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Post-bacc or no post-bacc....so many questions!!

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Hi guys! Long story short, I graduated a bit over a year ago with my undergrad in psychology and have been working in mental health. I've been thinking a lot about grad school, and due to concerns of both salary and burnout, am kind of edging away from mental health....thus, I discovered SLP, and after much research, it seems like a real possibility! That said, I have a bunch of questions...


1) Post-bacc or no post-bacc? I'm in NJ and for a number of reasons, am REALLY hoping to stay local and be able to commute while living with parents. NJ schools vary from 0-5 pre-req classes (ie; Montclair) to a whopping 10-15 (William Paterson requires a bunch, I believe). What I don't totally understand is this....each school in NJ lists different pre-reqs. As in, BOTH the number and name are different. Do post-bacc programs generally apply easily across grad programs?? If I opt to do a post-bacc one, what is a suitable number of courses? I see some that are just 6, others like 15! 


2) Is it feasible to do a full-time online post-bacc for a year while working full-time? Ideally, I'd like to be able to keep my job and pay the post-bacc as I go, so as only to incur debt from actual grad school itself.


3) Most economical post-baccs?? Money is a big issue for me. I'm paying off my undergrad loans currently, my family is low on economical resources, and for that and several other reasons, price is VERY important. Can anyone from personal experience recommend online post-baccs that won't break the bank?


4) Okay, so, shadowing. Some schools require it beforehand, some don't. How exactly does this WORK? You just find an SLP to shadow a few hours a week, and get that in writing, or....what?


Sorry y'all, lots of questions, but I see on every post here that comments are SUPER helpful, so...thank you in advance!!! :)



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Hi Kate,


As the poster above me said, Kean is great because you don't have to complete the entire pre-professional program; you just take what you want. However, this could get tricky because if money is a concern it would be wise to only take the pre-reqs you need for wherever you do end up applying. So it might involve a bit of research. Also, their pre-professional program can be done entirely online (but not all online classes are offered all semesters). You can also apply to Kean with 0 pre-reqs and just take 3 years to get your Masters. 


It is possible to work full-time and do a full-time post bac, especially if it's an online program. I know people that have done it and you'd have to work hard but it's not impossible. :)


For shadowing, I know Seton Hall requires at least 25 hours. If you don't have time to physically shadow an SLP they'll accept observation hours from www.masterclinician.org as long as a certified SLP is signing off on your observations.


Good luck! 

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I come from a similar background. My undergrad degree is a BS in psychology as well. I am currently doing a post-bacc year right now. I started in fall semester. I found that the requirements really vary from program to program on what they require for prereqs. I would look into programs that really interest you so you can have an idea of what you need to do to get into them. I'm not familiar with programs on that side of the country so I can't help there. The programs I'm applying to mostly required at around ~27 credits of Communication Disorders courses ie. post-bacc year


As for the working and doing school full-time, I would not suggest it. Some people may think differently though, and that's okay. For one, you would be taking a big gamble by doing a post-bacc year in that if your grades aren't top notch, you risk an even smaller chance of getting in. It is a scary reality that needs to be understood. Broadly speaking, grades you get in post-bacc classes generally carry the most weight in admissions since they are what you need to know to be a clinician. Grades aren't everything but they sure help. Professors at my school discourage people from even working part-time because of the rigor of coursework. I currently work a job where I don't work often and even then I find that it interferes with my homework time. I can't speak for an online program though. In my experience, online classes have been much easier than in person classes. Being from a psych background, there is a lot of useful information we have. Also, I will say I never worked half as hard during my undergrad in psych as I have been in my Communication Disorder classes. It is a whole different playing field as far as work load/subject matter goes. That's just my experience though. I find it really interesting so it isn't a chore. 


Also, for observation hours I have found that most accredited SLP programs require/STRONGLY prefer that you have 25 observations hours documented before admission into the master's program. You can get this requirement fulfilled by having a clinician that has their CCC's sign off on it after observing them. The reason accredited programs require this is because once you're in the master's, you have to have a total of 400 hours clocked in direct client contact throughout the program (25 of which are observation). That is a lot of hours to complete, so they want you to come in with guns blazing and ready to go. I am currently in a clinical methods class that we are required to do 25 observation hours in, so I'm fulfilling that requirement right now. I would ask the post bacc programs you consider if they do that too. 


Deciding to do a post-bacc year is a huge decision. I come from a humble background and I took (am taking) the risk of doing this year with more loans *cringe* and paying for it with money I saved from the summer.  I am happy with my decision to take the post-bacc plunge. So far I have an interview at my top choice master's program and am waiting to hear back from all of my other ones. It seems like the hefty decision may pay off for me if things go well, fingers crossed. Good luck on what you decide. 

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I'm out of field as well and I'm taking the specific courses I need online through Utah State. Courses are affordable at ~$870 per 3 credit class. I already applied and gained admission for Fall! I applied only to programs that are either 3 years (with an extra prereq year) or require 5 or less prereqs before matriculation (so you can apply without having them done). I'm taking 2 courses now while working full time (not difficult) and will take the rest during the summer or just go to a 3 year program. Hope this helps, and good luck!

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Thank you all for your responses! It's nice to know Kean allows you to customize your post-bacc, that's certainly useful. Potential schools I'm applying to require the following:


1) Kean - 8 courses, 25 credits


2) Monmouth - 6 courses, 18 credits


3) Motclair- 5 courses, 16 credits


4) Seton Hall- 6 courses, 18 credits (*Plus a physical science; I only have AP credit from high school for Biology)


5) William Patterson- 9 courses, 27 credits


6) Richard Stockton (WAY far from me to commute, unlikely) - 5 courses, unsure on credit #


Now, with this information, what to do for a post-bacc? It seems like the max needed credits is 27 for Willy P, and the others will only allow you to submit UP TO 18 credits you've taken. Wouldn't it be kind of a waste of money to do a program that's 20+ credits if I can't apply it all.....?


I wonder if I should do a program such as Kean or Utah State that allows me to take the number I need, and then just do 18 or so; this would seemingly only exclude me from Willy P when it comes to NJ schools. Or do you all think it's better to just get more covered?


Also, neuronparty, I definitely want to do an online post-bacc. I simply do not have the money or resources for on campus; I'm reserving that for the actual masters. On top of other issues, I'm having car trouble now too, and need to make my lil guy last as long as possible. :P I've heard online tends to be much easier...might it be possible to work full-time and do 3-4 online courses a semester and still do well in them?

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