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Starting a post-baccalaureate program next fall- any advice?

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Hi, I finally got around to poking my nose into these forums and seeing what they have to offer. So far, it looks like a lot of great advice is going around! I'm going to be starting the post-bac program at Portland State next fall and I'm very anxious right now about taking out extra loans and then possibly failing to get into grad school. Even if I get rejected from every graduate school I apply to, I'm going to apply the next year and the next year and so on, until I get accepted. 

A little bit about me/some of my stats: I graduated with a B.A. in International Studies from a small liberal arts college. I became interested in the SLP profession through my first job post-graduation: I had lost interest in what I studied in school and knew I wanted to be in a field where I would be working directly with people. So I started out in basic, entry-level social work at a group home for adults with developmental disabilities while I figured out what I wanted to do. Nothing glamorous about this job, but I ended up loving it and have stuck with it for a year and a half. I found myself drawn to the speech-pathology aspect of my work (which there is a LOT of with the people I work with) and I would say that it probably relates to growing up with a speech impediment. I did see an SLP when I was younger and although I was pretty resistant to the sessions due to being constantly teased for going to the Special Ed room, I did end up using a lot of what I had learned later on to conquer it later on in high school. 


I had some issues in undergrad GPA-wise. I think it was a combination of trying to work with some undiagnosed/untreated ADD and becoming increasingly disinterested in my major. I finished undergrad with a GPA of 3.2 and the classes that dragged it down were in my major. I got As in my science courses, writing courses, and language courses (my highest semester GPA was during French immersion study abroad), so I'm hoping that will reflect well on my abilities. Now that my ADD is more under control, I am *hoping* that I can pull off a 3.9 or 4.0 in the post-bac classes. I test very well (usually in 97th-99th percentile) and I feel confident that I can get a very strong GRE score. Sorry for writing the novel, but I am still so unsure of whether or not I have a chance or if my undergrad GPA has ruined that for me. 

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For what it is worth, I think you have a decent chance - particularly if you do well in the post-bac classes & get a decent GRE score.


I'm changing fields (German & history undergrad majors) and when I was interviewing, they seemed to genuinely value a diverse background.  I'm tentatively hopeful - I think you should have every reason to be as well.

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I'm working on my post-bac classes right now, and I've applied to grad schools in the fall. My advice would be to look closely at the grad schools to which you will be applying to see what their prerequisites are. Each school has slightly different course requirements. Although it won't hurt you to take additional classes you don't need, it can definitely hold you back if you don't take a class that your grad school has as a prerequisite for admissions or beginning clinic.


Also, pay close attention to what the prerequisites for each undergraduate class are. With only 2 semesters to take all my post-bac classes, I had to think through what classes I needed for fall, so that I could finish up the classes for spring. It sounds kind of obvious, but I found it to be pretty tricky to work out my schedule so that I could get all the courses I needed this year (and I still ended up with one course that I can't take this semester because I didn't get into the pre-req last semester).


Which brings me to my last piece of advice, register for classes as early as possible. I don't know about Portland, but at my school (Metropolitan State University of Denver), post-bac classes fill up almost immediately. I didn't register as early as I should have for the fall, and not getting in to that one class I needed has set me back a bit.


Hope this helps! I wish someone had told me this stuff before I began my post-bac work.

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If you want to apply to do ECU's online pre-req classes, the deadline is March 1 and is first-come, first serve.  I missed the deadline last year and had to pay more for an out-of-state school (Longwood University in VA) to take  my pre-reqs.  I'm on a mission for a career change and just could not wait any longer to get started on the pre-reqs.  


Check on the pre-reqs for the pre-reqs.  If you haven't already done Biology and Statistics, do them now.  I did my biology class online with a local community college for super cheap (less than $300 for the whole course, 4 credits).  Stats could be done the same way.  


Be proactive.  Put together a list of pre-reqs for all of the universities that you THINK you'll be applying come next year, and then see what courses you need. Some universities can work an extra pre-req course or two INTO your grad program, while others require grades (etc) to even enroll in their program.  Basically, decide what courses you absolutely have to have, what sequence you'll need to take them to get them finished during the time frame you are considering.  


Check to see if there "optional" courses (ones that you could potentially take during the summer prior to grad school, or not required to apply or enroll).  Better to take MORE pre-req courses than less.  Some schools withhold financial aid if you are still taking an "undergrad" level course such as a pre-req, which means you could be taking out traditional loans for a semester or more if you still have to complete them.  For example, only two of my schools require "Speech Science" to be completed before enrollment.  The way I scheduled my pre-req courses, I am going to take Speech Science during the summer session (which I don't register for until April +). If I decide to go to another school on my list where SPSci is not required as a pre-req, I can save that money.  If I decide to go to one of the two, then I know I will need to register for it.  


Check tuition cost, and those little "university" fees that may cost you more in the end.  If you're going online, there are a lot of options, and all courses are beginning to be VERY well vetted by the ASHA people who assign accreditation status, which is usually required even for schools that offer the pre-reqs.  

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