Lauren Thomas, a first year graduate student in communication disorders at Auburn University, is excited about what her future holds in the field, but it has been a long road and there is still a ways to go.
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Thomas worked hard on her undergraduate degree to ensure a place for her in the tough and selective graduate program here at Auburn.
“I majored in communication disorders for my undergraduate degree,” said Thomas. “The application process was really tough. You have to have a really high GRE score, about a 3.8 GPA and three different recommendation letters from teachers. It’s a very strenuous process.”
The Auburn program is incredibly selective when it comes to admittance. For acceptance into the undergraduate program, students can be admitted in the Summer or Fall. Each class of undergraduates holds only about 30 students. In the graduate program, students from all over are able to apply for Auburn University’s program, and each year about 150 students apply to get in, but only about 20-25 students are accepted into the graduate program.
“It was extremely rewarding when I got my acceptance letter,” said Thomas. “I didn’t have to be put on the waiting list, so that was such a relief. All the work of getting my GRE score up, keeping up with my grades all throughout my undergraduate degree and being able to have good recommendations really paid off when I got accepted.”
Thomas recalled the story of when she opened her acceptance letter saying that she literally screamed. She was in the Student Center so when she screamed everyone knew that something exciting had happened, and they were all staring at her.
Thomas has officially begun her graduate degree, and is only a few weeks into it. She said that she is getting a handle on the schedule, but there is still much to get used to.
“My first few weeks have been extremely overwhelming with a ton of adjustment,” said Thomas. “I have learned that it is pretty much a job everyday. It is no longer just about going to class and then getting to go home. I’ve had to heavily rely on my organization skills to get me through.”
Thomas eventually wants to work in a school system setting with kids who have more basic language disorders. Another option for graduate degree communication disorder students is working in a hospital with more severe cases of speech disorders that could be due to many factors. However, Thomas feels she has the heart and passion to work with kids.
“Being able to see the effect that you can have on a child’s everyday life is by far the best part about being in my program,” said Thomas. “Children and adults who have speech disorders or delays struggle everyday because speech is such an important part of our lives, but being able to be there to help them communicate in everyday life is very beneficial for me.”
It is obvious that this student has a passion for what she does, and what she will eventually do for a living. It is because of her enthusiasm and heart for her field that Thomas is looking forward to one day being the difference for someone else.