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Hi Everyone, 

I have been accepted to several schools, a couple are close to home, but not highly ranked (#120-140), and the others are out of state, and higher rank (Top 30). How heavily should I weigh school ranking into my decision? Does it really affect job prospects upon graduation or salary? 

Thanks! 

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So long as the school is accredited by ASHA, you will find a CF position SOMEWHERE. But where rankings come into play somewhat is where that is. CF's can be competitive, especially if you want a higher-paying one in a major metro area. I'd like to maybe work for a cochlear implant center and I think a higher-ranked school like Vanderbilt or UNC-Chapel Hill would open more doors than lower tier schools that also have a deaf & hard-of-hearing specialty track like University of Southern Mississippi.

Do you know specifically what type of job you're looking for after you get your master's?

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Your externship matters, the rotations you do matter and what you get yourself into. A degree will be a degree, its about networking and making sure you have the adequate experience, you'll just have to work a bit harder to make those connections but it can be done. I would say ranking matters if you're planning on getting a PhD. Otherwise you're going to get a job, its just like any degree. If you're pursuing a higher education it matters, otherwise your experience , your interview where you worked will matter. 

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Find reputation of the school from current or past grads. Their opinions will mean so much more than the ranking. And future employers will not likely take it into account unless it's not accredited. 

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2 hours ago, HopefulSLP123 said:

Thanks for your response! I am interested in working in the hospital setting with stroke and TBI victims.

Which schools are you considering? I am interested in the exact same thing (outpatient rehab for stroke and TBI survivors).

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@HopefulSLP123 I am also interested in working in the same population and am in the same dilemma. I have been accepted to MGH IHP in Boston and NY Medical College. MGH IHP has a much higher ranking (top 10) according to the most updated rankings and NYMC is #53. However, NYMC seems to have more of a medically focused curriculum. I would also like to know how much rankings matter. Not sure if it's different depending on the population we want to work with, since medical CFY's are harder to find. 

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I've been told by two SLPS (one graduated ~10 years ago from MGH and one graduated 20+ years ago from Penn State, for whatever the time difference and ranking difference is worth...) that program ranking doesn't matter because as long as ASHA certifies the program then you're learning the same material as the other programs. The difference is in the program's focus areas and if that fits what you want to do!

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6 hours ago, Rorororosy said:

Your externship matters, the rotations you do matter and what you get yourself into. A degree will be a degree, its about networking and making sure you have the adequate experience, you'll just have to work a bit harder to make those connections but it can be done. I would say ranking matters if you're planning on getting a PhD. Otherwise you're going to get a job, its just like any degree. If you're pursuing a higher education it matters, otherwise your experience , your interview where you worked will matter. 

With regard to getting a PhD, I can offer my story. I went to a low-ranked school for my masters but I've been accepted to two top-5 speech-language-hearing sciences PhD programs. I think what made the difference for me were the strong connections I had with professors writing me letters and the fact that I wrote a thesis. So, don't despair if you plan on academia but pursue a masters at less prestigious institution. 

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This is a hard question to answer because I think it really just depends. As others have said, connections that you make are important in getting a good CF and future job. As @glueear mentioned, externships are very important, especially if you are placed in a facility that often hires their new staff from their extern pool. However, I think it's good to keep in mind that, just like with undergrad, sometimes it pays off to go to a top-ranked school with a big name that is well-known in the field. While it may very well be true that employers do not pay as much attention to the News&World rankings specifically, they most likely have experience with students from a variety of schools and will have some preconceived notions about which schools produce better SLPs than others. In the end, do what feels right for you, choose the school that you think will benefit you the most in terms of concentration areas and future career opportunities. 

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15 hours ago, glueear said:

With regard to getting a PhD, I can offer my story. I went to a low-ranked school for my masters but I've been accepted to two top-5 speech-language-hearing sciences PhD programs. I think what made the difference for me were the strong connections I had with professors writing me letters and the fact that I wrote a thesis. So, don't despair if you plan on academia but pursue a masters at less prestigious institution. 

That is amazing feedback! I think it matters what you do with the experience and who you make connections with :)

 

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The extremely high need for qualified PhD level professionals in our field makes the ranking of your masters program not matter much (I assume I'm not perusing a PhD) . As glueear it's more about what you do/the connections and relationships you develop.

 

The same is true for getting a CF. I went to a school in a large metro area that was (while still top 40 at the time, a little higher now) the lowest ranked of the other schools in the area. But people in my cohort still got highly competitive medical placements over students in the other programs because they were the most qualified candidates. One of my friends who got a highly competitive clinical placements went on to get her CF in a hospital (in acute care no less). Make sure your program can get you solid externship experience. I don't think ASHA requires a medical internship (I think the 'adult' hours can be satisfied by working at a private clinic with adults who are many years post stroke, have cochlear implants etc). If you are interested in medical speech pathology, ask your program about the medical clinical placements available. 

 

Don't spend $$$ on rank alone. It likely won't pay off in the end.  Your decision should be based on a lot of different things (cost, program philosophy/fit,  research opportunities if you were interested in them, externship availability) but not ranking.

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All accredited programs lead to the same certification and professional qualification. Smart networking and good soft skills will lead to many great job opportunities after graduation. In the long-term in the field of SLP, I don´t think rankings correspond to higher earnings or better job opportunities. 

As far as PhD´s are concerned, I also think that program rankings don´t have much impact. The field isn´t that big at the PhD level - what is much more important are strong recommendations from professors and solid research experience. Think about it: If you want to specialize enough to earn a PhD there are probably only a handful of other experts on that topic. They are the same people who will be selecting the future PhD students in their field. Are they going to care what the Princeton Review says about a program or are they going to call their buddy Dr. So-and-So / former thesis advisor / colleague and ask what kind of candidate you are? 

Frankly, I think that in many fields "rankings" are generally meaningless numbers that universities fight for to boost ego, increase application pools, and use to convince students that high tuition prices are worth it. 

Also, I apologize if that was a bit of a rant at the end. 

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23 hours ago, glueear said:

With regard to getting a PhD, I can offer my story. I went to a low-ranked school for my masters but I've been accepted to two top-5 speech-language-hearing sciences PhD programs. I think what made the difference for me were the strong connections I had with professors writing me letters and the fact that I wrote a thesis. So, don't despair if you plan on academia but pursue a masters at less prestigious institution. 

I think this is such a great anecdote! Thanks for sharing :) 

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I am curious about this as well.  What goes into a ranking?

For my undergrad, I went to a top ranked school, and honestly after going from there to a much lower ranked school for my post-bacc, I feel there is a reason why schools have the reputations they do.  However, with speech-language pathology, I'm not so sure it will make as much of a difference.  I'm mainly concerned with the quality of the faculty and their ability to teach and mentor students.

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