc237

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  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Applied Behavior Analysis

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  1. Just curious to see if anyone else on here decided to go to UNT for their MS in Behavior Analysis. I just got a couple of emails about registering for classes; I'm really excited!
  2. Lindsc237

    Denton, TX

    Hi everyone! Thrilled to say that I have officially committed to UNT for my MS in Behavior Analysis! I would like to move to Denton sometime in mid-late July. I'm looking for a 1-bed/1-bath apt. in a good area. Preferably with a decent sized kitchen because I do cook a lot and would get a lot of use out of one, but it isn't absolutely necessary for me to consider living there. Does anyone have suggestions of places I could look at? There are several websites I've looked at (Craigslist, Apartments.com, etc.) but I am not super familiar with the area and need some leads to go off of.
  3. After reading this and other replies to this post, and talking to friends, I think I agree that UNT is probably where I'm leaning towards. I'm still keeping an open mind with USC since they haven't accepted me yet. If they offered me some kind of elaborate funding, that might shake things up for me. That's good to know that you benefited from taking three years to complete your degree. There are some schools that insist on you finishing in two years, and even though I see the reason for that, I think if you are trying to develop yourself as a professional in a field, you should give yourself the time you need to become well-versed in that field. You brought up a very good point though about making your thesis publishable. Of course, since I'm at the other end of the process (haven't even begun grad school yet), that's something I probably wouldn't have thought of. Also glad to know that it isn't unusual to graduate at 25 with your Masters. I should probably explain that I go to school in Florida, and because of dual enrollment (start community college while in high school), a lot of people graduate a year or two earlier than usual from their undergrad. Thanks for your input! I'm definitely interested in doing research down the line. I know it isn't much, but I'm completing a Senior Honors Thesis at my undergrad institution right now and although right now it's stressful (presenting in a week and submitting the paper in two weeks), I definitely don't see myself just being a BCBA with clinical work (though, after I graduate, I may or may not spend a few years practicing in a clinical environment). So the Masters thesis is important to me (also, as an aside, didn't know that there was a 2-year thesis for a PhD; I thought you just wrote one at the end of the program!). If it means anything though, I don't think that I will be looking to get a PhD in Behavior Analysis. To get the BCBA-D credential, it's just a few more classes on top of a PhD program, while the BCBA credential requires more intensive coursework to earn. I really don't know what I would get a PhD in for certain, but considering the population I work with, Experimental Psychology seems like a good choice. I also have an interest in healthy policy because I think IDD advocacy is like half my job, so maybe an additional Masters or PhD will manifest itself later on. Yeah...when I went to interview there, that was something they spent a lot of time explaining. You don't have to become a Texas resident, but it would definitely save you a lot of money in the long run (and personally, my residency is still in New York where I grew up, but I don't have any attachments to that). I was given that $1,000 scholarship for the first year (towards the bottom of that chart in the link you gave me), so that would give me the time to establish residency. I did some more research about the residency requirement and found this pdf outlining residency requirements (I think from the state of Texas, not UNT) that reads, "...employment conditioned on student status, such as work study, the receipt of stipends, fellowships, or research or teaching assistantships does not constitute gainful employment." I really curious that other out-of-state students (at least from what you tell me) don't run into this problem. Many of the grad students I met at UNT stressed to me how frustrated they were that working as a graduate assistant didn't count towards residency. I know other states don't have that criteria. In any case, I could easily work doing at-home ABA, which is what I already do. Hours are pretty flexible and it gives me additional opportunities to practice what I learn in class and at my practicum. I'm not thrilled that I have to do this to establish residency, but the department is pretty understanding of that, and other students have been able to make it work for them, so it's possible.
  4. Hi. So I got a really nice surprise yesterday; I mean that both literally and sarcastically. I got accepted to a very competitive Masters program, which is awesome. What isn't awesome is that I literally have a week to decide if I want to go there (because there is probably a waitlist for other applicants) or to a different program I have already been accepted to. I'm very overwhelmed right now as you can probably imagine. I have applied to four programs, and have been accepted to three of them so far. I will know this Monday if I get accepted to the fourth. One of the ones I got into was a safety that doesn't really have the resources for what I want to specialize in, so I'm not considering it any further. However, I still have three to choose from, and I thought I would have time to visit all of them once I got accepted, but that's not the case now. I know that no one on here or in my life can make this decision for me. I'm not really looking for that necessarily, but for takes on some of my personal pros and cons with each program. I'm mainly concerned about the experience of graduate school when bringing up these points, particularly in pursuing a Masters degree, so if you have one of those and can speak to the experience, I would really appreciate any input you can give me. (And, if you happened to study behavior analysis, that's what I'm planning to study.) So here are the programs: 1. UNT - This is the program I got accepted to yesterday. Very established, tight-knit department, tons of research and clinical opportunities. I can personally say after meeting the faculty in the department, they really are dedicated to the field and investing in the next generation of behavior analysts. They really encourage you "finding your fit" in the field of behavior analysis, and so many students jump around labs to see what they like and don't like. Located in a smaller college town, which I really enjoyed the vibe of when I went there for my interview. Speaking of interviews, of the applications they received, they only invited around 30 people to interview, and only accepted around 15 for the program; in other words, this program is super competitive and I got in first wave, and that probably speaks to the quality of the program. Also located in close proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth, two major cities. Denton is also near a ton of horse farms, and horseback riding is a favorite pastime for me when I can do it. Downsides: The program is three years long. Their rationale for the third year is to allow you to have that first year to adjust to grad school and figure out what area you want to concentrate in; this gives you the next two years to start working on your thesis. As I can get easily stressed and really want to do things to my fullest ability, having the extra year appeals to me; however, I am a little unsure of how I feel graduating with a Masters at 25, because I want to do a PhD as well. Another thing is that they expect you to get Texas residency by your second year in the program. They have offered me a scholarship to give me in-state tuition for the first year, but only for that year. I'm not really partial to where I have residency, but graduate assistantships do not count towards fulfilling the employment requirement (although they can act as a source of income); therefore, I would have to work an extra job, about 20 hours a week probably. I'm just not sure how I could balance that out with classes 4 days a week and a practicum. 2. UMBC - Got accepted off application alone. Located in Baltimore, and the practicum is through the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI), which is arguably the best place in the country for neurodevelopmental disability research and treatment. In particular, KKI acts as a very strong practicum for severe problem behavior, which is what I'm interested in. Very close proximity to DC. Option to get tuition reimbursement through full-time employment with KKI, but that isn't a concern for me. My mentor raves about this program being one of the best. Downsides: The two biggest ones for me are that it is an MA program (clinical degree, no thesis) and what is involved in working full-time for KKI (8:30-5pm five days a week, and although they are understanding of classes, any time you miss working there has to be made up. Also, would only be partial tuition reimbursement.). Even though it's an MA, I could do a thesis, but it doesn't seem like something there is already an infrastructure for. I also have the option of not working at KKI and just doing my practicum there. KKI is also located in a dangerous part of the city. (I don't know much about the culture or rigor of the program outside of what I've been told, but I will be visiting this week.) Another downside is that classes are held mostly at KKI, so while it's a UMBC program, I get the impression that it's a UMBC program at KKI. Not sure how I feel about being at the same building all the time for two years. Maybe that's a little stuck-up of me to think, but I know myself well enough that I would probably get sick of it really quick. Also, I hate Maryland. I have been there several times and my sister goes to school there. It's really not my kind of place. Some love it, some hate it, and I fall in the latter category. 3. USC - Have not been accepted there yet, but I will know on Monday, so I want to prepare for the possibility. The SoCal area has perhaps the largest concentration of behavior analysis services in the entire country. USC is a great school from what I'm told. The program is 2 years and there is an option to do a thesis or a capstone project at the end; I was told in my first interview that they encourage students to do the latter. The capstone project is an "independent project, consisting of practical treatment, evaluation, program development, or literature review." The thesis is there if you are interested in a PhD later down the road, so I would probably go for that. Practicum is considered a paid job with wherever I work, but must be pre-approved by the department. I interviewed with the director of the program over Skype and he seemed very knowledgeable and interested in my goals for myself in a Masters program. Also, although I'm not a city person, I do like the beach. Downsides: USC is the only program I applied to that is not ABAI accredited. What that is for those who don't know, is an accreditation that basically says that your program is stellar and exceeds the expectations of the certification board (BACB). Knowing that the thesis isn't something that many of the students there do is a little concerning to me. Also, I've never been to California, but friends who grew up in SoCal tell me that the area around USC is not very safe, which means I would have to live a little ways away and drive there. I hear the traffic is super congested, and public transit is unreliable...that might pose a problem. Not really looking to live in a big city again (did my undergrad in one), but I will if I have to. So, that's all folks. I will be meeting with my mentor next week (hopefully) to also discuss how these programs are received in the professional community, but I know he can only give me one perspective. I would really appreciate any feedback on my concerns, if they're reasonable or not considering the culture or structure of grad school, or if there are other things I should look into thinking about for myself moving forward. Thanks everyone in advance!
  5. Great to see another ABA Masters applicant on here! There are definitely not a lot of us from what I can tell. I applied to four programs for Fall 2018: UMBC, USF, UNT, and USC. Got acceptances from UMBC and USF so far. I went to Texas to interview with UNT a couple of weeks ago, and I'm supposed to hear back pretty much any moment now-- certainly in that compulsive "check email" mode! Last night I had a Skype interview with USC, and I think it went well. I'm supposed to have one more interview with another faculty at USC over Skype at some point in the future, and then after that, they are going to make a decision. Best of luck @SeeNatGo with admissions (maybe you've heard back on one of those schools since posting?) and @birdy-bear with the doctoral program at Vanderbilt! I heard that Vandy has a multidisciplinary focus in their SPED program, so that could very well be to your advantage!
  6. Hi raincoffeecats. It sounds like you have a really big decision ahead of you to make. Hopefully some of what I have to say can help. Like you, I've been working for about 4-5 years as an behavior therapist. (Like an RBT, but not officially. The states I've worked in haven't required the credential because they hire off experience, but I am currently in the process of applying for it so I can work in different states. But literally no different in terms of responsibilities.) I have to be totally honest with you: I love it. When I began to think about grad school around this time last year, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to get my masters in ABA. For me, it really is one of the most interesting jobs in the world. I've worked other jobs, and being a behavior therapist means walking into a totally new situation every time, even with the same clients. I get to help make positive change in their lives. And having the behavior analysis background, it requires a good deal of careful observation and problem solving to address problem behavior and turn it into something positive. Frankly, I love the challenge that this field poses. With that said, if you aren't 100% sure you want to pursue ABA as a career, I don't recommend that you do it. It is a very challenging field to be in and requires a great deal of personal motivation and interest to sustain. Still, I wouldn't count yourself out just yet. From what you wrote, it sounds like you have some misconceptions about ABA (It's okay, everyone does.). ABA is a science, yes. It is a science just as much as medicine or psychotherapy or nursing. Yes, the application from animals to humans is discomforting. But think about classic psychology experiments on mice and monkeys (e.g. Harlow's study on "contact comfort" in infants using infant monkeys). It's not just ABA that is rooted in animal research; most scientific fields with clinical applications are. That's just the history of it. Secondly, I personally disagree with you in regards to ABA lacking empathy or connection. I think being able to teach someone how to take care of themselves or how to make friends or how to get to work using the bus is one of the most empathetic things I can do as a human being. And, even though I'm speaking from the therapist's perspective, I think it goes both ways. As an example, I used to work at a group home for adults with severe autism and intellectual disability a few years back. I had one client who, when I walked in at work, would take my hand and look to see what color I painted my nails. It seemed trivial to me, but it made them smile from cheek to cheek. And because I was in school, I would sometimes come back to that job after being away for months, and without fail, this client would look at my nails the moment they saw me. The thing with autism, is that people who have it see and experience the world differently. But, with that said, they still want to do all the things we want to do. They want to have friends, to follow their passions in life and do what is meaningful to them, fall in love, and have a generally happy life. While autism can actually bring some creativity to the table in terms of how this is accomplished, it can also hinder accomplishing these goals. And that's why I think ABA is important and valid. Personally, I think that if someone doesn't know how to brush their teeth because they have autism, we should not be saying that "forcing them" to learn how to do that (in a way where they can understand) is wrong. On the contrary, I think it would be extremely inhumane to forego teaching them to brush their teeth and allow them to get gum disease because we don't want to "force" them to learn how to take care of themselves. How a therapist chooses to teach them though, varies from person to person. Being respectful (and knowing what "respectful" looks like for someone with autism) is not something that can always be taught and understood at first glance. It is something that takes a significant amount of time and dedication to learn, and frankly, mistakes. I have found myself (and also, from other professionals I know) that involving yourself or at least being aware of autism advocacy is a great way to do this. There are many resources out there, but a couple of places I would look are the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) and Operational Meaningful Life. There are many others, which I'm sure you will find in your travels. Which brings me back to your situation. I don't know if you've delved at all into advocacy, but I think you should give it a chance. What motivates me and a lot of professionals to join the field is not always the pay. For most, it's being aware of the injustices that are carried out against people with autism and other disabilities, and being able to do something about it. Half of my job as a behavior therapist is to educate parents about ways they can help their kids, resources that are available to them, and helping them to understand how their children see the world. Crazy that, at 22, I'm given this huge responsibility. But it's something I spend a lot of time on, because I personally need to know that what I'm doing is helping. That's empathy and compassion; ABA is just a tool to help me put that empathy and compassion to good use. Look. I can't tell you for sure whether being a behavior therapist or a counseling therapist is right for you. But being someone who, at this point in her life, is so certain of this career choice, maybe you can start to ask yourself the right kinds of questions to get to where you want to be. And I sure as hell don't know a thing about counseling psychology; that's for someone else to answer to. Regardless of what you choose, both of those fields would allow you the chance to change someone's life for the better, and it's something you should be proud of. I wish you the best of luck moving forward with your decision.
  7. Hi Trisha! So cool to see someone else on here doing autism research! I'm currently in the process of doing mine on using a parent training program my mentor and I designed to promote joint attention behavior. Around this time last year (about to graduate), I met up with my mentor and asked him to sponsor my thesis. This is definitely a conversation you want to have in person, as it shows that you are dedicated to the project. (Not to mention, it makes it harder for them to turn you away in person.) I'm rooting for you! There is definitely a need for autism researchers in this field. Best of luck to you!
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