Just a few years ago, I was sitting in my un-classy apartment in West Georgia impatiently waiting to start SLP grad school. It’s been almost 3 years and I’ve learned one or 2 things. Last year, I wrote “Summer Reading List for New SLP Grad Students” . But, allow me to share something I wish someone had shared with me long ago…
SpeechPathology.com - ever heard of it? Maybe you have. I see their ads in my Facebook feed. Or in emails I didn’t realize I signed up for at an ASHA convention. But this one…this one is worth clicking on.
I’ve recently become fascinated by the SLP sub category on Reddit.com. It’s an open forum for questions, links, and information; in this sub-Reddit (as they say), there has been quite the discussion on “less competitive” SLP graduate schools. When I was applying, I didn’t think any grad school was less competitive than another. I thought they all had equally competitive application processes. And to be honest, I associate “less competitive” with “easy” “accepts lower GPA/GRE” or “less applicants”. And in some ways, I guess that’s true.
There are two threads of discussion on this topic that I’ve focused on.
- Reddit: On 4/9/2014, the question “What are some “less competitive” SLP grad programs” was posed to the group. Currently at 18 comments at the time of this post, it’s a great discussion.
- TheGradCafe.com: On 1/23/2014 a user started the “Fall 2014 “Less Competitive” Grad Programs Applicants Thread!”. Currently at 250 replies, it’s an amazing read if you want to scour the pages.
I think what interests me the most is the sheer number of people searching this type of information. I get lots of hits on my blog with similar search terms. People want to get into this profession, yet are blocked at the door. I’m scared for my readers and happy for the ones that make it. But there are so many applicants that are worthy and passionate. I just wish there was more room for everyone.
Give these threads a read if you are interested. My thoughts on “less competitive” grad schools is that truly, there aren’t any. Searchers looking for an answer, there are suggestions in these posts that “safety” school exist. I just don’t know if that’s solid advice. Maybe I’m just uninformed or cynical in the matter. But nothing short of hard work, experience, and determination will get you into grad school. And even that isn’t always rewarded with a ticket.
Keep at it readers. Keep asking and keep discussing. If others have success, learn from it and use it as fuel for your own fire.
There hasn’t been a week during this first year as an SLP that I haven’t turned to pages in this book with an unmistakable urge to hunt down the authors and hug them forever.
Secord, W. A., Boyce, S. E., Donahue, J. S., Fox, R. A., & Shine, R. E. (2007). Eliciting sounds: Techniques and strategies for clinicians [spiral bound]. Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning.
It runs about $50-$70. When I first bought this book, it didn’t feel important. It was almost like a leaflet you might pick up at a doctor’s office. Like an adult “Highlights Magazine”, except more expensive. Now days, it holds an esteemed place of honor in my top right hand drawer. Easily accessible. Always nearby. I would pay $100 for this gem.
I’m hoping this book is a standard required reading source in SLP grad school. If not, then buy it. You won’t regret it.
That is all for now. I’m cold…in Alaska…breaking news, huh? :)
In related news:
Hot off the presses from the International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. I want to share my thoughts on a recent article entitled Impact of placement type on the development of clinical competency in speech-language pathology students.
The thing I enjoyed most about this article was how they described their “aim”. In summary, they wanted to see how the placement type for SLP students impacted the competency levels as they progressed through the program. I often wondered how I can be just as competent as my classmate when we observed different SLPs and were placed in very different settings. Yet many of us felt equally confident. This article helped shed some light on why different experiences can result in the same clinical competency. Here’s a quick look at the highlights I discuss below:
- Caseload, setting, and placement intensity may impact clinical competence for soon-t0-be SLPs
- Caseload appeared to be the most significant variable impacting an increase in clinical knowledge
- No matter the setting, every placement provided opportunities for growth as a future SLP
I made it. This was the first full week starting my SLP-CF here in The Last Frontier. I have about 50 + kiddos on my caseload and couldn’t be more excited. All the preparation in the world couldn’t have prepared me for sitting down at my desk in front of a cabinet full of working files, and figuring out how I’m going to make this work. On more than one occasion, I wanted to stop and ask someone, “Excuse me, could you tell me how to do my job?” But I gathered my newbie-baggage, shook-off the overwhelming feelings, and tackled my job. Sink or swim people…and the water is cold.
There was a moment Monday, before I started my first day of my full-time school internship, where I panicked. Heart fluttering, mind-numbing, terrifying panic. I couldn’t verbalize how to teach the “SH” sound. I couldn’t think of its place or manner of articulation. It was like the knowledge was lost in an ambiguous depth of space and time. *POOF* 4 years of undergrad and a 1.5 years of a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology, gone. Just. Like. That.
Now that my melodrama is over, it was truly only a momentary freak-out. Followed by a frenzy of technology, clicking, typing, and a slight hand-cramp from the manic episode. It happens to the best of us (that’s what I’m telling myself). So, what did I find you might ask? Allow me to share:
This is the second post in my series regarding Online Speech-Language Pathology graduate schools. Read Part 1 and general information about online SLP graduate programs.
The below interview is with a spunky mother of two, 43 year old lovely lady, and current online graduate student who transitioned from bank manager to Speech-Language Pathologist. I admire anyone who decides to switch careers and become passionate about such an amazing field. If you are considering applying to online SLP programs or know someone who is, please read and share.
When things start piling up, you turn to the people you trust and can rely on; one such person in my life and in my SLP graduate program is Tanya Sykes-Clark. She is a first year non-traditional SLP Grad Student here at the University of West Georgia with me. She is also a wife and mother to four children who range in age from 9 to 19. When it comes to amazing, I defer to her. I asked for her story and perspective since there are many non-traditional students considering changing careers to Speech-Language Pathology. Allow her to explain…
Non-Traditional Student and the Decision Making Process:
In 1997 I moved to Georgia and decided to forgo my attempts to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I chose to be a stay at home mom with two children at the time. My husband was all for it, so I began my journey from stay at home mom to SLP student. In 1999 I enrolled in a technical school to get my certification as a Medical Assistant. That was an epic fail when I realized the sight of blood made me sick. In 2005, I elected to get my certification as a real estate agent and was very successful until the 2008 real estate bubble took place. Once again was thrust into considering a career change. The real estate market not only took a dive, but destroyed any financial security I had. Back at home again, but this time I was charged with caring for four children.
Where are you this Thanksgiving? Sitting in front of a fire? Stuffing your face with turkey and dressing? Spending time with family and friends?
I’m doing much of the above with one very special addition - Completing projects for my SLP graduate program. While some of the reason I’m working through Thanksgiving is slight procrastination, many items such as studying could not be started until we finished covering the material. *Insert sighs and groans here* I’ve decided after almost 6 years of undergraduate and graduate coursework that “breaks” from school really mean time to spend not in class and working on endless projects related to summarizing or studying.