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What are the least competitive graduate programs to get into?

missind33missind33 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
edited January 2011 in Graduate School
Hi, I'm currently a Communication Science and Disorders Major (for Speech Pathology). I've heard of how competitive it is to get into the Speech Pathology graduate program, and to be honest I'm intimidated. I plan on going through with this undergrad program, but I was thinking of applying to other programs as backups as well.

Any ideas of programs that are not as competitive as speech pathology, that someone of a different major could apply to (or one that only requires a couple of prereqs?). I was thinking of Counseling (Which area do you recommend for best pay and most job openings?), Social Work, Special Education, maybe School psych? Any ideas? I don't mind if its relevant or nonrelevant (business??)
Post edited by missind33 on

Replies to: What are the least competitive graduate programs to get into?

  • juilletjuillet Posts: 5,893Super Moderator Senior Member
    What do you want to do?

    Assuming that you are not ****, it's unwise to apply to graduate school just for the sake of applying and to go anywhere you get accepted. Each of those programs is a professional degree with a specific purpose and if you want to be a speech-language pathologist, then you should do things to strengthen your application for SLP, not trying to apply to less competitive programs.

    The other degrees that I think you might be *interested* in, given your current interest in being an SLP, are social work (perhaps school social work) and school psychology. As a school psychologists, however, you would spend most of your time writing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students with learning differences/disabilities. I have some friends who are studying for their PhDs in school psych and they invariably say they spend a lot of their clinical practica writing IEPs instead of actually counseling children. Also note that job prospects are best for school psychologists with a PhD. You can still get work with a master's or a specialist's degree (Ed.S - this is the route I would actually recommend, since I think it only takes 3 years), though, especially in urban or rural areas where there is high need.

    As a psychology PhD student I would not recommend going for a general psych counseling master's program. Prospects are best in counseling psych if you have a PhD. There are other programs that you can do - maybe rehabilitation counseling, for example, or school guidance counseling. However, anyone who's been to public school realizes that guidance counselors spend the vast majority of their time doing administrative work and not actual guidance counseling, especially in larger public schools.

    Social work is probably the best option - social work isn't the most highly paid field, but it draws on a lot of the same concepts as SLP (if not the same kind of work) and you could also become a licensed clinical social worker, in which you could do counseling. Social workers also do a variety of jobs outside of the standard Department of Child and Family Services-type jobs. For example, there was an LCSW at the college health center at my college. There are also social workers in the disability services programs at certain places. You could be a hospital social worker.
  • missind33missind33 Posts: 4Registered User New Member
    I understand what you mean about not applying to other programs. But I am aware of its competitiveness and I desire a back up plan. I don't want to apply to programs for the sake of applying, after my undergrad I plan on going to more school, while I would love become a SLP, if I don't get accepted into the schools I want, I have no back-up plan in terms of career. I don't see many job prospects of someone with a Communication Science and Disorders degree, except being a SLPA (which I believe it's harder to become licensed and get a job in it).


    I think applying to a noncompetitive school psych, or a social work program will just allow me to not stress so much. By casting a wider net, I'll get something! I think School psych is something interesting I should look up, and I don't know much about Social Work--about what they do exactly in each of these fields. Most of the work I've completed or going to complete in my undergrad career has some similar characteristics in SLP, Social Work, and School Psych. I was also looking to apply possibly to a Special Ed school, or Applied Behavior Analysts program. Thanks for everything!
  • OyamaOyama Posts: 2,486Registered User Senior Member
    Settling for a low-ranked graduate school--especially one you have no desire of even completing besides as a safety--with low admissions criteria is just setting yourself up for more adversity (and more debt).
  • JudieSSWJudieSSW Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    After reading previous replies, here are a few thoughts. With 30 years experience as a school social worker plus experience as a state parole officer, I think I can offer a somewhat different perspective. Some information provided previously is outdated.

    First, since you seem interested in working in schools, visit the respective departments--school psych, (school) social work, and (school) counseling--at the nearest university/ies that has masters programs in these areas. Talk to the chair to find out what the coursework is focusing on these days. You'll have a better sense of what you might want to do.

    Second, visit the websites of these professions. Try ASCA, ACSSW, and NASP. Roam around and see what is on the sites. SC's are undergoing a transformation in their role; check out the "ASCA Model" of service provision on the ASCA site. States are gradually adopting this approach to counseling and abandoning the old service provision model. SP's are, also, transforming their roles, moving away from testing and IEPs (although that still remains a priority) to provide services and consultation in the areas of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS/PBS). SSWs are, also, changing their role, albeit much more slowly, to be stronger classroom and building supports as opposed to individual counseling. By doing this investigation you will see what you will be trained to do as these roles continue to evolve over the next five years or so. There are new initiatives on the horizon--P16/20, universal design, and others--that you will need to be aware of and prepared for. The feds are already working on these.

    Then, third, don't hesitate to call schools and ask to talk to people in the fields you are interested in--including SLPs!! While challenging, if that is where your heart is, that is where you should go. Good luck!
  • smithtaasmithtaa Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    What did you end up doing? I am also currently a Speech and Hearing Major and am so intimidated about the competition! This had led me to consider other options, such as the ones you listed, School Social Work and Applied Behavior Analysis. I had also considered Special Education and School Psychology.
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