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.
What state do you currently live in, and how far away is the nearest on-campus program?
I live in Kentucky and the closest on-campus program is 50 miles away.
What online program are you currently in and why did you select it over a face-to-face one?
I am in a northern online SLP graduate program in an entirely different state than I live. I needed to have flexibility because I have a special needs child and my husband travels a lot for work.
What was the application process like? How long did it take from applying to getting accepted?
I found my current program via “word of mouth,” and then researched the program further. I found the application process fairly straight forward.I found out in about three months and was notified via phone call and snail mail.
Do you have any tips for others considering applying that would make it easier?
Put a lot of effort and care into the SOP essay to set you apart from the hundreds of applicants.
Does the program find placements and supervisors for you? Or must you find them yourselves given parameters?
I have secured my own placements; my advisor does not have any contacts in my area.
Are there assigned times to log-on for courses or is it open?
We have mandatory chats, but you can log on whenever you are able.
How do you interact with other students? Do you feel like you are getting to know them, or does everyone do their own thing?
We have a discussion board and a closed FB group.
How long is it going to take you to complete the program? Was this a factor when selecting programs?
It is going to take about 2 ½ years to finish the program.
Can you describe a time when you wished you were in an on-campus, face-to-face program?
When the audio quality was poor during a video streamed lecture, it would have been nice to hear the instructor’s explanation of a challenging concept.
How do you keep track of your clock hours for yourself and sharing with your university supervisors?
We track our hours independently, then have our supervisors sign off on them before turning them into the adviser.
How does the cost compare to on-campus programs? Do you feel it is worth the cost?
The cost is the same for on-campus. I do feel that this is a way for universities to make up their budget “short-falls” by over-loading the professors and having graduate assistants grade the assignments. However, I would not be able to complete a graduate degree otherwise.
What are your favorite parts of being in an online program? What are your least favorite?
I do enjoy the independence of the learning format. A nice perk is that “class time” is not wasted on a student talking in class just to hear themselves talk. My least favorite things is that, at times, I feel like online students are considered like second class citizens. Some professors get annoyed when questions are posted on the discussion board. I understand that online classes are usually mandatory add-ons to their schedules, but it is not the fault of the student.
What is unique about the program you are in?
Our program starts the practicum experience a little earlier than the on-campus program. They like to embed the practicum placement with the courses that we are taking.
What are 3 things it takes to keep you organized and on-track given the online format?
I have a paper calendar that I color code my assignments, tests, etc. to each specific class. I use my syllabus at the beginning of the semester to plan what needs to be completed and mark my calendar accordingly.
Do you think anyone can make it through an online program or is it for a specific type of person?
I think that anyone can make it through; they would just need to be a little organized. ( but that would apply to on-campus, too)
What setting do you want to work once you graduate? Has this changed from before you started the program?
I would like to work in a medical setting. This has not changed since I started the program
What piqued your interest in SLP?
I have a child with autism and was fascinated by the process of helping him communicate. My mother suffered a stroke at a young age, but was able to recover her pre-stroke function 100% within three years. Both my son and my mother had incredible SLPs that worked with them. After my husband was settled in his career and my children got a little older, it freed up some of my responsibilities to pursue this path.
Do you have a job in addition to taking classes?
I am a fitness instructor and personal trainer, but this is not “work” for me. I get paid to exercise; how hard is that?! I also volunteer as a parent rep for the school’s site base decision making council, title one committee, and family resource council. I also teach religious ed.