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rickthesheriff

cheaper program vs. better program

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I have been accepted to a few programs so far. I wanted to get this discussion going because this dilemma is not uncommon. Every situation is unique, and it's a tough call.

 

My situation - School A will pay about 85% tuition and requires me to work 15-20 hours a week. School B is offering me a scholarship which will cover my tuition. (I do not need to work). 

 

I definitely like school A more than I like school B. However, school A is not my dream school, and I do not dislike anything about school B. So they are both somewhere in the middle for me, but I like school A more. 

 

I am still waiting to hear from two of my dream schools. I'll be lucky if I get accepted, and I do not expect to get any sort of scholarship/assistantship. If I am accepted I am not sure how it will factor into my decision. At this point, I am not sure I can justify spending 50,000 more over the course of two years. (I'm in debt from undergrad and my parents can't chip in for school)

 

I was shocked/honored/excited to receive money from schools. Wherever I end up I will probably have a great experience, but I would appreciate any additional insight! (what would you do, similar situations, etc.)

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I would choose school B, because you will not have to work giving you more time to focus on your grad coursework. That seems like an IDEAL set up. So if its not your dream school, maybe it can become it?!

 

Best of luck! :)

 

Also, can I ask you how you went about receiving funding for these programs?

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I would definitely choose school B which gives you free tuition with no work. I see the graduate students at my undergraduate university right now who work 20 hours for GA positions running around like chickens w their heads cut off haha. This decision almost seems like a no brainer to me! Grad school will be a huge adjustment with extensive course load and clinical hours the least amount of stressers you have to add to that equations the better! Either way though congrats to you for having both these opportunities in front of you!

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Out of your two schools, I would definitely go with school B. 15-20 hours a week sounds like A LOT on top of clinical placements and classes. I don't know how manageable that would be. Plus you get 100% of tuition covered as opposed to 85%. Since you don't prefer school A *that* much more, I'd go with school B. Probably even over your dream schools if you get in, as you said you are already in debt.

I think it's also important to consider what area you think you want to go into. If you want to be a hospital SLP, I think the program you attend is more important, as those jobs are very competitive. If you want to be a school based or SNF SLP, I think you can choose any program and you'll be fine.

Right now I have one school that will cost $15,000 total for tuition, and another that will be $65,000 total and is considered better. Plus the cost of living would be lower at the first school. I need to visit both and hear back from other schools before I make my decision, but it's already weighing in my mind...

Good luck with your decision!

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Thank you all for the insight! And positive thoughts (awesome username btw), for these two programs there were no additional requirements for the scholarship/assistantship. I did apply to a few programs which required an additional application, but it was made very clear (for example, one program emailed all applicants instructions on how to apply for assistantships).

 

I have heard how crazy grad school can be. I have always worked way too much, but I would hate to burn out/not get the most of my experience. 

 

Phaedra - congrats on your acceptances! Applying to schools was such a process, and I honestly never thought about this part (deciding between schools). I hope the decision comes easily to you!

 

Good luck to everyone  :D

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First of all congrats on getting into the 2 programs @rickthesheriff and @phaedra!  I just want to put my 2 cents in about grad programs/ schools in general.  There is this big misconception that one program is better than the other or one program will get you better hospital jobs after school, etc.  These are all just myths...  every program is required to teach certain classes by ASHA and every program requires the ASHA 400 clock hours and every program has both a school and medical internship or externship for the most part.  Unless it is a specific medical SLP like the school in Washington offers or some schools that are specifically only medical SLP geared, then they are pretty much all the same.  Any SLP grad degree will get you a job in whatever setting you would like after grad school.  

 

That being said, the choice is yours and for the most part I believe you have your minds made up but just wanted some feedback and to feel good about the way you are leaning.  If your minds are not made up and you truly have no biases towards a program or school or city..... then...

 

Go to the cheaper school!  It's a no brainer.

 

:)

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I'm in a similar situation and am struggling to figure out the weight of a "big name" grad program. People on this forum tend to say it doesn't matter at all, but professors and clinicians that I've spoken to have said that coming from a top school (with the research and clinical placements they can provide) can affect how attractive you are as a candidate, potential salary, etc. I'm torn because I'm really interested in NYU but I feel like Madison would be better career-wise.

Note: I hope this doesn't seem obnoxious or like I'm dismissing the posters who have given different opinions! Do what feels right for you, and congrats!

Edited by limegin

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First of all congrats on getting into the 2 programs @rickthesheriff and @phaedra!  I just want to put my 2 cents in about grad programs/ schools in general.  There is this big misconception that one program is better than the other or one program will get you better hospital jobs after school, etc.  These are all just myths...  every program is required to teach certain classes by ASHA and every program requires the ASHA 400 clock hours and every program has both a school and medical internship or externship for the most part.  Unless it is a specific medical SLP like the school in Washington offers or some schools that are specifically only medical SLP geared, then they are pretty much all the same.  Any SLP grad degree will get you a job in whatever setting you would like after grad school.  

 

That being said, the choice is yours and for the most part I believe you have your minds made up but just wanted some feedback and to feel good about the way you are leaning.  If your minds are not made up and you truly have no biases towards a program or school or city..... then...

 

Go to the cheaper school!  It's a no brainer.

 

:)

 

twinguy7, thank you for your insight! I know hospital SLP jobs are supposed to be pretty competitive... What do you think helps an SLP get this kind of job if the school doesn't really matter? Does it come down to personal characteristics and networking? I have always thought I wanted to be an elementary school SLP, but I have never shadowed an SLP in the hospital setting, so I think I could change my mind.

 

Another question, if you or anyone else has any thoughts - one of my possible schools only has an average Master's graduation rate of 85% or so over the past 3 years. All the other schools I've looked at have 100% or close to it. Do you think this is concerning? Is it a reflection on the students' personal circumstances or on the program itself? I plan to ask the school directly at the open house but wondering if anyone has thoughts.

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Another question, if you or anyone else has any thoughts - one of my possible schools only has an average Master's graduation rate of 85% or so over the past 3 years. All the other schools I've looked at have 100% or close to it. Do you think this is concerning? Is it a reflection on the students' personal circumstances or on the program itself? I plan to ask the school directly at the open house but wondering if anyone has thoughts.

 

Personally, that would concern me. I would look at the number of students total that didn't graduate, whether it was a big batch one year or if there are consistently 3+ students failing to finish every year, etc. Definitely see what they have to say at the open house. While I do think that there are probably situations (family emergency, illness, etc) that a school can do little to prevent in terms of certain students failing to complete the program, a consistent number of students not finishing would be a red (or strong yellow) flag for me. 

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Personally, that would concern me. I would look at the number of students total that didn't graduate, whether it was a big batch one year or if there are consistently 3+ students failing to finish every year, etc. Definitely see what they have to say at the open house. While I do think that there are probably situations (family emergency, illness, etc) that a school can do little to prevent in terms of certain students failing to complete the program, a consistent number of students not finishing would be a red (or strong yellow) flag for me. 

For the past 3 years, the graduation rate has been 81%, 82%, and 86% respectively... so it's a consistent number of people each year.  :unsure: So yeah, seems like a red flag - thanks for sharing your opinion.

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Yeah phaedra, I agree with moosemoose (haha, what a weird sentence).

I looked at their website and there's been 6-7 students failing to graduate each year. That is crazy - I've never seen anything in the 80% range - I think the most I've seen for other schools has been 2 students not graduating, and it was never a consistent thing. Make me really curious about what's going on over there  :huh:

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Another question, if you or anyone else has any thoughts - one of my possible schools only has an average Master's graduation rate of 85% or so over the past 3 years. All the other schools I've looked at have 100% or close to it. Do you think this is concerning? Is it a reflection on the students' personal circumstances or on the program itself? I plan to ask the school directly at the open house but wondering if anyone has thoughts.

That would definitely concern me as well. I spent a lot of time researching graduation and employment after graduation stats before I applied because I feel like it is imperative to know when choosing a program. The fact that it has been a low rate three years in a row is something I would investigate. Maybe you can contact previous students/recent grads and get their take on the matter. 

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For the past 3 years, the graduation rate has been 81%, 82%, and 86% respectively... so it's a consistent number

of people each year.  :unsure: So yeah, seems like a red flag - thanks for sharing your opinion.

 

Yes, that would concern me.  

 

phaedra, what about the graduates' employment and Praxis pass rates? Are they also on the low side?  Sounds like something is amiss in that program.   :blink:

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twinguy7, thank you for your insight! I know hospital SLP jobs are supposed to be pretty competitive... What do you think helps an SLP get this kind of job if the school doesn't really matter? Does it come down to personal characteristics and networking? I have always thought I wanted to be an elementary school SLP, but I have never shadowed an SLP in the hospital setting, so I think I could change my mind.

 

Another question, if you or anyone else has any thoughts - one of my possible schools only has an average Master's graduation rate of 85% or so over the past 3 years. All the other schools I've looked at have 100% or close to it. Do you think this is concerning? Is it a reflection on the students' personal circumstances or on the program itself? I plan to ask the school directly at the open house but wondering if anyone has thoughts.

 

I was totally set on SLP in schools before I started my program mainly because i was an SLPA for a year and had that experience and loved working with kids, but like you said...  when you learn more about the medical side it may change your mind.  I personally love the Skilled Nursing Medical aspect  but till wouldn't mind working in the schools just to give you an example.  

 

As far as the 85% graduation rate...  yes that definitely would be a red flag, but like you said... ask them why that was the case.  It could be because of illness, family problems, financial situations, etc.  It is almost never because people just didn't pass the classes.  Things happen in life that are unforeseen.  Could even be someone starting a family unexpectedly but the program has to be honest and report the graduation rate so good strategy with asking them at the open houses!  :)

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Twinguy, I feel like you might not have seen my post from earlier:

Yeah phaedra, I agree with moosemoose (haha, what a weird sentence).

I looked at their website and there's been 6-7 students failing to graduate each year. That is crazy - I've never seen anything in the 80% range - I think the most I've seen for other schools has been 2 students not graduating, and it was never a consistent thing. Make me really curious about what's going on over there  :huh:

I only say this again because HOLY CRAP what is going on there?? 6 students a year. 3 years in a row. When most schools have 0. That's insane!

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Twinguy, I feel like you might not have seen my post from earlier:

I only say this again because HOLY CRAP what is going on there?? 6 students a year. 3 years in a row. When most schools have 0. That's insane!

 

Seriously! I applied to 12 schools, and all of them have 100% graduation rates the last 3 years (maybe one has a 96% rate one year, but only one student not graduating and only once), and when I was researching schools, I don't recall seeing any of the schools I researched with students consistently not graduating, even it was just one student per year.

 

It's definitely something to ask about. I'm actually really curious why. Perhaps they stay an extra summer to complete additional training? Or something along those lines...

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Thanks for the support everyone! I guess it's a bigger deal than I thought. I don't know how I missed this when I was researching where to apply. This is Worcester State for anyone who can't guess based off my signature, haha. I am wondering if the explanation is that these students finished the program later than expected, rather than just dropping out. Some schools include those students separately when they list their stats, but Worcester didn't have a column for that. The Praxis pass rates and employment rates are all spot-on, 100%.

 

What I also find strange is that the program is super-competitive numbers-wise, accepting only around 16% of people. So they get a fair number of applicants. Probably because it's super inexpensive. But I have not been able to find any chatter about it on here. Where are all the Worcester applicants??

 

I will report on what I here from the open house, for those who are curious and for any prospective applicants reading this forum.

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I applied to Worcester State as well and am strongly leaning towards going here because of the cost. I was not even aware of the graduation rate being so low... now I am wondering.

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Help! So I got accepted to Rush (my dream program) which is 67,000 for the two years. I also got accepted to Elmhurst, with scholarship for a total of 46,000 for the two years. Both schools I can live at home for. Rush I can take public transportation to, while Elmhurst I will have to drive too. Also, it is only Elmhurts 2nd year of having a graduate program, so they are not accredited yet, while Rush has been around for a while and is attached to a hospital. But if I went to Elmhurst I would be saving like 20,000 dollars. Any advice??

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I think the accreditation part would worry me the most. Knowing that you will graduate from a prestigious accredited university would make the extra cost worth it to me at least. Congrats on both acceptances! Chicago is one of my absolute favorite cities, I would love to live there after school.

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Help! So I got accepted to Rush (my dream program) which is 67,000 for the two years. I also got accepted to Elmhurst, with scholarship for a total of 46,000 for the two years. Both schools I can live at home for. Rush I can take public transportation to, while Elmhurst I will have to drive too. Also, it is only Elmhurts 2nd year of having a graduate program, so they are not accredited yet, while Rush has been around for a while and is attached to a hospital. But if I went to Elmhurst I would be saving like 20,000 dollars. Any advice??

 

Being at GVSU which is in their 2nd year of the candidacy for accreditation I can tell you there can be upsides to being at a school that is new.  Since they are new they may be even more precise about teaching everything needed and more on their "game" since they need to have a good review at their 5 year follow-up.  

 

As far as the money factor....  I think most of us look at the cost as being a set figure, like the $20,000 difference between Rush and Elmhurst.  But you have to factor in interest of that extra $20,000  in loans.  When you factor that into the equation, it is definitely more than a $20,000 difference.  I'd say more like a $40,000 difference when you take that into account.  Just some food for thought!   :)

Edited by twinguy7

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While it might be worth it to go to a cheaper program vs one with a lot of prestige depending up on personal factors, going to a program that is not accredited is very very risky! If it does not get accredited, I'm pretty sure you cannot be certified by ASHA. I'm totally for going with a mid level program that is significantly cheaper than a very highly ranked program with no funding. But, not to sound too dramatic, I think it's a little crazy to go to a program that is not accredited. If it doesn't get accredited then you will be paying all that money and be kindof stuck. 

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While it might be worth it to go to a cheaper program vs one with a lot of prestige depending up on personal factors, going to a program that is not accredited is very very risky! If it does not get accredited, I'm pretty sure you cannot be certified by ASHA. I'm totally for going with a mid level program that is significantly cheaper than a very highly ranked program with no funding. But, not to sound too dramatic, I think it's a little crazy to go to a program that is not accredited. If it doesn't get accredited then you will be paying all that money and be kindof stuck. 

 

This is a BIG misconception amongst grad school applicants.  A school in candidacy for accreditation actually has accreditation for those 5 years that they are in candidacy like any other program.  

 

"Holding candidacy, which is an accredited status, signifies that the program in speech-language pathology complies with rigorous standards for accreditation.  An accredited status (candidacy or full) must be awarded prior to enrolling students."

 

 

There is also a misconception that if you go to a school with candidacy accreditation you can't get your CCC's, etc.  Here is the direct quote from the ASHA webpage on the matter:

 

"You may submit an application any time after you have completed the necessary coursework, practicum, and received the required graduate degree from a CAA-accredited academic program or a program admitted to CAA candidacy."

 

http://www.asha.org/certification/SLPCertification.htm

 

So new programs with candidacy accreditation(keyword is accreditation) are indeed accredited and do not affect getting your CCC's either.  Hope that clears things up!  :)

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Sorry, I did not mean to offend anyone. I am not familiar with Elmhurst nor its candidacy status and process, I just saw not accredited (which I think, WITHOUT having a candidacy status, is not a legitimate program to consider, but there maybe no such programs so the point maybe moot.) As pointed out, it seems to be fine with the candidacy status. Therefore, its newer status would just be another factor to consider with a bunch of pros and cons in either side. Since both will still cost a significant about of money, it might be worth digging around in other departments to see if they will take TAs or GAs from outside their departments. 

Edited by Lyra1960

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