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Advice for an undergrad in communication disorders?

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I'm currently in my first year of prenursing and plan to switch my major and schools for communication disorders at CSUN. Anyone who was a communication disorders major for speech path, any advice on what to expect? How tough is the coursework? Is it more on memorization? I'm really interested in this career and I can't seem to find info on what being a cd major is like. Thank you!!

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Honestly, I think if you go into this with "memorization" as they key, you will not do well. This field is all application, which is why I love it. You'll learn the anatomy-and then you'll learn the way it can influence you. You'll learn phonetics-and then use it while giving evaluations. You'll learn to do therapy, which you can't make up/memorize-it's all yourself. You'll learn about all the disorders that you will, at some point encounter. I think if you go into this field prepared to use the things you learn, and can make application to how it'll be in real life, it'll help you go far :)


The coursework is "easy" for me, but only because I'm all about applying it to real life-things like history, which are more memorization, are not at all my strength.

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As she said, memorization only gets you so far. The course work is varied and interesting though. Some classes, like language development, might be more memorization about milestones and such, but others you actually take what you learn and apply it to other concepts... but don't let that scare you. It's more like getting the foundation then adding onto it to see how changes in the foundation can relate to different disorders. You won't have microbiology or other crazy courses like nursing would have you take though... which I see as a plus. Once in grad school you can really look more into the different aspects of SLP and see which one you like more. That's another thing I love about SLP-- the variety!


If you google 'speech pathology blog" you'll find LOTS of blogs. Some are by clinicians who mostly post activities, others are by grad students who tell you about their experiences getting into grad school and what it's like in grad school. I'll do a slightly shameless plug here and say that I have an undergraduate blog and have posted on things that may pertain more to undergrads and give more info on the field and such. You can check it out:    lookwhoslp.blogspot.com      I think UoN or some other university has a NSSLHA (the student organization) that interviews students from different grad programs to let you know what they think.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought the coursework was easy only because (like stated above) I applied it to what I was learning in other courses instead of just memorizing.

I can honestly say that the students who just memorized and did the bare minimum in my graduating class did not get into grad programs.

If you go in willing to really learn, you can't go wrong.

Each class builds on one another. I am not sure about other programs but at the University of Central Florida, we had a Capstone course which was a review of every class in our major. It was a great refresher and I realized how much I really retained!

It is such an amazing field and you will probably find your niche! You might even find the population you are really interested in working with and that always makes for a great addition to a letter of intent ;)


I just graduated this Thursday and start grad school at the University of South Florida in August! I am SO excited! I too started in a different major (Psychology and then Social Work) but found my passion in CSD! Go in with a desire to learn and you will :) GOOD LUCK!!!

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I just want to chime in that everyone has different learning styles. I know that the people above weren't saying that you don't need to memorize things, but here's my $0.02... Some people learn well from memorization (me), while others need to be able to apply things to real life situations. You absolutely need to be able to memorize info, synthesize it with stuff from other classes, and apply it to therapy. I think the end goal of being able to apply what you've learned is obviously the most important thing, but memorization is the first step in that process, and you won't always have the opportunity to apply what you've learned to a client. Sometimes memorization is all you get, but you still need to know your material like you know the alphabet, or like you know how to count to 10.

As for what to expect, I think it really depends on your teachers... My graduating class had one teacher for a certain course, and the next year's class had another teacher (because the first was on sabbatical). My class - we were lucky to get B's, and learn anything at all. The next class all got easy A's. I think I only got out okay because I taught myself the material, haha. That sequence of classes (language development, language disorders) was the only part of undergrad that I had trouble with, because none of what the teacher taught had anything to do with milestones or disorders of any kind... for example, I literally don't think the word 'aphasia' was even mentioned once. Other classes I noticed my peers had trouble with were: speech science, and neuroanatomy.

Other advice - start getting to know your professors early on. Go in to office hours even if you don't need help; try to get to know them a little bit on a personal level. A lackluster LOR is like the scarlet letter to the admissions committee. Also gain some relevant experience outside of the classroom. This is a very competitive field, and sometimes the difference between getting in and getting waitlisted or rejected is literally just a few hours of job shadowing. So don't just do your minimum observation hours. Do extra observations on a population that interests you. Shadow SLPs in different settings. You need to be able to tell the admissions committee what you think you want to do, where you think you want to work, and why.

Good luck!

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