The AuD Student Checklist: Interview with Sara Neumann, Fourth-Year Audiology Student
Douglas L. Beck, AuD, spoke with Neumann, a member of the SAA Board of Directors and a co-author of the “AuD Student Checklist: A Guide to Navigate the Externship Search.”
Academy: Hi, Sara. Nice to speak with you again.
Neumann: Hi, Dr. Beck. Good to be with you, today.
Academy: Sara, I know you’ve been working with your colleagues on assembling a much-needed and finally completed resource titled “AuD Student Checklist: A Guide to Navigate the Externship Search.” Congratulations on this wonderful and pragmatic accomplishment! I’d like to spend a few moments reviewing what you’ve created.
Neumann: Absolutely. That would be terrific.
Academy: Okay. The checklist is divided into four sections, each section correlates with each year of graduate work and the milestones associated with each year. Please tell me about section one?
Neumann: Sure. So as you said, section one is actually “year one.” So this section details the advantages of creating a working binder. The binder should have sections such as academics, clinical work, background information, and certification. If students create this binder either as a physical binder or a virtual binder in a Dropbox or electronic version, as first-year AuD students, this can help them as they approach their externship year and graduation.
Academy: And so the idea seems to be that it’s much easier to document things as you go along, rather than trying to recall them and get copies of documents later.
Neumann: Exactly. And just as an example the background checks can take months to acquire, so it’s better to save it the first time it’s ordered, rather than having to order another copy at a later date and potentially lose a few months!
Academy: I think it’s true that for most of us who’ve been licensed for a few decades, we actually didn’t have to acquire a background check, as best I recall. So you’re saying the actual police department background check is necessary for students and/or newly licensed clinicians?
Neumann: Right, many clinics, hospitals, universities, and other facilities require them now, so it’s good to keep a copy. Also, you mentioned academics, and that’s another thing that’s so important…Transcripts are sometimes very slow and costly to acquire, too. And so we recommend that when the student orders copies for grad school or other purposes, get a copy for yourself, too, and place it in the binder. That way you’ll always have an “unofficial” copy to use if and when it’s needed. It really does save time and money as one goes through graduate school and gets interviews for their first job as an audiologist.
Academy: I agree. You also mention in section one to start outlining and creating a skeleton curriculum vitae (CV).
Neumann: Exactly…as you said earlier, it’s so much easier to log entries into your skeleton CV as you go along, rather than trying to remember it all later. In particular, it’s really hard to remember the exact dates you staffed a clinic, the clinic’s address, and who your supervisor was years later. The binder allows you to create and build the documents as you progress through graduate school.
Academy: And I guess the same is true for professional references?
Neumann: Absolutely. We recommend establishing relationships with professors and supervisors and writing down their contact information for later use.
Academy: And one thing I always recommend: As soon as you finish a class, and assuming you’ve done really well and established a great rapport with the professor or instructor, ask for a written recommendation right away. Then you have it and you can include that with your applications if you so desire, or if they ask for three references. Of course, you can always request a reference letter years later, but memories fade and maybe the professor has changed locations or won’t be able to get to it when you need it. I recommend get it while the “getting’s good” and you can always try to get another at a later date.
Neumann: Good point. And to finish section one, we talk about getting together with your academic advisor (or whom ever holds this position) to make sure you have a solid plan for the externship year and a clear path to graduation. And of course, we recommend getting involved with the local (state-based) audiology organization as well as the Student Academy of Audiology (at the university and national level).
Academy: Okay, tell me about section two?
Neumann: Sure, and again section two correlates with “year two.” So at that time, we recommend a general update of the entire binder, and then focus on browsing the Externship Registry, too. This allows the student to see what opportunities are available and create a tentative list of places they would like to apply. Of particular importance is noting the dates that applications are due and keep that in mind for the next year when it is time for you to apply. We also suggest revisiting the program’s policies and protocols because each university is different and some clinical coordinators have their ideas, too, regarding the best way to proceed.
Academy: Very good. And then year three is where things start happening.
Neumann: Right. This is where the rubber meets the road and this is the time to start pulling it all together with regard to the applications and their timelines, updating the reference list, and getting current letters of recommendation. We also suggest reviewing the Web sites of the placements you’re most interested in to see what may have changed since your initial interest in that location, and we recommend you start applying well ahead of the deadlines. Further, we offer advice on taking the Praxis examination.
Academy: And then finally, the fourth year. Things to do during your externship!
Neumann: Right. Of course we recommend updating the CV again and posting it on HearCareers for high visibility among potential employers. Then, it’s so important to accurately document your hours along the way for certification. We also recommend setting up meetings at AudiologyNOW! during the fourth year with potential employers.
Academy: Thanks, Sara. This sounds like a “must-have” document for all AuD students.
Neumann: Yes, we think it is. And I would also like to give credit to Courtney Coburn, second-year AuD student at Northwestern University and the Education Committee who contributed to this document. If students have any questions about this document or about the externship process in general they can e-mail the Student Academy of Audiology.
Academy: Excellent. Thanks, Sara!
Sara Neumann is a fourth-year audiology student at Illinois State University. She is also a member of the SAA Board of Directors (2011-2012) and the SAA Education Committee.
Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor for the American Academy of Audiology.