Top student needs help finding likely LAC with linguistics

@SpreadsheetMom I am a speech language pathologist. If this is an interest of your daughter’s, she does not have to major or minor in linguistics. I would suggest you go to the American Speech Language Hearing Association website and go to the area for the public. There is a section there about this profession and good information.

Her undergrad major really can be almost anything but as noted, communication disorders is a common undergrad major for this field. She just needs to be sure to take the prerequisite courses for applying to speech pathology masters programs. A masters is the entry level degree for licensed speech pathologists.


Seconding @thumper1 My D is a (pretty recently licensed) SLP and she got a BS in psychology with a minor in theater at a LAC as an undergrad. There were a number of linguistics majors in her program but by no means it that major necessary.

My D did not decide on becoming a SLP until late into her junior year. I will say that applying to a direct admit masters program without an undergrad background in communication disorders is challenging. These are the paths she found:
– Some programs require the prerequisite courses be taken before one can even apply. If she went that route she would have needed a year after undergrad to do the prerequisites before applying to grad school.
–She did find some programs that would too “non-majors” and then folded the prerequisites into the program for students with other majors - some of those schools students take the prerequisites the summer before the program started. These programs were competitive in terms of admission.

If your D was sure she wants to be a SLP I would suggest that she consider schools that have communications sciences and disorders as an undergrad major – although she will need a masters degree having the undergrad background is a more straightforward pathway into the profession and will likely save a semester or a year of taking prerequisites (which were different for each program). But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

If she goes the LAC route I’d encourage your D to find a way to distinguish herself as an undergrad. For example my D did a great deal of research with professors as an undergrad and had an article that was published in a peer reviewed journal. And while I have no definitive proof, I also think that the SLP programs liked that she had the theater minor and took public speaking, improv etc. classes. She also took a great deal of science coursework as an undergrad which I also believe grad schools looked favorably upon.

I have to say that my D absolutely loved her LAC undergrad experience as well as her grad experience – thankfully it all worked out well for her.


Thank you! We know a bunch of SLPs because my son has needed speech therapy for many years, and they all seem to have taken a different path before going to grad school.

My daughter is somewhat interested because she’s been exposed to the field – BUT, she’s also a language geek and genuinely interested in studying linguistics, so I think she views SLP as one practical career that she could go into if she doesn’t want to stay in academia.

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May I ask where she went to undergrad and grad school?

Middlebury would be great on many counts (linguistics major or minor), BUT it’s pretty cold there. Like most of the NESCACs, there is no Greek life.

This topic may offer ideas for colleges to research further:

When I went to Maryland College Park, the linguistics program was—and it remains—top-notch (a bit overly theoretically oriented, though less so than when I was there), and there is the option to take electives or even minor in in the hearing and speech sciences, plus there’s the option to take a ridiculous number of foreign languages. (I needed a non-Indo-European language for grad school applications, and they worked with me to arrange a year of Hungarian, which basically meant a year of one-on-one instruction.)

I’m guessing a number of other state flagships with strong language and linguistics programs offer similar situations, but Maryland’s the one I know best. (Immediate guesses, though, without checking if I’m right: Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Arizona State, UCLA.)


UMass Linguistics is one of the top in the country. It’s also part of the Five College Consortium which includes small LAC’s that allow for taking classes at any of the colleges- Amherst College, Smith, Mt Holyoke and Hampshire. It’s like the best of everything IMHO.


@merc81 a “language geek” is not necessarily one who wants to study foreign languages. I interpreted the OP as meaning her kid really wanted to study linguistics to delve deeper into language…not to study foreign languages.

Maybe @SpreadsheetMom will clarify.

I’m laughing, because the two obsessions usually run together. The language brained, language-obsessed student usually is fascinated both by the structure of language and learning foreign languages. They want to understand it all - how we acquire it (from our earliest existence as language acquisition devices, which other people call children), how the languages are related to each other, how they evolve and devolve - why, the fun is just endless. Linguistics nerds differ from foreign language majors in that they seek to understand the how and why of language, although many also study foreign languages, often to excess.


OP’s daughter sounded like a bit of a Reedie to me, but I doubt she wants to go that far from home. I would second Swrarthmore.

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Tufts has a great Linguistics department. Professors are the best.

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Thank you, all! I’m making note of all the suggestions to discuss with D22 when she gets a moment to breathe. :slight_smile: They are much appreciated!

As far as my “language geek” comment – the kid started taking Latin in 7th grade and will be in AP Latin next year, and she loves it. The structure and logic of it totally works for her brain. She likes seeing the roots and the influence it has on other languages, etc.

And then, she likes thinking about language acquisition and how the brain is involved – her younger brother has been in years of speech and myofunctional therapy, so she was exposed to the field early on. His speech patterns fascinate her – at 13, he speaks pretty well except for a bit of articulation, but he doesn’t always get past tense right, and he doesn’t naturally use a present-tense verb with a helping verb, for example (he’ll say “did you went to the store?”) – so she is curious about where and why the disconnect is happening.

She also follows Gretchen McCulloch and is interested in the way language is evolving online. (I get schooled often because I can’t keep up with current slang, lol.)

She’s less of a “let me learn all the languages” type, but she is teaching herself Spanish with DuoLingo. And she has an interest in learning Marathi because that’s what I grew up speaking – and what her grandparents speak – but I kind of failed as a mother and didn’t teach it to her. (My husband doesn’t speak it, so it was tougher than expected to do one-parent, one-language to ensure our kids would be bilingual. I regret it, though.)

So, many aspects of linguistics interest her, but she’s unsure yet exactly what she’ll want to study and what she’ll ultimately do with it.

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With respect to your daughter’s accomplishments in Latin, College Transitions offers a “Best Colleges for Classics” list (separated by type below), which supports a few of her current colleges of interest (e.g., Davidson) and may, when combined with other considerations, suggest ideas with which to expand her list:

Amherst College
Carleton College
College of the Holy Cross
Davidson College
Hamilton College
Kenyon College
Macalester College
Oberlin College

Barnard College
Bryn Mawr College

Brandeis University
Brown University
Cornell University
Columbia University
Georgetown University
Harvard University
Johns Hopkins University
Princeton University
Stanford University
Tufts University
University of Chicago
University of Pennsylvania
Yale University

College of William and Mary
Ohio State University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Wisconsin – Madison

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Does Tufts have a linguistics department?

You didn’t come here looking for more impossible admissions schools, but Stanford has some great offerings in this area, including instruction in unusual languages, and could support the multi-faceted elements of her interest. Also not a LAC. But worth a look at least.


They actually have a minor in linguistics which is part of the philosophy department. The minor is interdisciplinary. They also offer linguistics focus as part of the Cognitive & Brain Science department. All departments work hand in hand along with the Psychology department. I think it gives a more well rounded experience while you are learning the structure of language you are applying it to many areas. I’m majoring in Cog & Brain Sci. All the professors in these three areas have been top notch. Especially linguistics.


I would suggest that senior year she take Level 1 in French or Italian so that she can draw inferences from Spanish and Latin. (She might want to take a cc version because HS level 1 is slow as a snail). Then add Romanian (latin roots but cases like German), either a Scandinavian language or Germanic or Slavic language such as Polish. She’ll start to see the different roots. See if there are no-credit community education introductory classes in several languages. She would also likely love the book series_ English grammar for students of _ Spanish/French/German… (comparative grammar in a bitesize format).

He didnt went, why did you went is a very common mistake by ELL learners, because in most languages the verb carries the tense.

Good suggestions, thank you!

Yes, my son’s speech patterns do sometimes mimic English language learners – which is interesting because he’s a native speaker.

@SpreadsheetMom She went to Lafayette College in PA undergrad and Teachers College, Columbia University for grad school. Feel free to PM me if I can help you further.

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