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Schools for "average" applicants?

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I'm an undergrad linguistics major and senior at a university in Florida. I will graduate with a 3.6 GPA and all pre-reqs completed despite being an out of field applicant (my school doesn't have a CSD major but does offer the pre-reqs as electives). I have a decent amount of hours observing SLP's in a private practice and in a hospital, with one of the SLP's promising to write me a glowing LOR. I also haven't taken the GRE (gasp!) but have started to hit magoosh pretty hard and will take it soon. 

I was betting on graduating in the 3.8 range, but life happens (neuroanatomy and any course that has anything to do with math) and I'm sorta freaking out now, seeing as even the 3.8's and 3.9's on this forum have anxiety about not getting in. It's my understanding that Florida is a bit of a hotbed at the moment, so I'm willing to relocate just about anywhere in the US, even though in state tuition sure sounds lovely. 

Does anyone have any suggestions for schools to apply to that don't exclusively accept the student with a 3.9 GPA, an LOR from Obama, and 12 years of experience working as an SLPA? 

Also, bonus question/conspiracy theory: I currently have a 3.56. I want to apply with a 3.60 (which I'll have by the end of the next 2 semesters). If I want grad schools to see that 3.60, should I take a semester off before applying? Also feel free to share your favorite drink recipes too because I need one after this. 

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In my experience, you will not have a problem. You'll likely be waitlisted initially and it'll be stressful and horrible, but our stats are similar and I got into state schools. (I honestly didn't even try for any 'prestigious' schools, and only applied to two private schools because of the cost of tutition. I knew my grades weren't going to secure me a GA and I couldn't afford the tutition without it.)

I was an out of major application too (English degree) with a 3.52 in undergrad, a 3.8 in-major (because I hate math too, and a 3.56 in my pre-reqs. 145Q;153V;4AW 

I applied to 7 schools, was accepted 2 (one off the waitlist) and waitlisted to 5. Had I not declined my position on the waitlist after accepting my second offer, I suspect I may have gotten into a couple more too.

Although I can't speak for FL (only the PA, NJ, MD area), I think you have a good chance. You definitely have more experience than I did, and you'll probably do better on the GREs too.

These boards had me stressed out of my mind for the past year while I took my pre-reqs and applied to schools. While I do not doubt that it is hard to get into grad school, because oh my god it is, I don't reccomend panicing. You are certainly within the parameters expected of you. Remember nearly everyone is applies to 5+ schools and that inflates the number of applications a program receives. Those 400-500+ applicants for each program have overlap and you can't accept more than one! Sure, schools will show preference in early acceptances and GA positions to those with 3.8 and above, but you definitely can get in. Check Asha's EdFind for schools you're interested in and narrow down your search to which ones accept within your GPA range, if you don't trust those stats ask the admissions team at each program. Write the best personal statement you can, want it, and it will happen.

In the worstcase scenario you try again, plenty of people get in on their second or third try and that's nothing to be ashamed about. If anything it'll give you more time to work and save up for your future program!

Also, I don't think the difference between a 3.6 and a 3.56 is large enough to wait to apply. It'll help if you have to apply a second time, but I don't think it's necessary. Unless you'd like to have a gap year and take some time to save up and get more experience, I'd apply the way it is now because there's a good chance that'll be good enough.

Good luck!!! And definitely go for the Moscow Mule! 

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@hopefulsp Your stats were better than mine and I had my undergraduate degree in CDIS! Below are my tips from applying for grads school that I think worked for me. It took me 3 different times to get into grad school so like @StressedSLPHopeful said it's nothing to be ashamed of. I wish someone had told me that when I first applied because you feel so embarrassed and ashamed when in fact the average person takes 2-3 cycles to get in.

1. Ask for more than the standard 2-3 letters of recommendation

For my last application cycle I ended up getting 4 letters of recommendation, 2 that were from professors and 2 that were past supervisors of mine. I think this helped me to stand out and also gave the committee an opportunity to not only see my academically, but also personally. It also is going above and beyond to prove to them why you are worthy.


2. If you can, apply to a wide range of programs (states, cities, etc)


My last cycle I applied to 25 different states across the U.S. Now, I'm not saying you have to do as many as me haha but I was very selective with the schools I chose. I chose programs from all over and based this on asha edfind and each school's stats regarding gpa, gre range and the ratio of applicants to the new interviewed and the percentage accepted. I chose programs well fewer applicants so there was less competition. Personally I looked at it as this is two years of my life and then I can have my degree and be done! That was why I was so open to moving for grad school, but I understand not everyone can do this for family or money reasons. I just feel this gives you more variety of programs and how they can best suit you. 


3. Gain experience


One of the biggest factors that I think helped me between the second and third cycle applying was I gained experience. I volunteered an a integrated preschool that had typically developing children and those with speech and language delays and disorders. From this experience, I was able to observe an slp and gain experience working with kids. I really enjoyed this and was able to talk about this in my letter of intent. It also shows to the committee the experience and reasoning why you want to be an slp. 


I hope this helps you! Your stats were better than mine so I believe you can do this! Feel free to personal message me if you have other questions :) 


One of my favorite drinks is a Raspberry Whiskey Sour :) !

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I was accepted to a program and my undergraduate GPA was 3.29, it got a little bit better when I took the prerequisites. These boards made me freak out as well but what i know is that what is for you will not pass you by. Go into the process with confidence because most schools look at the whole person, so work on getting good recommendations and having a solid personal statement. 

My advice .... be open to relocating for real. It’ll only be for 2-3 years but it will pay off. Almost every SLP I’ve worked with relocated for school. 

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I didn't have to relocate for school but am so happy I did, it was an amazing program (better than any of the programs I applied to in state) and was the best choice I could have made. 

This is just my 2 cents but people post on here every few months during application cycles asking the same questions about recs for schools where their GPA/GRE lineup.  I think that some schools listed on these forums tend to get repeated exposure causing more people to apply there the next cycle since they read it was a good option which creates more competition.  I'd definitely consider any places people have told you, but if you can get on edfind and do your own research I think you'd have a better shot of standing out from the crowd. 

You'll have more to talk about why you picked them etc by looking at each schools stats and website.  I just think you'd have a lot more to say about what got you interested in applying there and that truly does come across in your narrative and makes a huge difference.  I got into every program I researched independently, the programs I applied to more on word of mouth were a lot harder to write statements for despite me thinking they were good options at the time.  Good luck with the application process, just cast a wide net and find programs that match your interests as well as your GPA stats.  You can do it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a CSD major who graduated with a 3.6 and had average GRE verbal 156 and writing scores 4.5 and a horrible quant score! I did come in with a Bachelor's degree in education and taught Pre-K for a public school system for 10 years. I had no problem getting into grad school with these scores. I believe it was because of my work experiences and the fact that I still pulled off a 3.6 CSD undergrad degree while raising a family of 3 children! I was accepted to 4 programs including my dream school! I even received a call today from a school that sent me a rejection letter that offered me a spot! So in the end I was accepted to 5 of the 6 schools I applied to. It helps that I had strong letters of rec from my advisor and other professors, including one who holds a position with ASHA. More schools are taking a holistic look at their applicants. Have a strong personal statement that clearly outlines your goals and passion for the field! Linguistics is no joke! Definitely a tough field of study as well and very compatible with communication disorders! I agree that ASHA Edfind is a great resource. Don't forget that a good martini helps calm the nerves! Pomegranate is the best! Good luck! 

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To be honest, I honestly wouldn't stress too much about it. In my case, I was a CSD major with a 3.6 and  average GRE scores. 150 Quantitative 154 Verbal 4 Writing. My 3 letters of recommendation were from professors that had NOTHING to do with Speech or CSD. One was an English/Journalist, one was a Communications and one was my boss from my part-time summer job at a kennel. I had no volunteer experience or work experience in the field whatsoever. I included some "honors" programs that I was a part of but wasn't active in at all. I just tried to make my letter of intent/"essay" seem like I was genuinely interested in the program and was driven to learn and be a successful SLP. I was accepted into 3/5 schools I applied to. The one I accepted offered me 3/4 tuition reduction and a paid GA position. 

Don't stress too much about this forum. It is really hard to read all the stellar applicants who were accepted into 15/15 schools and will probably be going to the #1 ranked school in the world. But just remember, as long as you are happy with the program and get the education you need, you will be a certified SLP in the end too. You will be working in the same field as those applicants. Don't let it get you down. If you can help it, try not to even look haha! I understand the feeling because I was a very average applicant who struggled to connect to anyone in my program of 500+ kids and professors who had way too much on their plates. I was only introduced to this forum through friends in my classes and I honestly wish I hadn't known about it while I was applying. 

Do your research into programs that best fit you! Make everything else about your application, the best it can possibly be! 

Good luck!

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