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Completely Torn... Need input


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I'm heavily torn between two schools. Neither one would be a bad decision, but I'm so worried that I'll make the wrong choice, and it will end up negatively impacting my career, or that I would regret it. I am a speech path major, I also have a degree in vocal performance. I really like the area of voice disorders, and would one day (maybe) like to specialize in treating singers.


School #1 (my undergrad):

-Have offered waived tuition 

-Just hired new faculty member, specializing in voice

-Would give me first priority in research opportunities for voice

-Am well-regarded by the faculty

-I've spent 4 years here, I'm a little tired of it

-Don't know if I want to go 6 years at a small university


School #2:

-Would be fresh perspective.

-It's a large school, my undergrad was a small school

-Some programs prefer that you went to a different grad school than your undergrad

-Would like to make new connections with new faculty

-Name recognition

-No voice specialist

-No offer of funding as of yet


Both programs would offer the same curriculum, and have the same rate of post-grad employment. I don't even know if I WANT to do research, and it might be nice to explore other areas of speech path. It seems like #1 is the clear choice, but I still feel drawn to #2. I have no idea what to do... any thoughts?

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How much is tuition at school #2? If you can afford to take out the loans and pay them back in your intended career, then I guess you could go to school 2. But, I would go to the first school since it's offering some funding AND it has hired someone in your area of interest. The best way to figure out whether or not you want to do research is to give it a try.

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I could definitely handle tuition at school #2, financially it wouldn't be a problem. I'd have to take out loans, but only for the second year. I don't know why I'm still so attached to it, I guess it's because it's got the name recognition, fancier facilities, and just overall a bigger atmosphere. I had gotten used to the idea of myself as a student there. And I had gotten excited about graduation, leaving my undergrad. But it doesn't really make sense to choose school #2, I know. How important is having someone in your area of interest on faculty? I know the curriculum has to cover everything anyway, and clinically I would still get the opportunity to work with voice clients.

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I also did music performance (see my signature) and am now going in the Fall to ECU for speech path. After reading your post here are my thoughts: if you want to eventually pursue any other degrees in SLp, like a doctorate or a PhD, then where you do your masters MIGHT matter. You will probably be able to get better recommendation letters from school 1, as they already know you to some degree. Another item is that your moving expenses will be nil. If you really want a change, or a potential to do some research, you might consider school 2 just because it will give you a fresh perspective, new faculty on which to make a new impression, and give you. Chance to explore another city, another university, maybe more musical performance opportunities on the side if you wish to continue that area of your life. You also said school 2 is is in a bigger city?.. That could be another appeal in and of itself, more clinical opportunities as far as variety, etc. Paying back the loans as an SLP is no big deal, because our employment rate is so high and the pay is well compensated for the level of training. Also, a lot of schools offer scholarships for your second year, so there woulds be potential for funding later on if you aren't offered anything for the first year. Considering the idea of no loans is VERY appealing... I also turned down a tuition remission plus scholarship offer to a university that I wasn't as passionate about attending. Nothing negative about the program, but just needing the positives of the program I am choosing to attend. I also want to eventually pursue a PhD, so choosing ECU sets me up for applying to their PhD program and give me great research background for applying elsewhere. I also connected personality wise with the faculty, and they are ALL researching areas that I am interested in- going to narrow downy interests and pick my thesis topic during the first semester, but I could literally see myself working with ALL of them depending on which direction I go- voice disorders, dysphagia, aging and speech recovery post-stroke, TBI, etc.

Don't know if that helps you, but considering we have similar backgrounds, I thought I could help. Best of luck with your decision, and please come back if you have any further questions, or PM me if you would like!

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I think I'm going to go with school #1. Ultimately the opportunity to study with someone who will have connections and expertise in my area of interest, plus the financial aid, is too much to pass up. I think I just wanted school #2 because it's different, but I'm forgetting that grad school will be an entirely different experience from undergrad anyway! Our last 4 months are done entirely as an internship, so I will be in a bigger city doing that anyways.


That was possibly the hardest decision I've ever made in my life. I think I cried for two-thirds of the day. Goodness.

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  • 1 month later...

If school 2 is Teachers' College-Columbia University, go to school 1. Trust me. My sister attended there as a non-matriculated student in the SLP program and it was a horrible experience.

Edited by DrF8
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I would go with your Undergrad school waiving your tuition. I am in the exact same boat as you with a different program (Master of Social Work). I am choosing to go with the school that will allow me to graduate debt free with a similar education as the other school. I have had debts linger for awhile and do not want to experience that again. If you are comfortable in your surroundings and are familiar with faculty, you may not get the same experience at the new school. As much as I also want to try a new school out, and the new school carries more prestige, at the end of the day, I want to get ahead with finances rather than have to worry about how to pay off debts upon graduation. Good luck!!!

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Even if you can handle the debt of school 2 I'd recommend going with option one. Priority when it comes to research could mean getting onto something that you love or having to grin and bear something that you couldn't even tolerate on a bad day.

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