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carathestudent

I don't have a BS in SLP. What are my chances for acceptance into grad school?

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Hi.

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and have no SLP experience. I've been doing a lot of research lately and see there are many "leveler" programs that I can apply for to start my education towards becoming an SLP. I'm looking at NAU, U of A, and St. Cloud.... 

I'm really worried about how my application will stand against someone who has much more experience in the field than me.

My GPA is 3.9... I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I know my scores need to be stellar. I feel like my Statement of Purpose will be pretty strong, despite my lack of experience in the field. I was in a coma for 3 months and had to undergo physical, speech, and occupation therapy afterwards... so that's kind of my angle, as I do want to help others who find themselves in this life changing situation.

Anyways, what do you think my chances are of being accepted into a program? Do you think it's a better idea if I study to become an SLPA before applying to a program and why? I've considered this, but I'm not sure how much extra time it'll take to go from SLPA to SLP, as opposed to just jumping in headfirst and working towards SLP (why not just go for the gold?). And, do you have any other advice for me?

Thank you so much for your thoughts!!!!!

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Look into GWU post bacc program, its awesome you get those courses that you have to have and you get merged into their first year class. I think looking at programs like this and doing some observation hours, and getting the experience through volunteering and getting good LOR can make you a competitive applicant. 

Good luck! 

 

 

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Yeah, I would say instead of SLPA do a post-bacc and lots of observing/volunteering. You could apply to leveling grad programs and post-bacc programs at the same time, just to give you a back-up if you don't get into a grad program right away. 

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Hello! My biggest suggestion would be to do a post bacc and get as many prereqs in as you can. Doing well in these courses show that you can handle the material you'll see in the field. Having a good GRE score is always a plus as well. The SOP is where you get to really show why the school should choose to admit you, so certainly spend a lot of time on that as well. I applied to 5 schools as an out of field applicant and was accepted to 2 schools, top tier wait listed to 2 other schools and rejected from 1. I think you'll be able to get in as well! Good luck :)

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You could definitely go the post-bacc route. Taking a few prereqs would prove your interest in the field to admissions committees. I'm out-of field with minimal experience (only about 25 observation hours) but I'm a foreign language major and spent a year and a half working with international students abroad, so I think that really helped me stand out. I based my entire application on that and related it back to SLP. So I primarily applied to schools that accept applicants without the background and just add on another semester or year. Those schools tend to be the most competitive, but I think it's ideal to get your whole degree done in one place. When I started this process, I thought I'd be lucky to get into one school, but I ended up having my pick of several of my top choices. I think being out-of-field is actually an advantage at some schools because it makes you stand out from the crowd. Good luck!!!

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New York Medical College doesn't require any SLP prerequisites to be accepted and start their program and you graduate in 21 months like everyone else - perhaps there are other schools like NYMC.

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I’ll be starting the Post-Bac phase of the SLP program at Duquesne this upcoming fall. I was an out-of-field applicant too (French and Philosophy) and so was fairly limited by where I could apply. Duquesne’s setup is nice since it allows Post-Bac students to automatically matriculate to the grad program after successful completion of required coursework. Other Post-Bac programs either do not offer a graduate level or ask students to re-apply to the university’s grad program (which is a hassle I didn’t want to endure twice haha). 

In any case, I think you should apply directly to programs that are open to those without an undergraduate degree in CSD or dive into some leveling courses instead of becoming an SLPA. 

Edited by pdelacru
.

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I'm going to echo what many have said and say apply to post bacc programs. Some of the post bacc programs are competitive entry (you need a good GPA, letters of rec etc) some are not (fill out a short application, provide proof of graduation from college and you're in provided they still have space). Look for a program with a good number of classes (I suggest figuring out what grad school you may want to go to, what prerecs they require and finding a post bacc from there but that takes a lot of work). But I'd also suggest tossing in some applications to extended masters (no background needed) programs. May as well, you never know what could happen. But don't limit yourself to just schools that don't require a background or you may be applying twice without having done much to improve your application in the meantime. 

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I am in a similar situation and got accepted into four programs (including a top ranked one) without the post-bacc option. I don´t have time for a long response now, but if I don´t answer in in a day or two send me a personal message. 

You can do it! 

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@carathestudent As an out-of-fielder who just completed the Fall 2016 season, I would say that you should definitely apply to leveler programs if you have a strong GPA and GRE scores. This blog often makes it seem like the only route is post bacc and that leveler programs are impossible to get into but that's definitely not true. My fiance and I are both out of field students with zero direct SLP experience. We both had good GPAs and great GRE scores and we had experience working with children through internships but neither of our experiences related to SLP. In our personal statements we found ways to talk about how our experiences in our internships with children could help us with the SLP program but all of the schools we applied to knew we didn't have direct experience. Despite all this, we both got into pretty much all of our schools. My fiance has gotten into 5/6 and is still waiting on one and I've gotten into 5/6 and waitlisted to one, and we both got assistantship offers to multiple schools. I know a lot of posts on this site make it seem like you have to do a post bacc because leveler programs are super hard to get into, but don't completely dismiss it. Look into the leveler programs and find those that work for you and compare your stats to the people who get into that school. I think a post bacc program or two might be a good idea as a backup but it's completely possible to get into a leveling program without direct experience so long as you have good GPA, GRE and extracurriculars so stay positive!

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9 hours ago, carathestudent said:

Hi.

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and have no SLP experience. I've been doing a lot of research lately and see there are many "leveler" programs that I can apply for to start my education towards becoming an SLP. I'm looking at NAU, U of A, and St. Cloud.... 

I'm really worried about how my application will stand against someone who has much more experience in the field than me.

My GPA is 3.9... I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I know my scores need to be stellar. I feel like my Statement of Purpose will be pretty strong, despite my lack of experience in the field. I was in a coma for 3 months and had to undergo physical, speech, and occupation therapy afterwards... so that's kind of my angle, as I do want to help others who find themselves in this life changing situation.

Anyways, what do you think my chances are of being accepted into a program? Do you think it's a better idea if I study to become an SLPA before applying to a program and why? I've considered this, but I'm not sure how much extra time it'll take to go from SLPA to SLP, as opposed to just jumping in headfirst and working towards SLP (why not just go for the gold?). And, do you have any other advice for me?

Thank you so much for your thoughts!!!!!

I agree with @RMott that you do not need a post-bacc. I got into four-leveling master programs (including U of A) where I do not have to reapply for admission to the masters after finishing the pre-reqs, with a 3.52 GPA and a V160, Q155, and AW4.5. I had 25 hours of observation of a bilingual SLP (no letter of rec or anything though, just mention of it in my SOP). And I got full funding at one of the programs. I´m not trying to be vain, just let you know that you can do it without the time and $$$ of a post-bacc. 

If you have strong numbers (they don´t even have to be stellar - mine weren´t) and you can write a really strong SOP you have a good chance. I don´t think you need experience as an SLPA - in fact, it is not really a "stand out" experience that will help your application jump out. It doesn´t even seem like you´ll need observation hours given your personal introduction to the field, but they might not be a bad if you have time. 

Something else I did to sort of "hedge my bets" was enrolling in USU´s 2nd degree program. I had finished three courses when I applied (which also let me apply to even more leveling programs). I think this boosted my GPA and demonstrated my strong interest. Plus, if I hadn´t gone in I would already be started on Post-Bacc-Plan-B for the next year. Since I did get in, I have 3 less classes to take in my leveling track. Does that make sense? I´m not sure if I´m explaining it clearly. 

One other thing that I think helped me was really focusing my application and my SOP. I only applied to schools with leveling programs (obviously) and bilingual emphasis. I learned in depth about how each program was unique and the interests of the professors in the dept. I tried to include those things in my SOP and my interview. 

Finally, don´t underestimate the importance of good letters of rec. You should be cultivating those relationships now. Pick your recommenders wisely and strategically. 

I hope all that made sense and was at least a bit helpful. I´ve got more of my ramblings on my blog if you´d like to look them over. 

Best of luck! 

 

 

 

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You probably CANNOT work as a SLPA unless you have a bachelor's in CSD (1st or 2nd). Technically my state allows those who complete an Associate's in SLPA from one of the community colleges that offer the major to get a SLPA license. But from what I've heard, there are so many SLPA's who have the bachelor's in CSD that it is nearly impossible for the AA-only SLPA's to find a job. Most of them wind up working as special ed para's or Applied Behavioral Analysis interventionists while finishing up the bachelor's.

I'm doing the SLPA program concurrently with my 2nd bachelor's so that I'll have the option of working as a SLPA during grad school or while re-applying. Some schools will even hire grad students as a SLP on waiver, and I've heard that they prefer licensed SLPA's for this. But I'm not sure yet whether this is the route I want to go. So much is still so TBD- where I can get placed for my SLPA fieldwork, where I might get accepted to grad school, what scholarships I might receive to help offset attending an in-person master's, etc.

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2 hours ago, RMott said:

@carathestudent As an out-of-fielder who just completed the Fall 2016 season, I would say that you should definitely apply to leveler programs if you have a strong GPA and GRE scores. This blog often makes it seem like the only route is post bacc and that leveler programs are impossible to get into but that's definitely not true. My fiance and I are both out of field students with zero direct SLP experience. We both had good GPAs and great GRE scores and we had experience working with children through internships but neither of our experiences related to SLP. In our personal statements we found ways to talk about how our experiences in our internships with children could help us with the SLP program but all of the schools we applied to knew we didn't have direct experience. Despite all this, we both got into pretty much all of our schools. My fiance has gotten into 5/6 and is still waiting on one and I've gotten into 5/6 and waitlisted to one, and we both got assistantship offers to multiple schools. I know a lot of posts on this site make it seem like you have to do a post bacc because leveler programs are super hard to get into, but don't completely dismiss it. Look into the leveler programs and find those that work for you and compare your stats to the people who get into that school. I think a post bacc program or two might be a good idea as a backup but it's completely possible to get into a leveling program without direct experience so long as you have good GPA, GRE and extracurriculars so stay positive!

I always thought the terms “Post-Bacc” and “leveling” were used interchangeably (both of which are distinct from earning a 2nd bachelor’s degree). In my program, they phrase it as the Pre-Professional (in which recent grads take the leveling courses) and Professional phases, which is made a little more confusing since DU has a 5 year combined SLP undergrad/grad program so technically I’ll be a Post-Bacc student as well as a 3rd year ^_^ (reliving junior year I suppose haha). 

Edited by pdelacru
.

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To reiterate what others have said, applying to leveling programs is definitely a good idea. I only applied to 3-year programs because I didn't want to go through the headache of reapplying and it worked out well for me as well as others here. You just have to make it clear in your statement of purpose why you're entering this field as opposed to, say, any other field. Some backgrounds are easier to relate than others. I studied linguistics/cognitive science for example, so there was a lot of overlap.

What I will say is that not all leveling programs are the same. Some differ in the number of prereqs they require you to have (I think Chapel Hill really wants out of field students to have a majority of prereqs under their belt), some will only accept a small handful per cohort (whereas schools like UVA will have two separate tracks for 2 and 3-year students), and programs can differ in the length of study as well as when you'd take leveling classes. For example, I'm pretty sure Emerson wants students to take prereqs over the summer term, TC similarly adds a semester, and Buffalo adds an entire year. 

Also keep in mind that programs differ in what kinds of observation hours they'll accept. One benefit of doing a post-bac is that the observation hours you'll get will be through a class. Some schools will not accept hours otherwise and you'll have to do it your first year.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me.

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I realized that I didn't answer the question about why I didn't just apply to Extended Master's programs right out of the gate. The reason is that I'm a mid-life career changer (first degree was earned in the 20th century, LOL!) and didn't have any recent academic recommendations.

I also was feeling depressed last spring about the discovery of my daughter's hearing loss and I could get started with the Utah State 2nd bachelor's and the community college SLPA courses with a LOT less lead time. I was able to enroll as a non-degree student at USU in April '15 to start in May. It took maybe a month for all the paperwork to convert from non-degree to 2nd bachelor's status. Starting school right away helped get me out of my funk because I was doing something proactive rather than just sitting around feeling sorry for myself.

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As I understood it, post-bacc refers most often to an extra year of classes without the guarantee that you will continue on in the graduate program at the school. Levelers do not need to reapply in their program or anywhere else; their program just takes longer to complete. 3-year programs are also usually covered by financial aid/federal loans since you're technically a graduate student. Options are more limited for post-bac programs.

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2 minutes ago, flapjackal said:

As I understood it, post-bacc refers most often to an extra year of classes without the guarantee that you will continue on in the graduate program at the school. Levelers do not need to reapply in their program or anywhere else; their program just takes longer to complete. 3-year programs are also usually covered by financial aid/federal loans since you're technically a graduate student. Options are more limited for post-bac programs.

Ah, that makes sense. I guess programs use them differently. DU maintains a Post-Bacc option for leveling courses and then seamless entrance into the graduate cohort (the majority of whom have already been at DU as undergrads and so only a few are from other universities). 

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(I'm not really a leveler student, but I kind of am. I got a lot of my coursework done this year as a senior, but I'm still missing a few courses. So I'm essentially a 2 year student, just with a bit of catch-up to do. I still had to stick with programs that had a leveler option, though.)

The biggest plus about a leveler program is, like others have said, that you're in the program; you won't need to reapply. And after experiencing the stress ball that is the application process, I can honestly say that I'm so glad I won't be applying again come fall. That said, I think it's to your benefit to apply to both leveling programs and post-bachs. Just to be safe, and just to be sure that you'll be enrolled in some sort of program next year. Everyone has pretty much already covered the whole post-bach v. leveler points, so I'll bring up something else that might be worth thinking about.

You won't have as many choices if you go the leveler route. I had initially wanted to apply to more Texas schools because I'm a resident there, and in-state tuition is a huge plus. I found out (after I sent the 7 free GRE scores <_<) that most Texas schools don't allow out-of-field applicants. In fact, UT Dallas (and possibly UT, though I remain unsure about that one) was the only school I could apply to for a leveling program-- it's an awesome program, yes, but it was the only one out of five schools I wanted to apply to that I qualified for. It sucks realizing that you don't qualify for most of your application list. This might not really affect you (maybe all of your top choices have a leveling option), but I just thought it might be something you'd want to consider.

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1 hour ago, racoomelon said:

(I'm not really a leveler student, but I kind of am. I got a lot of my coursework done this year as a senior, but I'm still missing a few courses. So I'm essentially a 2 year student, just with a bit of catch-up to do. I still had to stick with programs that had a leveler option, though.)

The biggest plus about a leveler program is, like others have said, that you're in the program; you won't need to reapply. And after experiencing the stress ball that is the application process, I can honestly say that I'm so glad I won't be applying again come fall. That said, I think it's to your benefit to apply to both leveling programs and post-bachs. Just to be safe, and just to be sure that you'll be enrolled in some sort of program next year. Everyone has pretty much already covered the whole post-bach v. leveler points, so I'll bring up something else that might be worth thinking about.

You won't have as many choices if you go the leveler route. I had initially wanted to apply to more Texas schools because I'm a resident there, and in-state tuition is a huge plus. I found out (after I sent the 7 free GRE scores <_<) that most Texas schools don't allow out-of-field applicants. In fact, UT Dallas (and possibly UT, though I remain unsure about that one) was the only school I could apply to for a leveling program-- it's an awesome program, yes, but it was the only one out of five schools I wanted to apply to that I qualified for. It sucks realizing that you don't qualify for most of your application list. This might not really affect you (maybe all of your top choices have a leveling option), but I just thought it might be something you'd want to consider.

Baylor accepts out-of-field applicants too! 

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6 minutes ago, diana. said:

Baylor accepts out-of-field applicants too! 

Oh, I hadn't looked at Baylor! I focused on public schools-- UH (I could commute to this one!), UT, UTD, Tech, and Texas State. 

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12 hours ago, carathestudent said:

Hi.

I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English and have no SLP experience. I've been doing a lot of research lately and see there are many "leveler" programs that I can apply for to start my education towards becoming an SLP. I'm looking at NAU, U of A, and St. Cloud.... 

I'm really worried about how my application will stand against someone who has much more experience in the field than me.

My GPA is 3.9... I haven't taken the GRE yet, but I know my scores need to be stellar. I feel like my Statement of Purpose will be pretty strong, despite my lack of experience in the field. I was in a coma for 3 months and had to undergo physical, speech, and occupation therapy afterwards... so that's kind of my angle, as I do want to help others who find themselves in this life changing situation.

Anyways, what do you think my chances are of being accepted into a program? Do you think it's a better idea if I study to become an SLPA before applying to a program and why? I've considered this, but I'm not sure how much extra time it'll take to go from SLPA to SLP, as opposed to just jumping in headfirst and working towards SLP (why not just go for the gold?). And, do you have any other advice for me?

Thank you so much for your thoughts!!!!!

Sorry to answer your question -- I'm also an out-of-field applicant and I went into work as an ABA therapist and have been able to observe many speech sessions with my clients. It is something you could consider looking into doing while you wait to hear back from programs.

I was told from someone who completed NAU's SLPA certificate track that those courses could easily transfer into their Master's program if you chose to apply there - that way if you needed to find work, you could work as a SLPA while completing your Master's program.

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2 hours ago, flapjackal said:

As I understood it, post-bacc refers most often to an extra year of classes without the guarantee that you will continue on in the graduate program at the school. Levelers do not need to reapply in their program or anywhere else; their program just takes longer to complete. 3-year programs are also usually covered by financial aid/federal loans since you're technically a graduate student. Options are more limited for post-bac programs.

2nd bachelor's programs are also financial-aid eligible if the individual isn't self-financing the degree out of savings and/or their job.

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