To stay up to date on news regarding the major and other information from SPA advisors, join the SPA Undergrad Advising Group. To do this, login to Flashline, then click on the Groups icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Search for "SPA Undergrad Advising," select and follow instructions for joining the group.
If you don't find an answer to your question, check under other class years or email your advisor
When can I do a semester abroad?
For most students the semester abroad would occur in Spring of their Sophomore year or a summer semester. Before deciding discuss with your Freshman or Sophomore advisor.
Is it better to do a minor or not?
Doing a minor is an individual decision. Some things to think about are: will the effort needed to complete a minor take away from doing well in the core SPA courses? Will the minor become a backup plan if I don't get into grad school or change my mind? What can I do with this minor? If you are thinking about a minor, talk with your advisor in SPA. You should/could also contact a faculty person in the minor area.
Students are encouraged to explore minor degrees. Follow this link to find out the kinds of minors available within the College of Education, Health, and Human Services.
What are the benefits of getting a minor?
A minor can enhance the SPA degree because the coursework in the minor may be related to the major. This will ultimately make an SPA major more marketable once a graduate degree is earned and the student is interviewing for positions.
A minor can become a major if the student finds that after 4 years of the undergrad program he/she either can't afford grad school, is very tired of school and needs to work, or if he/she does not get into grad school.
The minor provides an option for the SPA major that enhances the major degree and provides an employable backup plan for the future.
What happens if I make my minor my major and don't get an undergraduate degree in SPA? Does that mean I can't go to graduate school to become an SLP?
No, people from many different fields, who have worked for some to many years, decide to apply to graduate school to become an SLP. These people still have to apply and get accepted into grad school, but they are considered Post Bacs. This means that they need to take some UG courses from SPA, depending on their transcript and such.How will getting a minor affect my grades in the major?
That all depends on the minor selected and the kind of student you are. The minor coursework would fulfill the elective requirements so it would not be in addition to the total credits needed to graduate. It would just pertain to the focus of the types of electives chosen.
If I am considering a minor what should I do?
Talk with your advisor from SPA. You should also contact the department where you are considering the minor and meet with a faculty person there. Ask this person about the job market in that field. Ask the faculty person what it would take to turn the minor to a major should you decide to do this. Let the faculty person know you are majoring in SPA and ask him/her how a minor in the area you are considering would/could help you.
What if I am thinking about two different minors and can't decide?
Talk with faculty, and take a look at the courses within the minors. You might find that some of the coursework is similar across minors. So, take a class that could serve two different minors as you make your decision. This will give you a chance to get to know both fields related to the minor, get to know the different minor programs a bit better. And it will give you information to take back to your SPA faculty advisor as you make your decision.
I want to do the combined program, how to I register for this?
The combined program is not something you can register for. Students apply to begin graduate school during the Fall of their senior year. If accepted into graduate school at that time, they can begin their graduate studies during the last semester (Spring) of their senior year, and count the graduate coursework towards the total undergraduate credits.
How hard is it to get into graduate school?
Getting into graduate school is competitive. The admission committee evaluates each applicant's ability to succeed in graduate school by examining the student's transcript, GPA, letters or recommendation, GRE scores, GRE written language score, and student letter of intent.
What happens if I am not doing well?
Students should contact the professor for the class they are taking to talk about how to improve their own performance. Students should also contact their SPA advisor to discuss concerns and get help as soon as possible. There are many resources at KSU to help students succeed and learn. Students can learn about these on the website and can talk this over with an advisor or the class professor.
What are some good minors?
This depends on the student's interest. However, it isn't advisable for students to complete a minor that could not easily be converted to a major because a Master's degree is needed for employment in the field. For example, psychology would be a good minor. Yet, if a student doesn't get into grad school for SPA, he/she would still need a Masters in psychology in order to get a job.
Why do I have to take these courses in order?
The courses in SPA build upon each other. The content in one class is used to help students learn the content in the next class. Taking the courses out of sequence can really interfere with learning. Students should discuss any changes they want to make with an advisor.
What undergraduate courses are required?
The Kent CORE coursework and the required courses for the SPA major on the GPS Roadmap. Be aware that the American Speech Language Hearing Association requires minimum coursework in the following specific areas to be present on your transcript:
1. One Statistics course (quantitative methods in psychology, etc.)
2. One Physical Science course (physics, geology, oceanography, chemistry, etc.)
3. One Social/Behavioral Science course (psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.)
4. One Biological Sciences course (biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science, etc.)
For more detail, see ASHA Standard IV-A below - http://www.asha.org/Certification/2014-Speech-Language-Pathology-Certification-Standards/
“The applicant must have demonstrated knowledge of the biological sciences, physical sciences, statistics, and the social/behavioral sciences.
Implementation: Acceptable courses in biological sciences should emphasize a content area related to human or animal sciences (e.g., biology, human anatomy and physiology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, human genetics, veterinary science). Acceptable courses in physical sciences should include physics or chemistry. Acceptable courses in social/behavioral sciences should include psychology, sociology, anthropology, or public health. A stand-alone course in statistics is required. Research methodology courses in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) may not be used to satisfy the statistics requirement. A course in biological and physical sciences specifically related to CSD may not be applied for certification purposes to this category unless the course fulfills a university requirement in one of these areas.”
If you have any questions at all about undergraduate courses needed to meet the requirements, please ask your SPA advisor as soon as possible.
What is the combined program?
The "combined program" is a competitive admission in which the program admits a few students who apply from our KSU undergrad program. These students are then admitted "early" to the Master's program and allowed to get started taking some graduate courses in the major, usually during their last semester of senior year. Students must have a minimum of 90 credit hours to apply, so it is typically done late Junior year or early Senior year (depending on when you have the minimum credit hours).
The date to have all application materials in is October 15. Admission is competitive and there is not a hard and fast number that we admit, but it's usually a rather small number compared to our Fall admission. Combined students are admitted for and start in the Spring semester. Often, students are finishing their undergrad courses once admitted and are able to fit one or two graduate courses in their schedule.
A big advantage to being admitted to the combined program is that you know you have a seat in the graduate program, but if you don't make it in that round can always apply for the regular Fall admission. Application is done as a graduate school application including the following: GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent.
Before accumulating 64 hours. Forms are available at the EHHS College Advising Office in White Hall. The minimum GPA for admission to the major is 2.75. Keep in mind that your GPA will need to be much higher to get into graduate school.
Do I have to get a Master's degree?
Speech language pathology requires you to have a Master's degree to practice, so that is really the only option. Audiology requires you to have an Audiology Doctorate (AuD) to practice.
Where would I work?
Jobs are available in schools, hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, private practice, nursing homes, etc. The job market in speech pathology and audiology is outstanding and job satisfaction is high. Our students historically have nearly a 100% job rate after graduation with the Master's or AuD.
How much money would I make?
Starting salaries vary a lot, depending on geography and type of setting. Median salaries with experience are trending mid 50s to 60s, according to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (2008). Starting salary information is a little harder to find, but you might expect $40s to mid $50,000 range your first year out of school (2009-2010) depending on setting and geographic area. Speech Pathology and Audiology are in high demand, and are anticipated to be so for the next decade. ( www.bls.gov, www.asha.org)
How long does it take to finish?
The minimum degrees to practice are the M.A. for speech language pathology, and the AuD for audiology. The MA program takes around 6 semesters if all coursework and clinical experience is passed successfully on first try. The typical student takes six semesters to complete all requirements and graduate with the M.A. in speech pathology. The AuD takes around twelve semesters.
How difficult is the course work?
It depends on what sort of courses you find difficult. A few students find that the science-oriented coursework in the major may be a little more challenging, e.g., theories, anatomy and physiology and neurology, etc. Expectations for good performance in courses is high and at the graduate level, a C is unacceptable work. Each graduate course in the major has competencies that must be met, usually at 80% or better, and if not met, remediation work must be done by the student.
What kinds of clinical practice would I do in grad school?
As an undergraduate, you would observe a minimum of 25 clock hours of clinical practice to meet the requirement of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Once you are admitted to grad school, you would work directly with clients with communication disorders under the close supervision of a licensed, certified speech language pathologist who is a clinical instructor in our program. You will also have supervised clinical placements off campus. There are clinical competencies that must be met as you work with each client. You will receive specific feedback and support from clinical instructors to help you meet the clinical competencies. Remediation will be implemented if you have difficulty, including added instructional strategies, more experiences in the area of difficulty, etc. You will have experience with a variety of communication disorders, client ages and placement settings before you graduate. Both SLP and AUD are LIFESPAN fields, so you are trained to work with all ages and the disabilities within our Scope of Practice for SLP ( http://www.asha.org/policy/SP2007-00283/) and AUD ( http://www.asha.org/policy/SP2004-00192.htm).
Will I like being a speech language pathologist or audiologist?
Yes! Both professions have a high degree of job satisfaction. Salaries are good, the job market is excellent because the fields are in high demand, and there is a lot of satisfaction from helping others. There is excellent information for students on the website for the American Speech Language Hearing Association at: http://www.asha.org/students/
What skills should I cultivate as an undergraduate to help me succeed in graduate school and the profession?
Here are some examples:
a. express yourself well in writing and speaking, b. use empathy and understanding of others c. respect differences of ideas, beliefs and backgrounds, d. function well independently and in groups, e. work hard and be reliable, f. use critical thinking and problem solving, creative thinking, g. be honest and ethical.
How do I get observation hours?
Prior to beginning a clinical graduate program in speech-language pathology, students will need to observe 25 clock hours of speech-language pathology. The observation hours must be within the ASHA Scope of Practice of Speech-Language Pathology and must be under the supervision of a qualified professional who holds current ASHA certification in the appropriate practice area. These hours may be completed in our clinic and off-campus. After reading the details below, please ask at the front desk for details and the relevant forms.
Signing up for observation hours within the KSU Speech and Hearing Clinic: There is a sign up sheet on the materials door. You must sign up for the observation times. You also need to let the supervisor and student clinician know. It is important to remember that this is a professional activity. So, dress neatly and professionally. Introduce yourself in a professional manner to the family once you talk with the supervisor and student clinician. Remember that you are there to observe. The supervisor will let you know when it is time for you to ask questions, share thoughts, or make comments.
Obtaining observation hours outside of the KSU clinic: Whomever you observe MUST have CCC after his/her name. This means the person is certified by ASHA. Again, observations conducted at a different facility are considered a professional activity. You must arrange the time of the observation with the therapist, contact the clinician if you need to cancel the observation, dress neatly and professionally, and use professional manners and language during the interaction. Remember you are observing and save any questions, comments you might have for a time when the supervisor indicates you can share your thoughts.
Regardless of how you obtain your observation hours, there is paperwork that needs to be completed. For the KSU clinic, there is a triplicate form that gets filled out and signed by the supervisor. For outside agencies, you use the triplicate form and a separate form where you describe your observation. The therapist/supervisor you observe signs the forms and provides his/her ASHA number. This MUST happen or you will not get credit for the observation.
All paperwork is then placed in Mrs. Kunkle's mailbox. She records these and will provide students with a printout upon request. Therefore, if you attend a different university master's program, the observation hours transfer.
You need to complete all observation hours BEFORE you can begin your clinical experience in graduate school for speech-language pathology. Other than those required in major coursework, observation hours are not required of students seeking a graduate degree in audiology, .
*You will find additional good information on a career in audiology or speech language pathology here: http://www.asha.org/careers/professions/default-overview.htm
Most Junior/Senior FAQs relate to graduate school in the field. Watch this video of SLP and AUD graduate students talk about their experiences applying for graduate school as well as the graduate school experience.
Should I apply to the combined program?
The "combined program" is a competitive admission in which the program admits a few students who apply from our undergrad program. These students are then admitted "early" to the Master's program and allowed to get started taking some graduate courses in the major, usually during their last semester of senior year.
Students must have a minimum of 90 credit hours to apply, so it is typically done late Junior year or early Senior year (depending on when you have the minimum credit hours). The date to have all application materials in is October 15. Admission is competitive and there is not a hard and fast number that we admit, but it's usually a rather small number compared to our Fall admission. Combined students are admitted for and start in the Spring semester. Often, students are finishing their undergrad courses once admitted and are able to fit one or two graduate courses in their schedule.
A big advantage to being admitted to the combined program is that you know you have a seat in the graduate program, but if you don't make it in that round can always apply for the regular Fall admission. Application is done as a graduate school application. Please see application procedures here.
What skills should I cultivate as an undergraduate to help me succeed in graduate school and the profession?
Here are some examples: a) express yourself well in writing and speaking, b) use empathy and understanding of others, c) respect differences of ideas, beliefs and backgrounds, d) function well independently and in groups, e) work hard and be reliable, f) use critical thinking and problem solving, creative thinking, g) be honest and ethical. You will find additional information on a career in audiology or speech language pathology here.
What are things I can do to improve my chances of getting into graduate school in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology?
Most graduate programs look at a combination of grades, letters of recommendation, graduate record exam (GRE) scores, and student letters of intent when making their decisions about graduate school admission. Below are some tips for improving each component.
a) Grades: A strong grade point average (GPA) tells admission committees that you are hard working, speaks to your intellectual skills, and provides evidence as to how you might perform at the graduate level. If you are struggling in this area, it may help to closely examine your methods of studying. Talk with classmates who are successful and find out what methods work for them. Talk with your instructors. They have lots of experience both giving and taking tests and can also offer useful advice. Access the Student Success Center on campus, which provides help with study strategies and tutoring.
Caveat: Although this is an important part of a student's application, it is important that students do not solely rely on GPA. It is possible for a student with a high GPA but who is very weak in the other areas not to be admitted.
b) Letters of Recommendation: Students will need three letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to the student's ability to perform as a graduate student or as a professional in the field. Examine the recommender rating form for the graduate program to which you are applying. You want your recommenders to know you well enough to rate you on that form. Typically recommenders are asked to comment on your academic record, your leadership skills, your interpersonal communication skills, and various other aspects of your potential for academic and clinical development at the graduate level.
Each recommender may have different requirements for the process to begin. Some may want to meet with you if they do not know you well and most will want to review your resume or at least a list of your activities over the past few years. Some will ask to see a draft of your letter of intent.
A professor with a large class may not be able to comment on a particular student's abilities beyond what is listed in the grade book, and this is not likely to be enough information for that recommender to speak to your fitness for graduate school. Therefore, connect with your potential recommenders so they can see how you interact with others, that you are genuinely interested in the field and the subject matter (not just in getting points), and that you can think about the subject matter in analytical ways.
Of course, if you do connect with a potential recommender, do your best work. Professors can speak to your written communication skills based on your papers or on your email communications. If you are volunteering in research or clinical settings, be punctual, do requested work in a timely manner, demonstrate initiative and leadership, and show that you can problem solve and generate new ideas. Not all of your recommenders have to be in the SPA department. There are many research volunteer opportunities across campus (e.g., psychology, human development and family studies, special education, etc.)
Recommenders who know you from a research lab setting will know you well and will be able to best illustrate how well suited you are for a graduate program. However, if you have not made these connections by the time you are applying to a graduate program, it will be difficult to obtain the best letters.
If you ask for a letter and the potential recommender declines, it is probably because the person either 1) does not know you well enough or 2) would not be able to recommend you based on their knowledge of your skills. Be thankful that the person declined instead of writing you a disappointing letter. Move on and find someone who could speak to your skills more favorably.
c) GRE scores: Commercially available study guides are a good place to start with regard to preparing to take the GRE. Be sure to set aside plenty of time to study. You can improve your chances through preparation, so do not neglect to do so. Students may also improve their scores by retaking the GRE, and doing so does not hurt the student's chances. When reading program websites and viewing the average GRE score, remember that the average lies in the middle of a range. Your GRE score may be below the average for the program, but if other aspects of your application are strong, you may be able to overcome a lower score. Some graduate programs look closely at your writing score from the GRE. Therefore, be sure to develop your writing skills during your undergraduate program.
d) Letters of Intent (also called personal statements): These are typically 1-2 pages, single spaced essays that are submitted with your graduate application. Take care to read the instructions for each school to which you apply as they may differ from school to school. Remember that you are asking to study to be a professional in communication sciences. Therefore, it is important that you show the ability to communicate clearly and effectively. More tips on writing the letter of intent for Kent State's application can be found HERE.
To how many graduate schools should I apply?
It is wise to apply broadly. Look at the ASHA graduate program database and identify schools that better match your academic profile. You may want to apply to 1-2 lower acceptance rate schools, 1-2 higher acceptance rate schools, and 1-2 in the middle. If you have particular interests within the field, look for schools that have faculty specializing in those areas.
How do I apply to Kent State's graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology?
Application procedures for our graduate program can be found here.
What if I don't get into graduate school?
Because graduate slots exceed the number of interested, and often qualified, students, many students will not get into graduate school. At this point, the student has several options, a) apply elsewhere, b) re-apply after taking actions to improve components of the application, and c) consider a related field.
a) Apply elsewhere: By searching the ASHA database for graduate programs, students may be able to find programs with higher admission rates. It may be that you did not apply to a wide enough range of schools and that doing so would result in a successful application.
b) Re-apply after taking actions to improve components of the application. Most students are aware of which areas were weakest about their applications. If not, students are encouraged to meet with a faculty member to discuss what areas need the most improvement. Perhaps you need to re-take a few courses to improve GPA. Or maybe the student needs to re-take the GRE after more careful study. It may be that working for a year in a related field would give the student valuable experiences with populations most serviced by speech-language pathologists and audiologists. Although this lag may seem disappointing, it could be an opportunity to do something different, such as work abroad, live in another part of the country, or just have experience working full time.
c) Consider a related field. Speech-language pathology and audiology are fields that involve interpersonal interaction, application of science to human behavior, and helping others to live life more fully. There are many other fields that also include these components. Education, special education, public health, nursing, and many others. One way to look into alternatives is by searching Kent's GPS site. Your academic advisor may also be able to help you assess what careers are best suited to your interests and skills.
TRANSFER Advising FAQS
What should I bring to my advising meeting?
Any papers that the professional advisors in White Hall have given you. Examples:
- List of which courses you have taken that meet CORE requirements
I am a pre-major in SPA. What do I need to do to declare the major?
If you have 60 hours and a 3.0 overall, you should declare the major. To declare the major, you need to go to the EHHS advising office and fill out a form (unless they've put this online and not mentioned it to me). Usually you do not need an appointment to fill out this form.
If I am meeting with my SPA advisor, do I still need to meet with an EHHS advisor?
Yes. Set up an appointment with EHHS. They will then initiate a GPS audit for you if you don't already have one, and review it carefully if you do. It can always help to have a professional EHHS advisor spot any problems with non-major course requirements well ahead of graduation deadlines.
I plan to ask three of my professors to write me letters of recommendation for graduate school. How do I ask them, and what should I expect of this process?
You should ask each recommender what their preferences are. Most will want to meet with you if they do not know you well, and perhaps even if they do. Most will want to review your resume or at least a list of your activities over the past few years. Some will ask to see a draft of your letter of intent. Writing a letter of recommendation is a careful and deliberate process for faculty. We are asked to comment on your academic record, your leadership skills, your interpersonal communication skills, and various other aspects of your potential for academic and clinical development at the graduate level. You should find out what your recommender is likely to say in the letter.
Specific to students who have transferred in from other Kent campuses or other (non-Kent) Universities:
Usually, the first step for transfer students is to meet with a College of Education, Health and Human Services advisor who will take care of allocating most of the courses you have taken to their equivalencies here at Kent.
The next step is to meet with the transfer student advisor to discuss any courses the EHHS advisor was not able to match to courses required by the SPA major.
Here are two typical examples:
1. If you took a Biology course at another university, and the EHHS advisor is not sure whether your previous course may be substituted for BSCI 10001 Human Biology, your transfer advisor will review your course's syllabus and make that determination.
2. If you took course(s) in a Speech Pathology & Audiology or Communication Sciences and Disorders program at another university, your transfer advisor will ask you for the syllabus for each of the course(s) in question. Your transfer advisor will then ask Kent State University Speech Pathology & Audiology faculty to determine whether your particular course(s) may be substituted for our required course(s).
Your transfer advisor will also make sure you are on track to take SPA courses in the correct sequence, and to help you seek permission from faculty if you need an exception to the sequence (this is rare, and not recommended). Once you have a written plan and all transfer coursework has been allocated properly, the transfer advisor will turn your advising over to the faculty member to whom those with your grade level and last name letter are assigned. Just as all students do, you will continue to see both your EHHS professional advisor and your SPA faculty advisor as necessary throughout your academic career here.
I am currently researching/looking into graduate programs in a few schools in Ohio and surrounding states. I've noticed most of the schools have 'Intro to Communication Disorders' as a prerequisite. I am concerned about this because it is being offered at an overlapping time slot as one of our required courses for next spring. Is there any course I've taken thus far that would be equivalent to this course? Do you know if it will be offered any other time, possibly summer? Another concern of mine is that numerous schools require ASL. I would thoroughly enjoy taking ASL, but I'm sure you know how difficult it is to get into those sequences at KSU. Do you have any other suggestions for me? Thank you for your time.
These are great questions and I'm glad you asked for clarification.
However, I can explain the different "requirements" mentioned by various graduate schools, and reassure you that your undergraduate degree in SPA from Kent State will be absolutely sufficient to enter other graduate schools. Undergraduate programs have individual requirements for their graduates to complete. Ours include the courses on your Roadmap. Other schools may have other requirements on their "roadmaps". However, GRADUATE programs will generally admit students who have earned an undergraduate degree in SPA or Communication Sciences and Disorders even if the student has not had exactly the same courses the students in their own undergraduate program do. For example, Kent State's undergraduate program requires Neural Processes, SPA 44111, right? But Ohio State and Ohio University have no such requirement. When Ohio State and OU undergraduate-degree holders apply to Kent State for Graduate School, we do not turn around and insist that they take Neural Processes before they can come. We accept their undergraduate degree.