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Major in education?

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I am a college freshman at a community college. Right now my major is education, but I'm really starting to lean towards the speech pathology field. I know this is a forum for grad schools, but I figured you all would be able to help answer my question. So the university I want to transfer to has communications disorders as a minor. Could I major in education and minor is communications disorders?? That way if I can't ever get into grad school, I could teach? Also, will knowing fluent American Sign Language improve my chances of getting into grad school? I know I shouldn't be thinking about this, I'm only a freshman, but I can't help it. Thanks

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As someone who is 20 years older than you and trying to transition into this field by getting a 2nd bachelor's, my advice would be to major in communication disorders. Don't minor, major and pursue it with extra-curriculars, research work, etc. if it is really your goal. It's a competitive world out there. 

I took ASL because one of the schools that I'm applying to has it as a required pre-req, but none of the SLPs that I've talked to use it more than baby sign level which you could easily pick up from watching Signing Time on Netflix. 

Edited by slporbust2016
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Also, it is never too early to be thinking out what your plan is. The sooner you start planning, the more options you can consider, the more time you have to prepare. 

One thing that is common in the education field is that a person gets a teaching certificate with the bachelors in education-something... for you it sounds like going into somewhere in educational specialties may be a good track. Being fluent in sign language can be helpful in a practical sense, however for grad studies, unless you are doing research in an area where that's a primary focus it may or may not give you an edge. IF the reason you know sign language aligns with what you want to do then it may give you an admissions edge, but I'm not sure it is something to build an application around.

As for what to pursue, consider what you want to do. There are a number of degrees you can get a bachelors in while also trying to learn a teaching certificate... depends on your state/country. If you are considering getting a teaching licensure, you should talk to the undergrad advisers in your college, and also talk to them about pursuing grad school. And get in contact with some of the researchers in Ed and SLP and talk to them about their opinions on the matter. :-)

Hope that helps!

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Check to see if the CD minor meets the "usual" pre-reqs most universities are requiring. I think it would almost be easier to major in CD, and minor in Education. 

Teaching is my "back-up" as well, and I am minoring in Special Education. I will not have a credential coming out of undergrad, but the minor shows my interest, and even allows me to take a course to gain the school observation hours needed to apply to credential programs. 

That is awesome if you personally have an interest in ASL, or want to focus on Deaf studies, but I don't think a few semesters of ASL classes (without showing involvement in Deaf culture/volunteerism) will really swing your app. 

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Let me offer a different perspective.  I actually did get a degree in education and taught for a little while before deciding to pursue a career in SLP.  Having the education background gave me a solid foundation for SLP work, especially since I am now a school SLP.  I personally am grateful for the "scenic route" I took in becoming an SLP.  It's what was right for me.

As for ASL, that is a question you can answer once you start researching grad school and employment opportunities.  I don't think it will make much of a difference as far as getting into a graduate program, unless you have a strong interest in working with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population or attending a specific school that emphasizes ASL.  I did not have any sign language background and I made it through my program with no second thoughts.  As fate would have it, I am now in a school with a strong ASL / English emphasis for my CFY.  I could not have known that 4 years ago.  When I started my journey into SLP, my interest was working with a different population and disorder type.  ASL wouldn't have been appropriate for me to pursue at that time.  Things have changed and now it is.

This is my roundabout way of saying do what feels right for you.  Each SLP, grad program, and employment setting is different.  You will learn, grow, and adapt to whatever is thrown at you... or you may change your mind and pursue something else.  Either option is ok.  Learn ASL because you want to learn it or because you want to work that specific population, not because you think it checks off a box on an imaginary grad school requirement list.  Major in what you think is right for you.  If you want to teach, go into Education.  If you want to become an SLP, go for Com Dis.  If you aren't sure, take classes in both and see what interests you.  Talk to both departments at the university and see what they have to offer.

In the meantime, since you are leaning toward SLP right now, you could take some other courses that are required by ASHA: physics or chemistry, biology, and anatomy/physiology.  Those courses would be required of you for Com Dis.  If you later decide Com Dis isn't for you, you can apply them toward Gen Ed credits.

I would also look at your intended university's graduation and degree requirements.  Some schools will not let you earn majors or minors from more than one college within the university.  At my own alma mater, I was enrolled in the School of Education and wanted to double major in a field which was in a different college.  My university has a policy against dual degrees from multiple colleges within the university.  In the end, I was allowed to double major but not earn a degree for both.  So while I completed a double major, I can only say I have a degree in Education.

From the forum posts, it's easy to get caught up in the discussion and think that you need a 4.0, a 320 GRE score, and 300 volunteer hours before the age of 12 to even stand a chance at grad school.  The reality is, that's just not true.  Very few people come close to meeting that fictionalized ideal set of numbers that we think we need to be, yet are still admitted into grad school and become fantastic clinicians and researchers.  Even if you have excellent numbers, if you can't show the committee WHY they should choose you, you may be denied.  Focus on being a person  with a unique story instead of a set of numbers.

Edited by lexical_gap
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  • 1 month later...

I also had a similar experience in "taking the scenic route." I was originally a foreign language teacher and then later decided that teaching was just not fulfilling. It did give me a significant amount of preparation for working as an SLP, which I am very thankful for, but I feel like I went into it blindly. My one piece of advice would be to talk to some current teachers about what they typically do during the week and how they feel about their jobs. Talk to current SLPs too! Evaluate what you really want in your career. See if you can shadow people involved in both positions. I am 10x happier as an SLP and I especially love the diversity of work environments. I felt a bit "trapped" as a teacher. I currently work in a school but I know that if I ever need a change, my degree will have prepared me for many other options out there! 

***Check out our NEW web site for future SLPs! http://www.futureslp.com. Like us on Facebook and help grow this community as a place to share experiences and find information and support while navigating the undergrad and graduate world of communication sciences and disorders! ***

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