Applying to Graduate School
Research – Begin researching programs and gathering information, applications, etc. from programs you are interested in applying to. Different programs have different requirements and application processes; it’s better to know about these variations on the front end. Give yourself a wide variety of options (i.e. different locations, large schools, small schools, etc.) Narrow down your field of choices by the beginning of your senior year.
GRE – Thoroughly prepare yourself for the GRE during the summer before your senior year. Take the exam during the first half of the Fall semester of your senior year. Be sure to allow yourself enough time to retake the exam if necessary. See the attached sheet for more information on preparing for and taking the GRE. Ideally, programs prefer a combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections.
GPA – Your within-the-major GPA is very important. Ideally, you should have a GPA of 3.5 in your Audiology and Speech Pathology classes. Your cumulative GPA should be as close to 3.5 as possible. You will not necessarily be punished for a bad freshman year, or a D in Western Civ, but make every attempt possible to boost your GPA. This can be done through elective courses.
Each program will require one or more copies of your transcript from each college/university you have attended. Most require official copies directly from the Registrar’s Office, so it is a good idea to plan ahead and be sure to have them sent in plenty of time before the deadline.
Personal Statement/Letter of Intent – This is a very important part of your application. This is the only place you have to tell the admissions committee WHY you have the potential to become an outstanding graduate student and speech pathologist or audiologist. Take some time to really think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. This is your chance to redeem yourself for maybe a poor freshman/sophomore GPA or less than adequate GRE scores. This statement should be one-two pages long, no longer than two pages, and should say more than, “I want to help people,” or “I have a passion for working with children.”
Letters of Recommendation – Most schools require 2-4 letters of recommendation. This is where getting to know your professors really pays off. The better they know you as an individual person and not just a face in the crowd, the better they will be able to convey your abilities and potential as a graduate student. You will also need to provide relevant information that will be helpful to them while writing your letter. Each professor has his or her own preferences as to the information they will need, so it is good to ask them in advance instead of just throwing a pile of papers on their desk. Typically, they will request a copy of your transcript, personal statement, list of programs you are applying and the application deadlines, individual rating forms for each program, GPA and GRE scores and a picture. Ask your professors to write your letters early, to insure they will have plenty of time to complete them before the deadline. Remember to be considerate of their schedules, it is usually not a good idea to ask their help during mid-term and finals week or a week before the deadline. Also, be sure to follow up with each professor in a timely manner to see if they have any questions and ensure that your recommendation letter has been submitted before the deadline.
Application and Application Fee – All schools have an application and application fee that must be paid in order for your application to be processed. Be sure to research this aspect thoroughly, as some programs require separate applications to the college or university’s graduate school as well as to the individual program.
Financial Aid/Graduate Assistantships – This is another aspect of the application process that must be researched completely, as each school has a different method for awarding aid. Some are merit-based and awarded directly from your application and require no other type of application and some have a separate application for each award. Many programs require a resume to be submitted along with this application, so start early compiling your resume and assuring it is complete and 100% accurate. It is a good idea to have several people review your resume before you submit it. Also, there may be several different sources from within one program where you can apply for aid, be sure to take advantage of every possibility offered to you.
MEET ALL DEADLINES! Deadlines for applications are typically anywhere between January 15-February 15. Do not be late with any of your application materials. Organization is key to meeting all deadlines, as you will have materials being submitted from several different people and it is up to you to make sure it all arrives on time. It is a good idea to call the program after you feel enough time as passed for your materials to get there to verify everything has been received.
Celebrate the past, present, and future of ASP with us in the pages of the Audiology & Speech Pathology 2014 Annual Newsletter
Department of Audiology & Speech Pathology
578 South Stadium Hall, UT
Knoxville, TN 37996-0740
Phone: (865) 974-5019
Fax: (865) 974-1539