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The 1000 Piece Puzzle: Picking Your Perfect Grad School Pt. 2

19 Jul

As promised, here is the second edition of hints for picking the pieces to finish your grad school puzzle. These are in no way to be weighed less than the previously posted characteristics for deciding on which programs to apply to/ attend. In fact, some of these may need more consideration than the others. Of course that is for you to decide, but if you wish to see the other list for comparison, then click here. There has also been great comments from others about factors to consider, so be sure to check it out. 🙂

Here is the second list of items that you may want to chew on (but don’t accidentally aspirate on them, please.):

-Opportunities Available: Most of these come down to money, but some come somewhat hand-in-hand with that along with educational gains. Research Assistant – If you wish to engage in research with a professor, make sure the school allows for this. After that, check to see if any faculty are currently open to supervise a student researcher. Most teachers have a limited number of slots for RAs, and those spaces often go to doctoral students. Graduate Assistant – Does the school also have spaces for graduate assistants?  Do they give preference to certain students? The school I currently attend for undergrad only allows alumni undergraduate students to be graduate assistants for the department. Student Teaching/ Teacher’s Assistant – are there opportunities to student teach or be a teacher’s assistant? These could be viable options. They also are great building blocks for your CV and may help with getting a CFY. On-Site Clinic Some universities don’t have on-site clinics. This may not be a huge issue, but having one may provide another site for possble work. Some universities have clinics in which students can work. Student Teaching.

GRE or MAT accepted: Although the majority of schools accept the GRE, some will accept the MAT as well. For some applicants this isn’t an issue, but for those who are not great at timed standardized tests, this can be a huge benefit. Most that do accept the MAT accept it in conjunction with the GRE, though. Luckily, there are some programs that don’t require the GRE, or just a lower score is accepted. For a list of these schools, click here.

Clinical Placements: This one is another multi-colored puzzle piece. First, as mentioned above, is there an on-site clinic? Some studente prefer having an on-site clinic available as a back up if off-site clinic placements don’t work or just for further experience and education. Second, what clinical placements are available? If you are interested in aphasia, are there clinical placements available that may have aphasia placements? What about bilingual/multi-cultural populations? Are there outpatient or inpatient facilities if you’re interested in those? Make sure placements that you want are available.

Research vs Clinical Orientation: There are some schools more research-oriented than clinically-oriented. This may impact your education and placements or opportunities/funding. This may take some dumpster-dive-type searching, but it’s good information to know.

Medical vs Educational Based: Many, many schools are geared towards education setting clinical education. There are few that actually focus on, or are more geared towards, the medical setting. This doesn’t mean both school types don’t offer clinical placements in the other setting or that if you go to one you will have great trouble finding jobs in the other sector, but you may be more well prepared for the specific setting. As far as I know there are a limited number that are medically based, of which you can view a list here. Also, the University of Pittsburgh offers a Clinical Doctorate (CScD) degree that’s medically based. You can find that (and 2-3 other ‘SLP clinical doctorate’ degrees (SLPD)) on ASHA’s EdFind, although I’m not sure if the others are medically-focused.

Specializations/Certificates: Generally, most schools have some sort of specialty. Gallaudet has Deaf Studies; Penn State is known for AAC. Depending on your interests you may want to find a school that fits that. On top of that, some schools offer Graduate Certificates in certain studies. You may want to check into that as well, as they can give you valuable knowledge.

Program Start Date/ Program Length: There are some programs who have Winter, Spring or Summer start dates. A good amount of these are online programs, but there are a some on campus programs who begin at these unconventional times as well.  I’ve also heard of a handful of schools with alternating admissions, admitting students every other year. You also may want to consider program length. This mostly pertains to those without a CSD degree or opt to do online programs, as these generally take an extra semester or two.

Accreditation: Lastly, and what I would argue is the most important piece of the puzzle, the one that ties everything in, is accreditation. MAKE SURE IT IS ACCREDITED by The Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA). If it’snot accredited by this, ASHA  will not recognize your degree. To find those that ASHA recognizes, you can search for schools viaEdFind.

Once you’ve put the puzzle together and found some viable schools that can fit into it, talk to current or past students. You can find some on the Facebook, GradCafe, and Twitter groups. You can view my post on social media

If you have any hints, tips or pointers as to how you decided between schools, please feel free to share as well!

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

for places to connect to people. You can also attempt to find professionals taht supervise clinicals for your prospective schools– they can give insight on how well prepared students are. This may be harder to do, but worth a shot.

Will Work For Reimbursement

16 Jul

It’s not question whether higher education is outrageously expensive or not, especially for those who pursue careers that require more than a Bachelor’s degree, like Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout my search I’ve seen some schools charge as much as $60,000+ for the 2.5 or so years of extra education needed for this field. Sorry, there’s no way I can begin to afford even thinking about the debt from that. For that to remotely even out I’d have to either run away to the circus with a dancing monkey, or pray that I managed to get a crazy scholarship amount of 50% or more in order to attend. Well, maybe I got a little carried away there. Some schools do hand out scholarships of up to 75%, which is great. Despite that, it’s a slim chance I’ll be getting that high of an amount. There’s also the fact that more money is handed out to doctoral students, slimming those chances even more.

Luckily, for those who are willing to put in some extra “time” and work, there are some other options for funding. There are some scholarships and grants available, but I’m not here to discuss those today. Instead, I’ve come across some unique opportunities for finding the needle in an intimidating large haystack that is limited educational funding.

First: State Department of Education Scholarships. There are several states, like New York, whose Department of Education will pay you to get your Master’s degree[1]. The catch? Well, there are quite a few, nothing outlandish, but things to consider[1]:

  1. For the NY Dept. of Education (and most likely all other participating state’s education departments), you must attend one of the schools they designate as an affiliate of the program, all of which are in-state.
  2. You must accept your spot in one of the schools before you are told if you receive the money. This may not be an issue for some cheaper schools, but those like New York Medical College, where tuition is quite a bit higher, this can be a problem for some. (But if you get the scholarship, then no problem!)
  3. I should’ve mentioned this first. You have to go through an application process. It’s not simply an apply and you will receive the money. There’s paperwork and interviews and such.
  4. As part of the agreement, after you are finished your education, you must serve at a high-need school for X amount of years. This may vary by state; I believe it was 6 years for New York. I’m not sure if they assign a school to you or you get to pick from a list.

Second: Federal Dept. of Education Scholarships. This one I know less about, but I’ll tell you what I do know. It’s similar to the state scholarships in that they will payfor your education. In addition to that, your end of the deal is working 10 years in a high-need school[2]. Other than that I’m not sure how the process goes or what universities take part in this exchange.

Third: US Military. There are a couple of ways that I’m aware of for this. You may either complete ROTC while in college so that you may study while training and then do reserves or active duty for some years after. Or you may do training/ reserves/active duty before you enter into college, that way you can focus on education later.  (There is the option of school then military, but I’m not sure if they reimburse your education that you do prior to your involvement in the military.) [3] Both options require serving for some time. Some people actually stay and become an officer and work for the military in their respective field.

Fourth: Unique University Scholarships/Grants. Some schools may give you a stipend, pay some of your education or pay all of your education if you partake in a program of theirs. One such example is a grant offered by Western Carolina University where graduate SLP students take 18 extra credits for training that covered the topic of providing SLP services to children with severe disabilities. As part of the agreement students “receive one year of in-state tuition and some professional development,” while in return they “commit to serve people with severe and other disabilities for two years and to mentor at least five people in communication services for people with severe disabilities.[4]” You may want to check into universities that interest you to see if they have any grants or scholarships similar to this.

mini graduation cap on money

mini graduation cap on money (Photo credit: SalFalko)

Fifth: Other. There are several other loan repayment options that are available. Some are available for those in the medical sector, others for educational settings. Many states have loan repayment programs as well. For a list of these, and other possibilities, check out this article’s compilation of money-savers[5]. ASHA also lists MANY options for loan forgiveness and the like, so you might want to take a look [6]. There are also different funding options available by state, which you can view here [7].

Of course there are pros and cons to all of these options. It’s up to you to figure out what yours are and which ones weigh heavier than others. Hopefully one of these, or receiving scholarships from your prospective schools will help your financial woes. Best of luck to all applicants!

Do you know of any other ‘random’ or ‘unique’ graduate school funding opportunities? Perhaps a business hat may offer scholarships in exchange for working several years for them? Or certain states/schools will give in-state tuition to out-of-staters in exchange for something? Or, better yet, money without any catches? (Doubt it, but worth a try! haha)

References/ Sites:

1. Scholarships, Incentives and Special Programs. (n.d.). Teach NYC. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.teachnycprograms.net/getpage.php?page_id=60

2. I actually am unable to find the site for this. Bad me, I know. Once I find it I will add it here!

3. Speech-Language Pathologist- Military Options. (n.d.). CFNC.org- Career Profile. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Career_Profile/Career_Profile.aspx?id=CS4kl9fuQq860zn2wusOXAP2FPAXQXAP3DPAXXAP3DPAX&screen=6

4. Peck, M.  & Lamb , H. (2013, February 01). Student’s Say: Why Take 18 Extra Graduate School Credit Hours?. The ASHA Leader. Retrieved Jusy 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2013/130201/Students-Say–Why-Take-18-Extra-Graduate-School-Credit-Hours.htm

5. Kinsey, C. (2013, April 15). Student Loan Forgiveness on ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. ADVANCE for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://speech-language-pathology-audiology.advanceweb.com/Features/Articles/Student-Loan-Forgiveness.aspx

6. Finding Financial Aid. (n.d.). American Speech-Language-Hearing Association | ASHA. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.asha.org/students/financial-aid/#Federal_and_State_Education_Programs

7. How to Pay For College. (n.d.). The Debt-Free College Guide – eLearners.com. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://debtfree.elearners.com/how-to-pay-for-school/IncentivesSearch.aspx

Student “non-CEU” Classes

23 Jun

Remember how I mentioned that I registered for an online CEU company? Well, As of yesterday, I have now completed my first ‘non-CEU’ class. It is technically a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) course, but as I am not a professional Speech-Language Pathologist (yet), it doesn’t count for credit. But I still get a certificate of completion if I receive an 80% or above on the test that follows! And guess  what? This girl got a 90%! I’m so happy! If you aren’t on this bandwagon yet, I suggest you do so. Yes, it costs about $49/year for a student account, but there’s plenty of other aspects that make it worth the while:

-Applications– Grad school applications, that is. These classes are extremely great assets to have in your educational arsenal when applying to grad school. They will show that you are not just dedicated to this field, but you are really, truly dedicated to it. You are not only interested in learning within the school system, but you want to learn more on your free time. That should get some of those admissions officers eyebrows raised.

Knowledge– It’s always important to maintain and expand your knowledge– especially when it comes to the field you work in. Our field  has become so vast in the past years that there’s much to know, almost too much. Taking these classes will assist you in this never-ending, but fun, endeavor. Say you read something in the news about Autism or Animal-Assisted Therapy and you want to learn more about those issues within Speech-Language Pathology, you can look up some courses about that and take them! There’s plenty to choose from.

Education– On a similar note, these classes can act as fillers (possibly, not guaranteed) that provide extra information on topics you learning in school. Perhaps you’re behind or confused about a subject and want a different perspective, or you want to know some information before taking a class the upcoming semester. One way to accomplish those could be taking related classes through companies like these. Just make sure you get some sort of recognition at the end and ASHA approves of the company. One way to do that is by looking for classes on this site: http://www.asha.org/eweb/csdynamicpage.aspx?webcode=coursesearch

Variety of Methods– At least the website I use has a variety of means through which the learner may view the material. So, whether you are a visual, auditory, or text-based learner, there are  classes for you. In fact, the same class may be available in all three mediums, which is great. There are also live Webinars you may partake in, where you can ask the presenter questions while he/she teaches the material. I’ve also seen virtual conferences are available!

Extra Material- Many classes also have supplemental information for your benefit. You can save and print them out as you deem necessary. These are great to have for future reference and to jog your memory if you forget something later down the road. Of course, if you want to use them for therapy or handing out to clients, then you’ll have to ask permission from the presenter.

Those are just a few reasons to take some CEU classes for no credit as a student. I’m sure there are plenty more!

*I use http://www.speechpathology.com . This was not an endorsement or an expression of their opinions. These are solely my opinions.

ASHA Convention Volunteer ?!

22 Jun

Each year the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has a convention for all professionals whose work related to communication (speech-language pathologists, audiologists, speech and hearing scientists). Along with the professionals, students in the respective fields are invited to attend the event as well. There are a plethora of speakers to listen to, with many slots for attendees to choose from over the 3 day convention (Nov.14-16 in Chicago) . In addition to speakers, there is an exhibition room filled with booths from graduate programs, businesses, etc. Such a superb learning opportunity!

ASHA recognizes that students may not have the funding to attend this event, which is a relief. To aid students who want to attend, they have the opportunity for students to volunteer at the convention. Students can choose which area(s) of the convention they would like to volunteer in and get refunded the cost of the  convention. Not only does this help financially, but it gives students the opportunity to actually see what goes into maintaining and running the convention, as well as networking opportunities! Who could pass that up?

There’s just a small catch– only some students are selected. They also give priority to NSSLHA members. It’s understandable, as I’m sure they receive more than a couple boat-loads of applications! Plus, if you’re aiming on becoming a professional SLP, why wouldn’t you join the student organization? It does cost some money, but it’s a great thing to have on your resume and in general. You have access to Special Interest Groups and articles and much more.

With all this said, I sent in my application to volunteer… so excited! Now it’s just a waiting game until October 2nd. I guess this’ll act as a preview to grad school application season and the waiting!

For those of you who would like to volunteer, here’s a link to the application: http://www.asha.org/Forms/Convention-Student-Volunteer-Application/

Good Luck!

Summer Volunteer Opps

16 Jun

This pdf lists quite a few volunteer opportunities for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology students. There are available in several states, like Ohio and Indiana. Even if you are unable to do these opportunities due to distance, they can still help you conjure ideas for possible placements in your neck of the woods!  (Sorry it´s a link, I tried to make it into a picture, but my computer doesn´t want to place nice today.)

 

Click Here: Summer Volunteer Opps!

Boosting That Transcript and Gaining Knowledge

4 May

Now, lots of people might ask “why take classes you don’t need? Why torture yourself with some “classes” in the summer that don’t “count” for something? Well, there’s three reasons:

1. I’ll admit to being a nerd and enjoying learning. Crazy, I know

2. To go along with that, these classes will boost my knowledge of the field I want to work in, and related items.

3. It’ll boost my transcript and show I’m really serious about this, and not doing the bare minimum.

How will I go about doing this? Taking Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) that SLP’s have to take for their license, but without getting credits at the end. Since I’m not a licensed professional, I don’t need the credits themselves, so I’m just taking the classes. It’s fairly simple. You can search on ASHA for CEUs you’d like, online or in person,  and find their provider, then take the class through the provider.

One of the main online providers (which makes it easier) is speechpathology.com, and what’s good is they give a discount to STUDENTS! It’s only $49/ year for access to all of their courses, which can be text, audio or video! And then you can take the test at the end. Each class is worth a different amount of CEUs and is a different difficulty level and length, but most I’ve found are 1 hour long, so not much time at all! There’s even some classes related to audiology.

Another provider I’ve seen on ASHA (although it’s not for credits, I’d still prefer it to be accredited) is linguisystems.com. I’ve actually seen some SLPs mention this on Facebook… and they love it cause some of the CEUs are free! So even better. 🙂 That should be an easy way to gain more insight without having to hurt the college budget.

 

Those are just two examples to help boost that resume and just keep learning. Some even say it helped for finding a Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) after graduate school. :)Check ASHA for other providers, or even take ones that might not be approved! If they don’t count for credits then it may not matter anyway. 🙂 Just make sure you jot down the courses and speakers to write on your resume!

 

 

What’s Up Wednesday: Organization/Study Methods

3 Apr

As any aspiring professional, or at least I hope, I’m on a mission to gain as much knowledge as I can about my future profession. I want to learn it and retain it, every little bit. I just have some slight issues: note organization and retaining the mass of information. I’m able to remember the gist of things, and most details, but I want to remember it all so I have a great repertoire to draw from. As for organization, my notes from past and current classes are slightly organized in a few folders, but I’d like to have them better filed for reference. So how do I plan about doing these tasks? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

I know I tend to learn by writing, so this may seem tedious for some. But for me, this should lead to positive results:

-Take notes in class and from readings, either in a 5 subject notebook or one notebook for all classes (you’ll see why this doesn’t matter as much later). Star/Highlight anything said multiple times or pointed out by teacher.

-Re-write these notes more neatly, and more organized, in the designated single subject notebook for each class/topic.

  • color code all things that were starred/highlighted from notes: blue for terms/definitions; green for concepts; red for extra information pointed out or that seems important; yellow for assessment/treatment tests and techniques

– When it’s near test time, re-write the notes in a summarized form, with the most important information. This will be used to study for tests (and re-read the full notes a few times as well).

-Make note cards to use for random practice throughout year to stay up-to-date on information.

-Place the single-subject notebooks and any handouts in an accordion folder/ small box for safe keeping and future reference. If there is extra room in single-subject notebook, then rip out pages and place them in a folder with handouts to put in accordion folder. The extra pages can then be used for another subject, and the folder will save space in the accordion folder/box. Be a tree hugger!

I’m hoping that by using this system I can be more well organized and create a way to store/ review information when needed in the future. Hopefully you find this, or an adapted version, helpful for your studies!

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