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Hey everyone. I need some tough love/advice. Here's my situation:

In 2015 I finished undergrad with a cummulative 3.19 gpa. I was an slp major, and my gpa within-major was 3.70. Knowing my gpa was quite low, I decided to spend time working and gaining experience. I've spent the last 3 years working as an elementary ABA paraprofessional, nannying, volunteering at a veterans home, and volunteering at a pediatric hospital. I also took a coue ASL classes at the community college just because...

My GRE scores aren't spectacular (157V, 148Q, 3W), but I'm studying now, focusing on my writing score. I have great relationships with my supervising SPED teacher, the behavior analyst, my SPED administrator, and the school slp. Could I ask them for rec letters instead of my previous professors? I know most grad programs ask for academic references... but I was an average student at best. I did well during my undergrad practicum, but that was 3 years ago, and I haven't kept in touch with those professors. 

I'm 100% willing to move for school and know I'll need to cast a wide net if I want a shot at getting in. I'm not sure how to organize my SOP, but I know it has to seriously stand out. Is there anything else I can do to make myself marketable? I assume my GPA is the biggest red flag, but there's nothing I can do about it (right?)  

All comments, advice, and questions welcome. Has anyone else been this hopeless?

TLDR: low gpa, low GRE, non-academic recs. Help?

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Hi @Becky G.

First off, kudos to you for being willing to share your experiences on here and ask for advice. That takes a bit of courage!

Your overall GPA (3.19) isn't hot, but its not horrible. Your major GPA (3.7) is not bad! Do you know how it shakes out in-terms of "the last 60 hours?" Some schools only look at the last 60 credit hours no matter what. Might be worth calculating that GPA. As for GPA being a "red flag," I don't think that's the case. I think of GPA as more of a "gate keeper." What does that mean? Imagine there are 200 applications. They might do something like rank them from highest GPA to lowest and then only read the top 50. Not every school does that or exactly that way, but many schools (especially those who receive TONS of applications) do something like that. 

As for your GRE: I once did a little research for my blog and found that 303 was the average of the average for GRE scores across programs. So you're above average! That's good! How about your writing? Writing scores are important too. Have you considered prepping and re-taking? I know it sucks (I HATED the GRE). I spent 6 months preparing (20min to an hour per day, just like it was a class) and I raised by score a bunch.

It sounds like you have some really great work/professional experiences that will help you write an amazing personal statement! Please reach out to me in a direct message if you'd like some help with it :) 

You can definitely ask for letters of rec from previous professors. Since it has been a while, you might consider going to ask in person to make it more personal and remind them indirectly of who you are. Since you're out of school for a while, you could probably be safe with 1 of 3 letters being from a professional source (but it will depend on the specific school). 

Finally, do not lose hope! I know people who applied 3 or 4 times before getting in and they're practicing SLP's now! I know people in my program RIGHT NOW with lower GPA and GRE than yours...and they're months away from finishing. A huge part of the process is luck, but don't lose hope and miss out on that other part that requires hard work and determination! You can do it! 

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Definitely check out the schools on ASHA and see which schools your scores fit into. I applied to some reach schools and some that fit my scores and was pretty successful in doing that. As for the references, I would contact your prospective schools and ask them if you can provide work related letters instead of academic ones. I believe some schools will make exceptions if they understand your reasoning. Definitely highlight all of the experience you have in your statement of reference because that is really important! 

Good luck to you :) 

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Your SLP major is awesome!! It is way better than mine (2.9 overall 3.2 major) and I was accepted to 2 schools :) I agree with @mcamp. Definitely apply to schools that look at the last 60 units or focus on your major gpa. It is great that you are willing to move for school, because there are schools all over the country that take students with your stats. You'll just need to do some research, ASHA edfind is a great resource. 

Your variety of volunteer work is great, but are they SLP specific experiences? Do you shadow the SLP at the veterans home and pediatric hospital? If so, highlight those experiences in your letter of intent. If not, I would see if there was a way to volunteer with a SLP in those settings. Hands on experience is a major plus!! 

I personally think if you know your work/volunteer supervisors will write a better LOR than your professors, ask them to do it. I worked as an ABA therapist in a special education class and asked the teacher to write me one. I volunteered with a SLP in a clinic for a year, she also wrote me one. My last LOR was written by a professor I volunteered with but I did not take any of his classes. I had 2 professors agree to write me a LOR but I did not have a relationship with them and I wasn't exactly a memorable student. I figured their LORs would be very general. However, if a school requires that you provide LORs from professors then I would follow those instructions. 

You can do it, it is very possible for you! There is hope. Don't let your overall GPA hold you back. Good luck!

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2.8 overall, 3.8 last 60 credits, low GRE but great references, personal statement and experience. ---Accepted into 4 programs. Stats don't always represent a person as a whole. Good Luck!

Edited by Louly

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1 hour ago, Louly said:

2.8 overall, 3.8 last 60 credits, low GRE but great references, personal statement and experience. ---Accepted into 4 programs. Stats don't always represent a person as a whole. Good Luck!

where were you accepted?

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Thank you all for your replies! You've given me a lot to think about, and now I feel a bit better about upcoming applications!

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I think building relationships with the schools you are most interested in, maybe volunteer in a lab. There are always ways, if you want it you can do it! 

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On 7/10/2018 at 10:38 PM, mimithebellydancer said:

where were you accepted?

University of Oregon, U of Memphis, U of Utah, and Florida State.

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On 7/10/2018 at 8:27 PM, Louly said:

2.8 overall, 3.8 last 60 credits, low GRE but great references, personal statement and experience. ---Accepted into 4 programs. Stats don't always represent a person as a whole. Good Luck!

Hi,  Congrats on getting accepted to 4 programs!! Do you mind sharing where you got accepted?

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46 minutes ago, Carina25 said:

Hi,  Congrats on getting accepted to 4 programs!! Do you mind sharing where you got accepted?

Louly posted above that s/he got into the following programs: University of Oregon, U of Memphis, U of Utah, and Florida State.

 
Edited by babykoala

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Hi @Becky G.

 

Hi! I applied three different application cycles and for me third time was the charm! I was accepted into three schools! My gpa from undergrad was a total of a 3.34, not sure what just the communication disorders classes were. I think my GRE scores were 142 for Verbal and 144 for Math and 4.0 for writing. Funny thing is the school I ended up attending did not need GRE scores. I think the thing that helped me this last time around was:

 

1. I applied all of the country and tried to apply to schools with a lower amount of applicants so I could stand out.

2. I submitted more than the minimum requirement of letters of recommendation (2-3) and instead submitted 4.

3. I gained experience in the field that I could use in my letter of intent. I volunteered at an integrated preschool and was able to observe with an slp and also work with kids. It was so much fun and I was able to confirm my interest in the field. 

 

Good luck and know we are all in this together! :)

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