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.
One thing about entering and graduating from a Master’s program at a relatively young age means that in a room full of experts, I tend to be the youngest one. It’s not a bad thing most of the time, and I’m probably the only one who quickly sizes up and estimates colleagues and parents’ age. Sometimes, when I’m about to share my evaluation report or discuss a recent diagnosis, I get nervous. And I start running down my list of personally-perceived short comings; my gut reaction is to think of my age.
I’m 25 and in a position that allows me the responsibility to diagnose and plan courses of treatment for individuals who have difficulties with communication. 5 years ago my biggest responsibility was waking up in time for my dreaded 8:00 AM Philosophy class. This CF year has been a huge transition in my life, both professionally and personally. I needed to mentally catch up with my new degree, new responsibilities, and new career. I’m still working on it…obviously.
Walking into a meeting where I am the expert on the child, the expert on his or her language, I am supposed to gauge how the next year will look on our plan of action. I need to remember my skills and my strengths when those moments arise and I think my age makes me appear weak or uninformed. I’m young, but I have education and research on my side. The experience will come in due time.
Until then, I am thankful for colleagues who share kind words about how well I do in meetings or how organized and on-top of things I seem. Only myself and you, my readers know the quiet inadequacies I need to overcome. Carry on.
The 2009 ASHA Board of Directors and Lemke and Dublinske prepared a document - Designing ASHA’s Future: Trends for the Association and the Professions - for the SLP profession. One of the future “trends” I was most interested in related to Generation Y, or the Millennial generation (born between 1982 and 2002).
In 2011, ASHA surveyed the professions’ impression of Generation Y with the question “What has your experience with members of generation Y led you to believe about their future involvement in Association volunteer roles compared to that of other generations?” (ASHA, 2011). Most respondents, 68%, agreed it would be more challenging to engage this group of individuals; however, the article compared the results to a 2007 survey which showed:
“Respondents reported the generation to believe more strongly in the importance of volunteering…[the challenge] will be in finding meaningful and substantive ways to involve these less experienced but eager young professionals” (p. 4).
**Waves** I’m an “eager young professional” ASHA – I am ready to be captivated **
So what was the consensus solution to address the issue? ASHA’s strategic objectives to address future issues included:
- Develop and implement programs that engage members in ASHA activities,
- Increase targeted events for new members only in the profession three to five years.
- Public relations with members and STUDENTS
- Customize programs and products for the targeted audience
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:
4 years of an undergraduate degree followed by 2 years getting a Master’s degree, all you really think about is that first payday when you start your Clinical Fellowship. Something about being paid for the work you are doing – it rights the soul. All those sleepless nights studying, worrying, writing, reading – ugh! If I had been paid for the work I invested in my education, let’s just say you could all come stay with me on my own Alaskan homestead.
Now, some honesty…
This isn’t a post with answers. This is a post with questions. Questions to add to the already mounting questions other SLP Graduate school hopefuls have after filling out an avalanche of applications.
People applying to SLP Graduate Programs across the country have to do the following, in general:
- Locate an accredited university with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology
- Find the Communication Sciences and Disorders (or SLP) tab/link/website/hidden portal to the underworld
- See the requirements for applications – 3+ letters of recommendation, resume, letter of intent, essay, application form, all your money (approx $3.8 million per school…approximately).
- Find the application portal. (All these portals, you would think we are getting somewhere. But no, you stay in one place waiting for their call)
- Submit application requirements.
- Wait for what seems like eternity. Usually 1-4 months.
- Receive rejection or acceptance email/letter/pigeon – Rejoice! or Weep in a pool of tears.
In the January 2014 publication of the ASHA Leader, there was a post entitled “Student’s Say: Craft a Stand-Out Application” As far as my Google search of “ASHA + SLP grad school applications” took me, this is one of the first of it’s kind for ASHA. I’ve been blogging about these same issues for over 2 years. Giving similar hints, tips, and advice the author, Carol Polovoy, offered up.
What I particularly appreciate about this post is that she was able to interview and get recent statistics from SLP grad schools. For instance, she reported “Montclair (N.J.) State University, for example, received 541 speech-language pathology program applications and accepted 38 (7 percent) for the 2011–2012 year.” 7%!!!!??? Woah. That’s depressing. But then she followed with another recent statistic, saying “The University of Pittsburgh…received 339 applications for 2011– 2012, and offered admission to 94 (27.7 percent).” 27.7% is WAY better than 7%.
I’ve never claimed to be an expert, but in 2012 I wrote a post on the chances of getting admitted into an SLP graduate school. I collected my numbers from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD). I’ve also written several other posts – here and here and here and here – about the application process. It’s now 2014. The process has only gotten tougher and more competitive. People are interested in the field of Speech-Language Pathology. Applicants are frustrated, tired, and worn down by the process of applying and the potential rejection.
ASHA, I appreciate the post and the thoroughness the author went through to get the information. Now…what’s next? Are there any more posts planned on this topic? Because there are so many questions from students. They need answers, and not from me. My blog is only popular because these issues aren’t being addressed elsewhere. I hope ASHA has more posts like this.. real, heart felt, and research based.
I can’t be the only one blabbering on about the SLP grad school trenches. Let’s see what happens.