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speechie1122

“Top-Rated” schools are drastically overrated, IMO.

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It's true. You definitely read that right. 

Top-rated schools are fabulous, competitive, and honestly overrated. 

I am not trying to bash them, I'm here to say why its OKAY to go to a small, underrated graduate program. 

We are all learning the same material. We are all completing clinic hours. Your performance in school will not make you a good working SLP. What I mean by that is, you can not learn compassion through a test. You can not learn interpersonal skill through a test. You can not learn what makes an amazing SLP through tests. Yes, the information is important. The way you apply that information means even more. What matters the most, is being able to give the clients, families, and loved ones the support needed from you. That is not learned through textbook material.   

Top-rated schools are harsh. The testing is difficult, its rigorous, but at the end of the day, we all have to meet ASHA standards. We are not learning different information at different schools, yes it is applied differently. I can honestly say I feel prepared for my internship/internship experiences because I am equipped with what I need to know. Some of the best schools that create the best SLP's are from smaller - underrated - schools that care about their graduate students, and do not only focus on research and being a "top-rated" school. They pour information into us. They make sure we understand, they teach us their ways. I have so many wonderful professors, and I love my program and the experience I am receiving.    

Yes I will admit, I do not go to a top-rated school, I am completely happy where I am. I am LEARNING through professionals active in ASHA and the SLP community. One of my professors is on an ASHA board and has a ton of useful connections. My dysphagia and aphasia professor still works as an SLP at the local hospital and as a PRN SLP - her medical kits are AMAZING. Most of my professors are working SLP's because they love their jobs.   

What I am saying here is: 

Don't discourage yourself if you think you can not handle a top-tier school. It's OKAY! You will be an SLP!   

My smaller school allows me to work a Graduate Assistant job to avoid so many student loans. My graduate degree will cost me less than $15,000. I am not worried about finding a job that I want. I am confident in my education, and you should be too, NO MATTER where you go.   

WE ROCK! Underrated programs and top-rated programs ROCK! SLP's ROCK! We change lives. We are AMAZING no matter what school we go to. BE confident in your abilities! You chose this career for a reason!

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So far I've been accepted to a top-rated school and a school that is a candidate for accreditation, so different ends of the spectrum in many ways. Both definitely have their own strengths and I have no idea which I will choose if my decision comes down to just those two.

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Posted (edited)

Not saying I agree or disagree with your comments. But how can you make this statement if you did not go to a top-rated school? Also what is wrong with focusing on research? The material you learned in class came from research. All practice is informed by research. Without top-ranked research schools leading the field in EBP, other clinical programs with professors like yours would become clueless. Remember, you are going to graduate school, earning an academic degree. Not professional school and professional degree.

Edited by BADASSALICE

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6 minutes ago, BADASSALICE said:

Not saying I agree or disagree with your comments. But how can you make this statement if you did not go to a top-rated school? Also what is wrong with focusing on research? The material you learned in class came from research. All practice is informed by research. Without top-ranked research schools leading the field in EBP, other clinical programs would become clueless. Remember, you are going to graduate school, earning an academic degree. Not professional school and professional degree. Just my opinion

Doesn’t EBP extend outside of these top schools? I would say it’s as a lot of what OP said; the only defining way to be a better (or the best possible) SLP is to continuously engage with and learn from the field.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Aspire_to_Be said:

Doesn’t EBP extend outside of these top schools? I would say it’s as a lot of what OP said; the only defining way to be a better (or the best possible) SLP is to continuously engage with and learn from the field.

Of course it does! It is the foundation of all practice no matter in top rated schools or not!! I said top schools lead the field in EBP. Some students decide to learn from the best and some don’t! It is a personal preference depending on many factors and there is nothing wrong with either!!

Edited by BADASSALICE

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15 minutes ago, BADASSALICE said:

Of course it does! It is the foundation of all practice no matter in top rated schools or not!! I said top schools lead the field in EBP. Some students decide to learn from the best and some don’t! It is a personal preference depending on many factors and there is nothing wrong with either!!

Well said, and to that point, OP is encouraging others to do their best no matter the ranking of the school. I’ve been accepted to some well regarded schools while also to some lesser prestigious but am weighing my options among all of them.

 

these are crazy times truthfully. 

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3 minutes ago, Aspire_to_Be said:

Well said, and to that point, OP is encouraging others to do their best no matter the ranking of the school. I’ve been accepted to some well regarded schools while also to some lesser prestigious but am weighing my options among all of them.

 

these are crazy times truthfully. 

Indeed! There has always been a trend in this field to overlook research for some reason. Each year there are people coming out to tell others that top-ranked schools are overrated and even shame the people who pay high student-loans to attend these schools. I like to advocate for knowledge any chance I get! :)

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Posted (edited)

I am so happy that you have had a great experience in your program OP! I am not sure if these programs are actually overrated though. I go to a top 10 program and can say that it is absolutely amazing. We have top researches as our professors, but they don't only focus on incorporating research. They really emphasize client and parent expectations when crafting our treatment plans. I also don't find my program harsh; all of the faculty are incredibly supportive, as are my fellow classmates. While I do agree that actual practice facilitates learning, tests are necessary, especially since we all have to take COMPS to become SLPs. 

I think a lot of the information you are providing about these programs is based more on assumptions and doesn't match the actual experience of students who attend those programs. 

Each program is too unique to really make these broad generalizations anyway :) I hope this didn't come off as rude, I mean to only share my experience. 

Edited by Southwestspeechie

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, BADASSALICE said:

Of course it does! It is the foundation of all practice no matter in top rated schools or not!! I said top schools lead the field in EBP. Some students decide to learn from the best and some don’t! It is a personal preference depending on many factors and there is nothing wrong with either!!

Definietly agree that absolutes can be unhelpful and each individual has to choose what’s best or most practical for her. I think a lot of programs that focus less on research can mean more face time with professors and sometimes those professors have had more clinical practice. While I totally agree EBP is absolutely critical, implementing that EBP involves its own skill set which a more research focused professor may or may not be the “best” at. So, while I agree with you on most fronts, I would just say “best” can mean different, equally valid things to different students. 

I’m grateful for your perspective as someone trying to decide between two such schools.

Edited by Rezzy S.

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8 minutes ago, Southwestspeechie said:

Each program is too unique to really make these broad generalizations anyway :) I hope this didn't come off as rude, I mean to only share my experience. 

I couldn’t agree more!!!!

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Posted (edited)

There are certainly pros and cons to every program--it sounds to me like @speechie1122 wasn't denigrating top-ranked schools but reminding people that perhaps other programs are under-rated, and people who go there shouldn't be ashamed or feel like they're less qualified in any way.

I do have something to point out, though, about the argument that research professors may be too busy and clinical professors provide more time. In my experience, I've found this to be sort of the opposite. My school is fairly highly-ranked (top 17%). The school is officially a Tier-2 for research, but there are several prominent researchers in our department. I've found that if the professors are doing research, they may actually hang around in the building and may be more available to talk to if needed. On the other hand, one of our professors is great but incredibly hard to schedule a meeting with because in addition to teaching multiple classes she is involved with specialty voice/craniofacial teams and is absurdly busy. Another professor was a wonderful teacher, but she only teaches one grad class because she sees clients, so we got one great experience with her and that's it.

Also, it really is fantastic hearing someone heavily involved in research get to passionately describe their area of interest. One professor admitted to not being good at the clinical side and never got her Cs, instead going back for the Ph.D. She therefore could not give us much practical advice for dealing with clients, but I loved her class because she gave her unique insights into her area of expertise (and very entertainingly bashed practices she didn't agree with. No one in our class will ever think of brain training the same way again!)

Sorry, I don't mean to make anyone's decisions harder, I just wanted to share that just because someone is involved in research doesn't make them a disengaged, absent, not-practical teacher! Learning and working with them can be a really wonderful experience. It's not a necessary step to being a good SLP, but it's certainly enlightening.

Edited by bibliophile222

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I agree with the above post - the original poster doesn't seem to be hating on top-rated programs, rather saying that it's okay to go to programs that are less well-known or popular. And I think that's a really important idea to spread! Of course you should be proud of yourself regardless of where you get in, no matter where it is or how highly-ranked it is, and it's alright if you don't go to the most competitive, expensive, famous programs. As long as your program is accredited (or on track for accreditation) you'll get your CCC's, and know what you need to know to do your job. I think regardless of major, it can be easy for us to gravitate towards schools that are high-rated and often-mentioned, but as has been said, all programs have their pros and cons and it's less about what program is "the best" vs. what program is the best for you. That's not a bad message to be sharing at all!

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10 hours ago, Southwestspeechie said:

I am so happy that you have had a great experience in your program OP! I am not sure if these programs are actually overrated though. I go to a top 10 program and can say that it is absolutely amazing. We have top researches as our professors, but they don't only focus on incorporating research. They really emphasize client and parent expectations when crafting our treatment plans. I also don't find my program harsh; all of the faculty are incredibly supportive, as are my fellow classmates. While I do agree that actual practice facilitates learning, tests are necessary, especially since we all have to take COMPS to become SLPs. 

I think a lot of the information you are providing about these programs is based more on assumptions and doesn't match the actual experience of students who attend those programs. 

Each program is too unique to really make these broad generalizations anyway :) I hope this didn't come off as rude, I mean to only share my experience. 

It sounds like you’re in a wonderful program. Congratulations to you. Yes this post was opinion based from close friends who have attended top tier schools. I do not have the experience to be able to speak from my own experience. I was trying more to encourage people to not stress over where they decide and have peace in choosing a program that’s not too ranked. All SLP programs meet standards set by ASHA. I personally wanted a client centered program versus research centered because my main focus in my career are the clients I will be working with. 

Thanks for the feedback 

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8 hours ago, bibliophile222 said:

There are certainly pros and cons to every program--it sounds to me like @speechie1122 wasn't denigrating top-ranked schools but reminding people that perhaps other programs are under-rated, and people who go there shouldn't be ashamed or feel like they're less qualified in any way.

I do have something to point out, though, about the argument that research professors may be too busy and clinical professors provide more time. In my experience, I've found this to be sort of the opposite. My school is fairly highly-ranked (top 17%). The school is officially a Tier-2 for research, but there are several prominent researchers in our department. I've found that if the professors are doing research, they may actually hang around in the building and may be more available to talk to if needed. On the other hand, one of our professors is great but incredibly hard to schedule a meeting with because in addition to teaching multiple classes she is involved with specialty voice/craniofacial teams and is absurdly busy. Another professor was a wonderful teacher, but she only teaches one grad class because she sees clients, so we got one great experience with her and that's it.

Also, it really is fantastic hearing someone heavily involved in research get to passionately describe their area of interest. One professor admitted to not being good at the clinical side and never got her Cs, instead going back for the Ph.D. She therefore could not give us much practical advice for dealing with clients, but I loved her class because she gave her unique insights into her area of expertise (and very entertainingly bashed practices she didn't agree with. No one in our class will ever think of brain training the same way again!)

Sorry, I don't mean to make anyone's decisions harder, I just wanted to share that just because someone is involved in research doesn't make them a disengaged, absent, not-practical teacher! Learning and working with them can be a really wonderful experience. It's not a necessary step to being a good SLP, but it's certainly enlightening.

You directly received the point I was trying to make and articulated what I didn’t say so well. I agree with you 100% 

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