Wednesday, October 11, 2006

First NSSLHA Meeting of Fall 2006


Thank you to all of those who made it to our first meeting of the year! We were extremely excited to see many new faces in addition to our faithful members. We hope to see even more people in our next meeting!

Many thanks to Dr. Ivory from our Audiology Department for updating students on the present situation with Audiology programs in the U.S. As many of you are aware, the last Master’s degree students will have graduated from accredited universities prior to December 2006. The transition from Master’s level practice to a clinical doctorate honors the new standards for professional education and requirements set forth by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA), American Academy of Audiology (AAA), and ASHA. Therefore, all graduates must have doctoral degrees to qualify for national certification beginning January 1.

Because of this transition, many Audiology programs will no longer be accredited, including the majority of programs in California. According to Dr. Ivory, there are currently 72 “viable” Doctoral Programs (accredited institutions that are admitting and graduating students). At present, 18 states have only one program (including California), and there are 13 states that do not have any programs.

In California, the one currently available program is the joint University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and San Diego State University (SDSU) program. However, there are two prospective programs in development.

  • 1) University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) – San Francisco State University (SFSU) joint program
  • Contact Marcia Raggio, Ph.D. at (415) 338-7653

  • 2) University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – California State University, Northridge (CSUN)
  • Contact Steve Sinclair, Ph.D. at (818) 677-2852

Please be advised that these two programs are currently in discussion; there is no prospective date yet for when the programs will be accredited to grant doctoral degrees.

What should a student interested in Audiology do?

Either program at UCSF/SFSU or UCLA/CSUN may accept applicants for Fall 2007. Prospective students should contact the program directors to ask when they will begin accepting applications. Be aware that the date anticipated may change so frequently check back with the school.

Alternatively, you may consider looking into other programs located out of state. Competition is fierce in (overpopulated) California. For those who wait for the two California joint programs to begin accepting applicants may face the largest applicant pool in these schools’ history. Regarding programs outside of California, keep in mind that prospective students of ethnic minorities may be at an advantage. Many programs are currently promoting diversity amongst their cohorts.

Although programs in rural areas may not be as appealing as sunny Southern California, Dr. Ivory advises finding a program that can/will send you wherever a student desires for the fourth year of clinical off-campus externship. This option will allow students to travel back home for their fourth year in the program. Simply stated by Dr. Ivory, “Get in a program. Make progress. Get out.”

For more information on Audiology programs, please visit the ASHA website at and contact the programs directly.


Following was an open forum where second year graduate students in the SLP program answered questions informally presented. Thank you to our panel of contributors! To give students different perspectives on the graduate program at CSULA, NSSLHA invited several second year graduate students with varying backgrounds:

  • Vanessa – part-time student; received Bachelor’s degree from CSULA; part-time SLP; full-time mother!
  • Nancy – full-time student; post-baccalaureate studies completed at CSULB
  • Kristin – full-time student; post-baccalaureate studies completed at State University of New York at Fredonia; relocated her and hubby all the way to California; NSSLHA Newsletter Editor
  • Kim – full-time student; post-baccalaureate studies completed at CSULA on the one-year track; NSSLHA President
  • Cheryl – post-baccalaureate studies completed at CSULA on the one-year track; full-time student; NSSLHA Secretary

Our graduate students come from all walks of life. With their knowledge and experience, they responded to the following questions presented~

This is my first quarter here as a post-baccalaureate student. I am also on the one-year track (finishing all pre-requisites to apply for the graduate program in one year). Am I supposed to apply now, even though I’ve been here less than a quarter?

If you are planning to begin a graduate program in Fall 2007, then now is the time to begin the application process. Although your application will only list one quarter of grades received in post-baccalaureate courses completed, the schools also consider your undergraduate coursework and GPA. Keep in mind that they will continue to examine prospective students’ grades after receiving applications. For CSULA, the deciding committee (a.k.a. your professors) have easy access to your grades. For other schools, they will require official transcripts at the time applications are submitted and when the programs begin next Fall.

If you haven’t spoken to your advisor yet, make an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that you will complete all of the coursework required prior to the graduate program.

What is the average GRE score? What is a “safe” score?

Although the minimum score is 900, we recommend a score of at least 1000. In the past, Dr. Klein has provided a chart delineating average GPAs and GRE scores from past cohorts in a graduate school applicant meeting in December or January. Plan to attend that meeting for more information on applying.

If you have already received a GRE score, it is okay to ask your advisor if they think your score is competitive enough. Keep in mind that every year consists of a different applicant pool so averages will differ from year to year. Just because the minimum is 900 doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply if you received a lower score.

Would you recommend requesting letters of recommendations from the professors here or from my undergraduate program?

This is really a judgment call on your own part. If you have a reference that can speak highly about your academic work, character, and strengths then requesting a letter from this person will likely be a better referent than one who doesn’t really know you and simply vouches that you received a good grade in the class. Do your best to get letters from people who really know you and can emphasize your personable traits as well.

On the other hand, asking the professors here can be beneficial since they are the deciding committee. If you have impressed them, the odds are that they will write a good letter for you.

All professors are extremely busy and will be asked to complete many letters of recommendations. Therefore, requesting a letter earlier on in the process is a good idea. Don’t forget to follow-up. Remember that they are doing you a favor so be respectful and considerate of their time.

Lastly, it is a good idea to prepare a packet for each professor. Suggestions for enclosures include:

  • Application essay (even if it is a rough draft)
  • Resume/Vitae
  • Letter of Recommendation form and due date
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope

Is there a difference between a Masters of Science and Masters of Art Degree?

The difference is that an MS degree requires more science classes. In the long run, employers do not seem to prefer one or the other, as long as you graduate from an accredited institution and have a state license.

Will I have to quit my job?

Your advisor will highly recommend that you not work during the graduate program, but for some, it is necessary. Keep in mind that you can apply for financial aid and scholarships. CSULA offers a variety of scholarships and the Communication Disorders Department also offers its own, apart from the CSULA Financial Aid Department.

What is the graduation rate?

The graduation rate is very high, as is the percentage of students who pass the Praxis exam on the first attempt. In fact, the Praxis passing rate is higher than the national average – which is a testament to our professors’ intelligence and skill in relaying their knowledge to us!


Good luck to prospective applicants!


  1. Kristin11:29 PM

    Oh my gosh! Can we all please give a standing ovation to our incredible secretary for such a VERY thorough job on the meeting minutes!! Cheryl, you always do a great job, but truly you have outdone yourself this time!

    Bravo to the best NSSLHA secretary EVER!!!

  2. Anonymous12:20 AM

    Very impressive!Great notes Cheryl!I bet everyone is now jealous that they don't have you in class with them!

  3. Nancy4:26 PM

    I love NSSLHA!! Our officers ROCK!!!