Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why I Chose a Distance SLP Program + A List of Online Programs

Hi everyone! First of all, thank you so much for the sweet support regarding my rebrand/name change ☺️ I think "The Social Speechie" really fits and I'm excited to grow the name + what it represents!

Anyway, on today's agenda: why I chose a distance SLP program.

When I decided to apply to graduate school, I knew that I was not in the position to pick up my life and move to a program. I'm married, my husband has a job where we live, I have a job where we live, etc. I did get into my local university's in-person SLP program BUT after weighing my options I decided that a distance program was a better fit for me.

And why is that? I chose a distance program because:

This is the main reason I decided to go with a distance program. I'm an older student (27 to be exact) and I have bills to pay. I didn't want to take out student loans to live off of so being able to work full- time or close to it is a priority to me. If I would have chosen an in-person, full-time program I wouldn't be able to do that. I love that by doing a part-time, distance program I'll be able to work while earning my degree. And the best job is at a school as an SLPA + P.E. teacher so I'm getting in-field experience. I'll be able to apply what I'm learning in my courses to my daily life!

Being married means that my time isn't my own. I wanted to go with a program that allowed me to work and maintain solid relationships in my life. With a distance program, I only have "class" 1-2 nights a week for 2-3 hours. I'm not spending my days sitting in classes on campus. My time is my own and I can create a schedule that works for me. I love being able to schedule my classes around my life rather than my life around my classes.

I'm sure that all SLP programs provide valuable clinical experiences. But in my distance program, practicums are done throughout my community. Rather than spending the majority of my clinical time in a university clinic, I'll be in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, schools, and private practices. In my program, we have to complete clinical hours at all of these types of places. Just think of all of the networking that will come from spending so much clinical time in the community! HELLO job offers galore after grad school!

Can I get a hallelujah?! I don't know how it is at your university, but where I got my undergraduate degree, parking was a complete nightmare. And there were semesters where I would be running across campus to make it to class on time since some of my courses were spread out all over campus. Who wants to show up for class sweaty? Not me! Plus, I don't have to worry about car troubles or traffic. Instead, I get to walk into my home office with a coffee in hand (and wearing my PJs if I want) and comfortably complete my coursework.

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I'm doing the distance learning program at Florida State University. It is a 3 year (9 semester) part-time program. I don't EVER have to go to campus (unless I choose to go for graduation...which I most definitely will be doing) and my degree will look the exact same as someone who did the on-campus program (believe me...I've asked, haha). We meet weekly as a cohort via a video chat program and get a lecture just like we would on campus. I'm never taking more than 3 courses (usually 2) at a time. I get to focus on my clinical work!

My program is just starting, but so far, I've made such great bonds with my professors. Since the program is distance, they are adamant about responding to emails quickly and outlining/organizing everything that is delivered to students so well. The support that I've received from FSU's distance SLP program is incredible. I've also already bonded with quite a few other girls in my cohort via Facebook and email!

Some other distance SLP programs that I looked into:

Distance programs usually accept fewer students than on-campus programs and they are quite competitive. But if you are thinking about completing your master's in Speech-Language Pathology online, I say GO FOR IT! I'm so happy with my decision!


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