A resource for those starting SLP Graduate School


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.

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“Less Competitive” SLP Graduate Schools discussion


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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

 

Acceptance and Rejection


Were you accepted to an SLP graduate school? Or Did you receive one of those disheartening rejection letters?

Acceptance letters. I remember opening the email that held the golden ticket. I jumped up, screamed, and danced around my apartment. I tried calling my parents…no answer. I just sat there and cried. I had already been rejected from 3 other schools. I was feeling as if my life choice was the wrong one. And then I read that letter. The letter of acceptance. The joy and emotions cannot be expressed. I hope some of you…my lovely readers…have felt this same sensation as of late.

acceptance

Rejection letters. If you applied to multiple schools and have already received rejection letters, I wish I could hug you. Just thinking about that letter of rejection just makes me relive those moments of sadness, overwhelming helplessness, and feelings of inadequacy. All the hard work, accolades, and confidence just melt away in an instant.

Whether you are dancing for joy or reading this amid tears of rejection, remember those letters are just the beginning. The beginning of a 2 year graduate school journey. Or the beginning of waiting another year or shifting your goals. I don’t want to get cliché  here, rambling on about opening windows or when a door closes another opens. Blah blah…rejection letters just make you want to slam every door and break a window. But really, these letters don’t define your worth. You are worthy of your aspirations in this field.

Press on or move on – it’s up to you. But don’t let an acceptance letter boost your ego too much, and don’t let a rejection letter deflate all your dreams.

If you are waiting to hear back from various SLP graduate schools, then my thoughts are with you. Keep me posted and keep your spirits high!

A Must-Buy book for New SLPs


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:

Interview with Wayne Secord on his book

Wayne Secord presentation on elicitation techniques

Eliciting /k/ and /g/ with help from Secord’s book

Clinical Competency for Soon-to-Be SLPs


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

clinical competency


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First Week – Clinical Fellowship


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.

Matanuska Glacier 2013

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Don’t freak out, it’s just the SH sound


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:

Continue reading “Don’t freak out, it’s just the SH sound”