Speech-Language Pathology Grad School Admissions Requirements
In order to improve your chances of getting into speech pathology grad school, you must first have an honest and passionate desire to help children and adults acquire, improve, or regain their ability to communicate. Speech therapy can be an intense career, as it is people-focused, and those people can often present challenges, as well as influence your emotions. This is especially true of autistic children, those with co-morbid special needs, and people who have lost their speech and/or language abilities due to disease or injury. Once you have firmly established your desire and commitment to become a speech therapist, follow the steps below to apply to grad schools and fulfill admissions requirements. This collection of tips derive from the sites Grad School Tips and ASHA’s Planning for Entry into Graduate School in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
Research Your Options and Apply Early
If you are still completing your undergraduate degree, concentrate on doing quality work and earning high grades. Conduct research of speech-language pathology grad schools, taking into consideration various factors: program offerings, location of the school, cost, available financial aid, clinical or practicum requirements, and reviews or testimonials about the quality of the school and its speech-language pathology program. Choose several schools that meet your qualifications and apply as early as possible according to the admissions guidelines of the respective schools. Fill out your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to establish your financial picture ahead of time. If possible, visit the school and talk to professors and students; otherwise, explore the school’s website or forum, or email professors in the CSD program to learn as much as you can about the program and the school.
Admissions Essay or Personal Statement
You must typically write an admissions essay or personal statement explaining why you want to earn a specific degree and describing your goals for a career with that degree. For instance, ASHA recommends you identify the following professional goals:
- Determine which clients you prefer: children, adolescents, or adults.
- Decide what area you desire for your specialization, such as a particular disorder like autism or hearing impairments.
- Establish if your preference is clinical administration in a health or education setting, or if you may plan to pursue a Ph.D. to conduct research in the field or become an audiologist.
The essay or statement is usually included in the application package and therefore should represent your best work. It presents your first chance to impress the grad school professors who read the essays and influence decisions about your acceptance. Check the resources at the end of this article for a thorough tutorial by Education Planner.org about how to create a high quality, professional essay.
Sometimes, in addition to your essay, schools may request letters of reference from past or current instructors who can verify the quality of your work and your determination to succeed in grad school.