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Questions for SLP Grad students from a HS mom


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Hi everyone, I hope I am not intruding here but I have a few questions about SLP that only those who have gone through the undergrad programs can answer. My daughter is a high school junior who is very interested in a career in SLP. She is a good student with a 3.8 GPA (honors and AP courses in high school), we are awaiting her ACT scores from October's test. We live in NJ, she is looking at colleges, for the most part, on the east coast and knows for sure she does not want to stay at home.

I am hoping that you guys wouldn't mind taking a minute or two to answer some questions that both she and I have.

1. Is she better off going to a college where they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees in SLP so that she can, hopefully, just stay in one place for all 6 years?

2. Would anyone recommend an accelerated 5 year program such as what is offered at Boston University?

3. Does it really matter where you do your undergrad as long as you excel at whatever school you chose to go to??? 

4. Does a big name school such as University of Virginia or NYU really mean that much in this profession?

5. If you could go back to your senior year in high school is there anything different that you would do as far as applying to undergrad schools knowing what you know now about the education process for SLP?

6. Is there any advice you can give her based on your college experiences in SLP?

 

Thank you in advance, and again, sorry for the intrusion :)

 

 

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Hi there! I'm not a grad student (yet) but I can answer a few of your questions.

1. I would suggest she major in communication disorders because it makes applying to grad school much easier as you don't have to take any extra classes. That being said, there's no reason to stay at the same school for undergrad and grad unless she wants to.

2. I don't know anything about this one, sorry!

3. Where she goes to undergrad doesn't matter one bit as long as she does well in her classes and get involved in stuff she enjoys!

4. Again, where you go to grad school doesn't really matter as long as it's accredited by ASHA. Sometimes the "big name" schools have "worse" programs because the class sizes are so big and you don't get as much individualized attention. Employers only care that you're certified, where you got your degree doesn't matter.

5. Pick a school that has a CSD/SLP major! I didn't know about SLP until my junior year of college and my school didn't offer that major, so I'm taking this year to take all the prerequisite classes. If she knows she wants to become an SLP definitely find a school that offers that undergrad major.

6. Volunteer/shadow as many SLPs as you can! Sometimes it can be hard to get your foot in the door to do this but still try! You never know for sure if you'll like a certain profession until you see it in action. Volunteering with an SLP helped reassure that this was the right path for me.

Good luck!

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Hello I am coming from a post-baccalaureate perspective so feel free to use a genuine undergrad's experience over mine but I am classmates with a lot of them and it seems we are in similar situations so here is what I can offer you:

1) No not unless the school has a definite history of preferring their own students for their Master's program.  Building relationships with the professors that are reading graduate applications is always a plus, but some other schools want a more diverse graduate program and make a point to select students from other states or programs.  Plus her interests may change and some programs have a stronger medical focus or school focus so deciding her future graduate program at this point may be premature.

2) As someone who graduated went out in the real world for a few years and came back I will just say this program is very intense compared to other majors.  It is drastically different experience from my undergraduate experience and I would imagine an accelerated program is going to be even more strenuous.  So I guess it depends on her personality...

3&4) No, not in my opinion the demand for SLP's supercedes name recognition.  It isn't like law school where name recognition opens more job opportunities.  If you have good grades that is what will open up the doors.

5) This is where a different perspective comes in...I would not have been prepared to start this journey at age 17.  I think it might be a good idea to explore all her options her freshman year of college instead of locking into a program that will takeover a lot of her time and energy.  That being said everybody is different so maybe just do more observing in different areas and seeing if she loves all aspects of the jobs maybe going to a local college and talking to current students or academic advisors in the programs to get a realistic picture of what the next 4 years of college will look like.  

6) Know why you want to do this and what you are getting into :) it's a great field but never underestimate the work and time it takes to get into graduate school.

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I just want to say in regards to #s 2 and 5, I wish I had chosen an accelerated program or at least a combined undergrad and masters. If she finds this program intense, it will be intense whether grad schools guaranteed or not. I would check into GPA requirements for the programs but I imagine they wouldn't be extremely high. It's more likely she'll actually be able to enjoy her undergrad if she isn't stressed about getting into grad school the entire time.

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5 hours ago, cmm28 said:

 

6. Volunteer/shadow as many SLPs as you can! Sometimes it can be hard to get your foot in the door to do this but still try! You never know for sure if you'll like a certain profession until you see it in action. Volunteering with an SLP helped reassure that this was the right path for me.

Good luck!

So true!  The stress (at least in my experience and classmates) is entirely about maintaining grades for graduate school applications.  So this could be right, maybe an accelerated program could be less stressful depending on what those GPA requirements are.

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Some grad schools definitely favor their own undergrads (the Cal States are notorious for this) while others actually have much better acceptance rates for out-of-field applicants than in-field ones. I'm taking classes towards a 2nd BA and was told by the head of one of my target schools that their acceptance rate for non-CSD is quadruple that of CSD majors so I should apply with only a few CSD credits rather than waiting until I finish.

The one thing about majoring in a non-CSD field like psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, etc. is that it will add a year to the master's. So there's a definite financial benefit to doing the CSD major undergrad. But the tradeoff is that she'd be competing in a much bigger applicant pool and it's that much harder to stand out from the crowd.

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Thank you so much everyone for your input. We are just at the point now of visiting colleges and trying to see where she will apply next fall. We have so far seen NYU (just because we were in the area) and are scheduled to see Towson next week. We plan to see Boston University, Univ of Maryland  and George Washington University over the winter and some Florida schools in the spring. If anyone has any recommendations for undergrad on the east coast we would love to hear about them! She is a focused student but very social so is looking for a medium-large school that offers many majors just in case she changes her mind about SLP.

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I may have a different perspective than those above - I am currently in grad school and did not major in SLP in my undergrad! I went to Emory in Atlanta, GA - it's an amazing school with a ton of opportunities, so your daughter should definitely check it out! 

In regards to your questions: 

1. There's really no reason to stay the same place for all 6 years. Even though I loved, loved my undergrad experience, I was ready to move onto a new scene after those 4 years. There's something about switching schools and environments that is important, I feel, for switching from an undergrad to a graduate student mentality. 

2. I've heard a lot of great things about accelerated programs, and if your daughter is sure that she wants to be an SLP, then that's a great choice! She may change her mind once she gets into undergrad (most undergrads do! - I definitely did!), so if it turns out that she hates SLP, there's a chance that getting out of that accelerated program would be difficult. That's the only reason I would not recommend it. 

3. Nope, undergrad doesn't matter too much, as long as you excel and are involved. Grad schools really look at you as whole person, not just the university name on your transcript. That being said - going to a larger school or a school that is well-known with a lot of connections will absolutely benefit your daughter. The opportunities afforded students at "better" schools can impact her overall education and experience. But, there are also smaller, less well-known universities that are deeply involved in their communities and may have many of the same opportunities. The biggest thing is that your daughter feels comfortable wherever she decides, and getting the best experience possible will take care of itself. 

4. Big name schools are important if you want to pursue research heavily or continue onto a doctorate. Other than that... they don't matter too much. 

5. Nope - nothing I would do different. I went to an undergrad school that I adore, and even though it didn't have the SLP major (I majored in Psych, Linguistics, and Spanish), I learned a ton and would say I have an advantage in some of my grad school classes now, because of my varied background. My lack of experience regarding SLP courses has not affected my graduate education in any way, except for limiting the amount of grad schools that I applied to (some will not take out-of-field students). I am now at UT Dallas, and it's a great program, and leveling has not been difficult at all. 

6. The only advice I would give is not to be afraid to explore other things. Even if she has her mind dead-set on being an SLP, she should take at least one course in a completely different field just to broaden her horizons and explore something different. I went into undergrad thinking I was going to study neuroscience, then I took a linguistics course, and ended up majoring in it. You never know what may happen! 

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Regard #3&4– as others have said, the name really only matters if you want to pursue a PhD (and possibly not even then). Thus, my answer is to follow the money. Since attending NYU doesn't give you a leg up, you are better off considering which schools will leave you with the least debt. SLPs are not guaranteed higher salaries, so you might as well make it easy on yourself.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/5/2015 at 6:56 PM, slpmom said:

Hi everyone, I hope I am not intruding here but I have a few questions about SLP that only those who have gone through the undergrad programs can answer. My daughter is a high school junior who is very interested in a career in SLP. She is a good student with a 3.8 GPA (honors and AP courses in high school), we are awaiting her ACT scores from October's test. We live in NJ, she is looking at colleges, for the most part, on the east coast and knows for sure she does not want to stay at home.

I am hoping that you guys wouldn't mind taking a minute or two to answer some questions that both she and I have.

1. Is she better off going to a college where they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees in SLP so that she can, hopefully, just stay in one place for all 6 years?

2. Would anyone recommend an accelerated 5 year program such as what is offered at Boston University?

3. Does it really matter where you do your undergrad as long as you excel at whatever school you chose to go to??? 

4. Does a big name school such as University of Virginia or NYU really mean that much in this profession?

5. If you could go back to your senior year in high school is there anything different that you would do as far as applying to undergrad schools knowing what you know now about the education process for SLP?

6. Is there any advice you can give her based on your college experiences in SLP?

 

Thank you in advance, and again, sorry for the intrusion :)

 

 

3

I don't know If you will check this again, but I figured I'd answer in case you do look at it periodically. I am currently at Stockton University in NJ and will be graduating this upcoming Fall. I went to community college first and then headed to Stockton. 

 

1. Is she better off going to a college where they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees in SLP so that she can, hopefully, just stay in one place for all 6 years?

While this would be helpful, not every school prefers their students over others. There are some graduate schools that do not like other schools for example from what I've heard Temple and Montclair are not fans of Stockton's students. 

 

2. Would anyone recommend an accelerated 5 year program such as what is offered at Boston University?

I would recommend any 5 year program first and foremost. Graduate school is difficult to get into for even the perfect student and being immediately admitted is the greatest opportunity she can have. I personally wish I would have looked into that when I was in high school as it would have saved me the current stress I am going through wondering if I'll get in. 

 

3. Does it really matter where you do your undergrad as long as you excel at whatever school you chose to go to??? 

It matters in the sense of what the program is like, but I don't believe graduate schools care about big name universities over a regular state school. 

 

4. Does a big name school such as University of Virginia or NYU really mean that much in this profession?

Big names do not mean anything in this profession, getting into graduate school and the praxis are the most important. 

 

5. If you could go back to your senior year in high school is there anything different that you would do as far as applying to undergrad schools knowing what you know now about the education process for SLP?

If I could go back to senior year (pretending I had your daughters GPA), I would make sure that I volunteered many places, shadowed SLP's if I could, and or worked in the disability community in any way possible. 

 

6. Is there any advice you can give her based on your college experiences in SLP?

My advice is to make sure she goes to a school that she loves and gets involved. The more she takes pride in her school the better she will do. Get leadership positions, shadow SLP's early, make connections with every professor whether they are for a core class or not, this will help when it comes to recommendations. Start studying for the GRE early and also the most important that I wish I would have known is save up about $2,000 just for graduate school apps, GRE's, Grad school open house visits, and any other expense. They are awfully expensive, and that limits many chances when applying to graduate schools. 

 

 

If you have any other questions please feel free to reply. I will do my best to help! (:

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As the mother of a graduating college senior, right now my daughter wishes she had accepted UPitt's undergrad admission.  At that time, a student with a high ACT or SAT score was guaranteed admission to their grad program if they maintained a good GPA.  Taking the GRE and going through grad school admission process is stressful.  If she is eligible for a similar program it may be worth looking into.

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Thanks for the additional information!!!! I am thinking/hoping that she will apply to one of the 5 year programs or something where she is guaranteed grad school admission if she maintains a specific gpa. She will be applying to the Emerson College summer Communications Disorders program which should give her a good glimpse as to what to expect in that major in an academic setting. I wish I could get her to shadow someone now or volunteer but she plays a sport that occupies a ton of her time and with school and social stuff she is very busy. Thanks again for all the info!!!

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Hi! I actually just graduated last week (a semester early) from my undergrad school for Communication Disorders, and am attending a different school next month for my Masters in Communication Disorders (I've been accepted for Spring 2016 admission), so I wanted to give you some information too :). I noticed you're from New Jersey, and I'm from New York, which is also where I attended my undergraduate college.

1. I think it's important to focus on undergrad for now, and to find a school/location you like. While I enjoyed my undergrad college, it was located in a more rural location, and I really wanted to attend a school in a more urbanized setting for graduate school to increase opportunities. 

2. I have recently started hearing more about the accelerated programs, and they definitely seem like a great option, if you can get accepted. I believe Hofstra University and University of Central Florida have instituted these programs too. While the program may be more intense, if you can handle the academics, it'll be worth it, and you'll save money by not attending school for an extra year, and graduate school application fees.

3. Since ASHA regulates what the undergrad programs need to teach, most students should come out with a solid foundation of skills. I believe what really differs more is the school's access to electives and clinic options at the undergrad level. My undergrad university did not offer many clinical opportunities for undergrads due to limited spots; however, I was fortunate to do clinic for a semester. 

4. see above answer^

5. If I could go back to my senior year of high school, perhaps, I would have applied to some more accelerated programs; however, I did attend an in-state college for my undergraduate, which saved me money, in addition to graduating a semester early, so I do not regret anything.

6. Make sure to maintain a high GPA starting your first semester!! This can't be stressed enough. Grad school is becoming super competitive, and it can really offset lower GRE scores for admission. Also, try to get some clinical and volunteer experiences with populations of interest (pediatrics, geriatrics, etc). Even if it's at a camp, and not related to Speech Pathology, it's still great experience to have!

Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions :).

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On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

1. Is she better off going to a college where they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees in SLP so that she can, hopefully, just stay in one place for all 6 years?

I personally think it would be a good idea for the school to have both programs because undergrad may be able to access some of the things grad schools may offer.  My school for example had an on-campus clinic that allowed the undergraduates to observe some of the sessions for an assignment.  We had a program that prepared undergraduates to become SLPAs by working at the on-campus site that is typically only available for grad students.  This probably varies by the program, so you likely want to do your research on each program you may be interested in or talk to the undergraduates there and see what their like about the program.    

However, you may want to ask your daughter if she wants to attend the same program for all 6 years.  She may want to do that now, but she might change her mind the closer she is to finishing her Bachelor's degree.  I have recently finished my undergraduate program and many of the students I've talk to are applying to other schools because it's very hard to get into our graduate program (they are notorious for favoring their undergrads, but still difficult to get in).  Changing programs isn't so bad either since you get exposed to different people with different experience.    

On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

2. Would anyone recommend an accelerated 5 year program such as what is offered at Boston University?

If your daughter knows for sure that she wants to stay in the same place for all 6 years, then I recommend researching schools that have an SLP acceleration program.  My school wasn't an accelerated program, so I don't have any experience of programs like that.      

On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

3. Does it really matter where you do your undergrad as long as you excel at whatever school you chose to go to???

No. 

On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

4. Does a big name school such as University of Virginia or NYU really mean that much in this profession?

Not really.  As long as she graduates and does her CFY along with passing the Praxis exam for her CCC, then it really doesn't mean much. 

On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

5. If you could go back to your senior year in high school is there anything different that you would do as far as applying to undergrad schools knowing what you know now about the education process for SLP?

Well, I didn't know about the field as a high schooler.  I can't say there is anything I would want to change either because I just happened to apply and be accepted into a school that had a good SLP program, despite not knowing that it would someday become my dream career.  I took enough AP courses to earn a good chunk of my General Ed credit in college, so I am pretty satisfied on how I did for high school.   

On 11/5/2015 at 3:56 PM, slpmom said:

6. Is there any advice you can give her based on your college experiences in SLP?

 Tell your daughter to make sure she has a high gpa and to be active in clubs or volunteering activities related to speech pathology.  Shadowing SLPs at different settings could be a great place to start and let her be exposed to working with professionals. 

As I said before, my undergrad program had a class that prepared you to become a certified SLPA in the state.  The requirements to become a SLPA varies by the state, but it wouldn't hurt for her to try to go for something similar if the state offers it.  Another option is that maybe she can look into ABA training since I'm sure it looks good on a resume for work experience and it relates to the career.  Doing research is another bonus that some graduate schools look for, especially the ones that place emphasis on research.  Your daughter should also try to keep in touch with her professors in the program so that they can write letters of recommendation for her in the future. 

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Thanks everyone for the additional information. We are headed up to Boston in a few weeks to see BU, Northeastern and Emerson. She ended up getting a 30 on her ACT so we have a better idea of what schools we should be looking at. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
9 hours ago, NorcalSLP said:

I'm sure you know this but in case you do not, Northeastern also has an accelerated 5 year bs/ms program. 

Does it??? I did not see anything on their website about it. It looks like they do not have the undergrad program any more just the grad program, maybe I am not seeing it???? 

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If they stopped having one it was recently, as they had an accel program as of a couple years ago. I'd have your daughter email the head of the program to ask. In doing a quick search it appears they no longer are accepting new freshmen into the undergrad major (http://www.northeastern.edu/bouve/csd/programs/bs/) but I would still recommend your daughter email dr book to see if there is at least a minor or if the accel program still exists (I doubt it as it looks like they no longer have a bs but it's worth checking). northeastern does not require a ton of pre reques for their grad program so it's possible that they still offer those as a minor for undergrads. 

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8 hours ago, NorcalSLP said:

If they stopped having one it was recently, as they had an accel program as of a couple years ago. I'd have your daughter email the head of the program to ask. In doing a quick search it appears they no longer are accepting new freshmen into the undergrad major (http://www.northeastern.edu/bouve/csd/programs/bs/) but I would still recommend your daughter email dr book to see if there is at least a minor or if the accel program still exists (I doubt it as it looks like they no longer have a bs but it's worth checking). northeastern does not require a ton of pre reques for their grad program so it's possible that they still offer those as a minor for undergrads. 

I have both emailed and called Dr Book and have not received a reply. I have also called student services for health/science and they do not know anything. I am going to assume based on what is says on the website that they no longer offer the accelerated program. Too bad because I know they give more money than BU does and I think she would have a better chance getting in there as well. Thanks for your help!

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On 11/5/2015 at 5:56 PM, slpmom said:

Hi everyone, I hope I am not intruding here but I have a few questions about SLP that only those who have gone through the undergrad programs can answer. My daughter is a high school junior who is very interested in a career in SLP. She is a good student with a 3.8 GPA (honors and AP courses in high school), we are awaiting her ACT scores from October's test. We live in NJ, she is looking at colleges, for the most part, on the east coast and knows for sure she does not want to stay at home.

I am hoping that you guys wouldn't mind taking a minute or two to answer some questions that both she and I have.

1. Is she better off going to a college where they offer both undergrad and graduate degrees in SLP so that she can, hopefully, just stay in one place for all 6 years?

This depends a lot on your daughter. If she likes her undergrad and does well there - she should consider staying. Most people though are ready for something new after 4-years in the same school. Either way, she'll have to go through the rigorous application process. 

2. Would anyone recommend an accelerated 5 year program such as what is offered at Boston University?

I think you'd have to ask BU about the benefits of the program. Personally, I'd say no. 

3. Does it really matter where you do your undergrad as long as you excel at whatever school you chose to go to??? 

I don't think so. I think what might matter are the quality of the faculty and the connections of those faculty. When you're visiting SHS programs at undergrads, you an ask about how many of their students go on to a masters - they should have those numbers. 

4. Does a big name school such as University of Virginia or NYU really mean that much in this profession?

I've talked with several practitioners and everyone seems to agree that where you get your degree doesn't matter as long as they're accredited and can get you your CCC. It might have an impact if you want to later do a PhD... but not a huge one. 

5. If you could go back to your senior year in high school is there anything different that you would do as far as applying to undergrad schools knowing what you know now about the education process for SLP?

I would maybe take a few more science classes. Other than that - no. Enjoy the end of high school, and get good grades. Study something you enjoy during undergrad (people with degrees in other areas can get into a masters in SLP program too!)

6. Is there any advice you can give her based on your college experiences in SLP?

I did my undergrad in Spanish with minors in Education and Linguistics. It has let me earn a Fulbright Fellowship and be able to teach abroad for several years. Don't be afraid to try something unique. 

Thank you in advance, and again, sorry for the intrusion :)

 

 

 

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