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Hi there! 

So I have my bachelors, but not in communication disorders. I am currently taking my prerequisite classes for grad school. However, I had to repeat my courses and it looks like I'll be receiving a B in most of them. I am very worried this will affect my chances for grad school admission. I work full time within special education and plan to spend some hours with the SLP there. 

I am asking, can experience within the realm of special education outweigh my (mostly B's) grades? 

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Hello @vision4tmrw !

You can find this information on ASHA's Edfind. A few months ago, I went through the first 100 results (10 pages) of edfind, and a little under a third of the schools admitted students with a 3.0 (B) average or under. If that is true of the rest of the results, there could be almost 100 programs that would accept students with a GPA at or below 3.0. Keep in mind, this data is a few months old, so it might not be accurate any longer.

 

We can't really speculate as to your likelihood of acceptance at any of these programs, though, because there are so many parts to an application:

  • Do you have glowing letters of recommendation from CSD professors that can speak to your abilities in the classroom, in research, and in the field? (here's more about letters of recc)
  • Do you have experience working as a SLPA, or in tangentially related jobs in which you regularly interacted with individuals with communication disorders? (here's a list of directly related and tangentially related job experiences)
  • Do you have research experience? Have you done an independent research project, or worked in a lab? Have you presented at a conference? A symposium?
  • Do you volunteer, and are you involved with student organizations at the local and national level? Have you held any leadership positions? (here's a list of other ways to get involved if you're looking for additional experiences)
  • Is your personal statement strong? Does it describe why you are a good fit for the program, and why they are a good fit for you? Does it answer the question or prompt fully? Have you used this space to describe your strengths, or an experience that has changed your life? Did you frame any deficiencies in your application as opportunities for growth and explain how you've overcome difficulties you've experienced?
  • If the program requires the GRE, have you checked edfind to ensure that your scores are competitive for that program?
  • If the program interviews, did you explain your interests and the qualities you'll bring to the program effectively? Did you ask important and insightful questions?

Even if we had all of this information about your application, there is no way to guarantee acceptance anywhere. Even if you had a perfect 4.0 and all the extracurriculars you could think of, you still might receive a rejection at any one of the schools listed. This is because every program will weight the components differently, and every program only has so many seats available for all of the highly qualified applicants that apply. I'm not just saying that: if you scroll through the sub you'll find posts from perfect 4.0 students with great extracurriculars that didn't receive acceptances from their top programs, or occasionally any programs at all. You'll also find 3.0 students that excelled in other areas that were admitted to those same schools.

I don't say any of this to discourage you, only to inform you that we really can't give you a clear picture of what your acceptances will look like. What we can do is help you improve your chances of receiving an acceptance. If you know you'll have a lower GPA than most, you'll have to stand out from the crowd in a different way. Your experience in SPED will definitely help you stand out!

 

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As Jo alluded to, lots of things are taken into consideration when departments look at applications. One of the things they consider is life circumstances, especially if you use your SOP to address why those B's may have happened. A ~B average is by no means the end of the road, but the fact that they're in your speech path prerequisites can narrow your options, especially considering what the world has just been through. A lot of people are going to be applying to graduate school in the coming year after realizing they hate their jobs/life is too short/etc. I'd recommend really targeting schools that have a wide GPA range of ~2.5-4.0 and applying to at least 7 programs that admit at least 30% of their applicant pool (you can figure this out with EdFind stats)... more, if you're able. Note that this rarely correlates with program rankings and more often with costs/location/funding availability. Depending on your area, being willing to relocate may help. 

Having a SPED background is a fantastic start, but probably not enough on its own. I say this because there are lots of people with similar backgrounds that apply to grad school for speech, and even those with high GPAs are posting all over the GradCafe results page that they aren't getting in when/where they expect to. I was one of them the first time I applied. Your SPED background will be valuable to the extent that it directly informs your "why" and how well you show that in your application. Your "why" may be translated into concrete research interests and populations you want to work with, but those should be fleshed out beyond your work experience and made evident in your application. It should also be clear how your interests align with the department faculty's resources.

Do you have any specific research/topic interests? 

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On 6/29/2021 at 7:41 AM, vision4tmrw said:

Hi there! 

So I have my bachelors, but not in communication disorders. I am currently taking my prerequisite classes for grad school. However, I had to repeat my courses and it looks like I'll be receiving a B in most of them. I am very worried this will affect my chances for grad school admission. I work full time within special education and plan to spend some hours with the SLP there. 

I am asking, can experience within the realm of special education outweigh my (mostly B's) grades? 

Hi! I also had experience in special education when I was accepted into graduate school. I was a B student (with a few A's). I was accepted my second time applying. I improved on my GRE scores, rewrote my personal statements, and had different recommenders (except for one professor who wrote me a letter the first time). My CSD GPA was a 3.3, last 2 years was a 3.6 so I made sure to highlight that in my essays. Also redid my resume.

I'm not sure if having a SPED background alone could outweigh your grades. There's other considerations too in your application (as I mentioned above). I was accepted into Baylor University, which from what I heard is a hard program to get into. I'm saying that anything is possible. If speech is your passion, continue on that path and make your application as awesome as possible.

Hope this helps!

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