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What should I be doing now/prepping now?


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I'll be applying next Fall but like most people will be taking a full load of classes and also commuting is going to take up a LOT of my time.  

 

I wanted advice on a timeline of things I may not be thinking of and anything people in the past have experience neglecting and wish they had done earlier.  Little details or questions I should be asking that i'm not thinking of...

 

I'll be taking the GRE this summer and just want to finish anything early that I can to try to reduce a little stress.

 

Thanks

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My best advice would be to REALLY be prepared for the GRE.  The vocabulary and writing sections are especially important.  I recommend getting a few prep books and doing the online practices.  I thought it was a long, grueling test and was glad that I studied (161 Verbal).

 

I also suggest getting some meaningful experiences within the field.  Shadow some professionals in both the medical and school sides and search out places that you can volunteer.  I'm not sure if your state has them, but Headstart programs are excellent places to learn to work with a wide variety of children.  Also, many states offer Extended School Year (ESY) for students.  Look into this and see if you can spend time there.  If medical is your goal, cast a wide net out to the hospitals, rehab centers, and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF).  You would be able to observe aphasia, dysphagia and other medical issues.  This will give you relevant information to add to your letter of intent.  You MUST make yourself stand out from the zillion other applicants!

 

Best wishes!  I start grad school this summer.  Please feel free to message me with any questions. 

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I've done the pre-reqs thank goodness!  And commuting in this kind of traffic should get us a special nod from those Grad committees ahha it's like having a part time job where you can't even look over your notes.

 

I need to prep better for the GRE, I have the Manhatten books and some flashcards but you're right I need to really plan out my studying and treat it as important as it is.  I've been avoiding it lately because I'm not finished with the many math books and am not a strong math student.  Are schools more concerned with the verbal score?  

 

Oh something i've been debating is I am currently volunteering at a private practice with little kids.  Which aligns with my future interests of working with children.  If I know I don't want to work in a hospital setting is it still beneficial to try and volunteer at one or will school's see through that and feel it's not genuine since my L.O.I is more geared towards what population got me interested and my experience with children.  It might be possible to work at a children's hospital which would be a better match...

 

Thank you both!

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The only nice thing about the GRE math is that it isn't very hard. It's the equivalent of 10th grade math, so, basically Geometry and Algebra. I am not strong in math either, and making a study sheet of rules from my study books (like, rules of exponents, fractions, tricks to solving problems quickly, etc.) was very, very helpful and raised my quantitative score 5 points - 20 percentiles! From what schools say on their admissions profiles, the verbal score seems to be more important. I would say that for schools with a strong emphasis on research, though, the quant score might carry more weight. Before I took the GRE, I emailed directors or faculty at schools I was interested in and asked them what their programs deemed most important, and then focused on those things, so you could do that :) Best of luck! 

 

I need to prep better for the GRE, I have the Manhatten books and some flashcards but you're right I need to really plan out my studying and treat it as important as it is.  I've been avoiding it lately because I'm not finished with the many math books and am not a strong math student.  Are schools more concerned with the verbal score?  

Edited by Schatzie15
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My main advice would be to start the application process as early as possible.  Ask to sit down and talk with your letters of rec at the start of the fall semester and maybe even draft some of your statements of purpose (some schools have several different required essays... which I was not expecting) over the summer.  

 

I waited to do all of these things, along with taking the GRE, around October and I was stressed beyond belief (the application process plus a fulltime course load plus normal life was not fun).  So please learn from me and do not do that. Ha. 

 

Oh and regarding the GRE, look into Kaplan practice tests in your area. My university hosts one on campus every couple of months and they are completely free and give you a better idea of how an actual test will feel like.  You have to listen to them try and sell you their prep classes and books at the end of the test but they give you access to some useful free tips and sources as well.   

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Start on your statement asap. I was freaking out towards the end because I feel like I didn't have enough time to edit and tailor to each school, I commute also. But in the end I somehow managed bit start writing a draft and edit edit edit

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It's awesome that you're planning on getting your GRE out of the way this summer! That's what I did, and it was AMAZING not having to worry about studying for it while I was taking care of the rest of my application/coursework stuff last semester. As twisted as this sounds, I loved hearing others worry about taking the GRE in mid-octoberish. I just quietly sat there like "muahaha I took mine months ago" ;)

I would make a chart with all of the information for schools you're planning on applying to. Name, cost, application format (paper, online, CSDCAS...), how many letters it needs (and who you're going to get those letters from), application deadline, essay prompt, fee, and include boxes for when you send off your transcript and GRE scores to each school. I found that having that all in one place made everything a lot easier. "OH GOD WHEN IS THAT APP DUE?? DID I SUBMIT THAT FORM???" turned into "hmmmmm..... lets check the spreadsheet.. okay cool, question answered." And it's nice having it done before you're actually in the middle of the application process. 

 

Finally, do you know who you're going to get your letters from? I know some people who asked about letters the spring before they applied. It's not completely necessary (I asked for all of mine in mid september), but I know it would have made me feel a little less stressed at the beginning of the year if I hadn't had to worry about who I was going to ask and when/how I was going to ask them. 

 

"Poor prior planning produces piss poor performance"...... Good on you for starting this now!! Good luck :)

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Start exploring programs. Consider what your GPA will be and whether you have a chance. I went through the list of schools on ASHA Edfind and eliminated first by location, then by grades/GRE. Look up schools and see whether they post stats about average scores and number accepted (since we're all a little skeptical about the accuracy of Edfind stats). If they don't post online start emailing or calling them to find out. Get an idea of what GRE score you want to shoot for.

 

Definitely agree with jettip who posted above. Make a google doc with deadlines, whether there are supplemental applications required (such as CSDCAS schools - they sometimes require an application to the school itself in addition to CSDCAS), when professors have submitted letters, etc. 

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Start exploring programs. Consider what your GPA will be and whether you have a chance. I went through the list of schools on ASHA Edfind and eliminated first by location, then by grades/GRE. Look up schools and see whether they post stats about average scores and number accepted (since we're all a little skeptical about the accuracy of Edfind stats). If they don't post online start emailing or calling them to find out. Get an idea of what GRE score you want to shoot for.

 

Definitely agree with jettip who posted above. Make a google doc with deadlines, whether there are supplemental applications required (such as CSDCAS schools - they sometimes require an application to the school itself in addition to CSDCAS), when professors have submitted letters, etc. 

YES that's an awesome point!! Do as much research as you can now. Figure out what schools you have a good shot at getting in score-wise. I know it can seem pretty random, but you can generally figure out if you would fit in there based on the scores of who they've accepted in the past. If their average GPA is a 3.8, and you have a 3.2, I'd think long and hard about applying there. In addition, if you're unsure about a program, you can usually contact them directly "I have a GPA of ___ and a GRE of ___, would I fit in/have a shot at your school?" 

 

I strategized like crazy when figuring out where I was applying to, because while it would be nice to dream about NYC and Boston and California schools, based on my GPA I knew I didn't have a real shot at getting in there, and I didn't wanna be "that girl" who didn't get accepted anywhere. I had a few reach schools (amazingly, I got into both of them), but most of my schools were "safety" and "just right" schools. This is a competitive process, and you have to be smart about where you're applying. 

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No one has said this yet, but I think its important. REMAIN CALM. Explore programs and see what you find interesting, it will help you narrow down how many schools you want to apply to. GRE, your personal statement etc etc are all important, but if you freak out for the entire next year, you will go crazy!!! Not to mention that reading over gradcafe like this can easily become a lovely supplement to that panic. Getting a head start is smart, but don't overthink everything. It'll all work out, we are all still alive! BEST OF LUCK!!! :)

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It's awesome that you're planning on getting your GRE out of the way this summer! That's what I did, and it was AMAZING not having to worry about studying for it while I was taking care of the rest of my application/coursework stuff last semester. As twisted as this sounds, I loved hearing others worry about taking the GRE in mid-octoberish. I just quietly sat there like "muahaha I took mine months ago" ;)

I would make a chart with all of the information for schools you're planning on applying to. Name, cost, application format (paper, online, CSDCAS...), how many letters it needs (and who you're going to get those letters from), application deadline, essay prompt, fee, and include boxes for when you send off your transcript and GRE scores to each school. I found that having that all in one place made everything a lot easier. "OH GOD WHEN IS THAT APP DUE?? DID I SUBMIT THAT FORM???" turned into "hmmmmm..... lets check the spreadsheet.. okay cool, question answered." And it's nice having it done before you're actually in the middle of the application process. 

 

Finally, do you know who you're going to get your letters from? I know some people who asked about letters the spring before they applied. It's not completely necessary (I asked for all of mine in mid september), but I know it would have made me feel a little less stressed at the beginning of the year if I hadn't had to worry about who I was going to ask and when/how I was going to ask them. 

 

"Poor prior planning produces piss poor performance"...... Good on you for starting this now!! Good luck :)

 

Speaking of LORs, how do you recommend asking profs to write LORs for you? Most of my profs are busy with research outside of campus so it's hard to get a hold of them. Would e-mail do? Any suggestions of what i should say? I'm applying this Fall btw :)

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Speaking of LORs, how do you recommend asking profs to write LORs for you? Most of my profs are busy with research outside of campus so it's hard to get a hold of them. Would e-mail do? Any suggestions of what i should say? I'm applying this Fall btw :)

 

I would definitely recommend stopping by their office hours to ask. I feel like it's important to make the connection in-person, especially if you may not have had them in class for a while. Even if you know the professors really well, I'd still suggest stopping by their office. If they don't have any scheduled office hours or are almost always off campus like yours are, try e-mailing them and ask when would be a good time to stop by their office. I would only use e-mail if it would be almost impossible to ask in person. I e-mailed one of my professors, but only because she had relocated to Colorado.

 

When I asked my professors, I asked them if they'd be willing to write me a positive letter of recommendation for grad school. You would think that it would be obvious that you're asking for a positive letter but you want to make sure that if they're not going to be able to write about you in a positive light or they don't know enough about you that you can ask someone else. 

 

I would also come prepared with a folder with your transcripts, a list of your activities/accomplishments/experience, and a draft of your statement of purpose, because they'll most likely ask you for it at some point. 

 

Hopefully that helps! :)

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Speaking of LORs, how do you recommend asking profs to write LORs for you? Most of my profs are busy with research outside of campus so it's hard to get a hold of them. Would e-mail do? Any suggestions of what i should say? I'm applying this Fall btw :)

 

I would definitely attempt to ask in person. Email to ask for a meeting or drop by office hours. However, one of my LOR professors was crazy busy/scatterbrained, so when I tried to ask for a meeting she was like "uhh i'm pretty busy for the next few weeks, email works best" so I just sent her a nice email asking if she would feel comfortable writing a positive letter of rec for me, and she said she'd be happy to. So if you aren't able to meet in person, email isn't the worst thing in the world, as long as you're sure the prof remembers/knows you. 

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I didn't read through this whole thread to see what others said but here is what I did. I wrote all my personal statements in the summer as well as got together packets for everyone from whom I was requesting a LOR. I put my resume, transcripts (unofficial), strong writing sample, copy of personal statement, and a list of other activities/relevant experience I had. It was so nice to have everything mostly done so that I could give it time to sit and then re-read later. I also sent all versions of my personal statements to the career services at my university which was a great help and I would definitely recommend. If you don't know your profs very well or they don't know you, now would also be a good time to get into their office hours and just ask questions about class, their interests/experience etc. basically do what you have to to get them to know who you are. Also, for the GRE I would recommend having a general idea of places you want to apply before you take it because you can send it to 4 places free at the time of the test but after that it is $27 per school so that could save you $100 right there.

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Work on your interview skills. I have a 4.0 GPA, great GRE scores, but I was rejected by every school I interviewed for. I wasn't prepared, and I had a bad attitude about the questions they asked. I thought the interviews would be much more meaningful, but they were very generic: "Describe a challenge you have had and how you handled it." I would suggest compiling a list of all potential questions-you can probably find a helpful list online-and practice answering these with a friend or by video taping yourself.

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Also, for the GRE I would recommend having a general idea of places you want to apply before you take it because you can send it to 4 places free at the time of the test but after that it is $27 per school so that could save you $100 right there.

I second this, but also, make sure you find their CSDCAS code if they use CSDCAS - it won't be the same as their regular GRE code (at least none of mine were) so I actually ended up wasting my 3 of my 4 free submissions.

Good luck! :)

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I second this, but also, make sure you find their CSDCAS code if they use CSDCAS - it won't be the same as their regular GRE code (at least none of mine were) so I actually ended up wasting my 3 of my 4 free submissions.

Good luck! :)

Oh that's terrible. If I had to do this again, I would avoid any school that uses CSDCAS. I haven't heard from any of them yet, and the schools I applied to via CSDCAS were just as frustrated with them as I was. At first you think it will save you money, but you end up paying double for a lot of things, e.g, two application fees, two sets of transcripts, two GRE scores, etc. 

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I didn't read through this whole thread to see what others said but here is what I did. I wrote all my personal statements in the summer as well as got together packets for everyone from whom I was requesting a LOR. I put my resume, transcripts (unofficial), strong writing sample, copy of personal statement, and a list of other activities/relevant experience I had. It was so nice to have everything mostly done so that I could give it time to sit and then re-read later. I also sent all versions of my personal statements to the career services at my university which was a great help and I would definitely recommend. If you don't know your profs very well or they don't know you, now would also be a good time to get into their office hours and just ask questions about class, their interests/experience etc. basically do what you have to to get them to know who you are. Also, for the GRE I would recommend having a general idea of places you want to apply before you take it because you can send it to 4 places free at the time of the test but after that it is $27 per school so that could save you $100 right there.

 

 

If you send it ahead of time do they keep it for months?  Just because I plan to test at the beginning of summer.  Should I call the schools and ask?  Or what do you recommend?  Also if I re-take it for whatever reason would that be a disadvantage if I didn't do well, or would I know my score before sending it to them?

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Oh that's terrible. If I had to do this again, I would avoid any school that uses CSDCAS. I haven't heard from any of them yet, and the schools I applied to via CSDCAS were just as frustrated with them as I was. At first you think it will save you money, but you end up paying double for a lot of things, e.g, two application fees, two sets of transcripts, two GRE scores, etc. 

 

GOOD to know!  I was trying to find some CSDCAS schools to make it easier on my letter's of rec.  But honestly most of the programs I am feeling the most interested in are not using CSDCAS...

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GOOD to know!  I was trying to find some CSDCAS schools to make it easier on my letter's of rec.  But honestly most of the programs I am feeling the most interested in are not using CSDCAS...

Remember CSDCAS charges a $100 application fee. The graduate school of the university your'e applying to also charges a fee on top of that.

Ridiculous. I've also had CDCAS lose my transcript, twice, and had a very difficult time with them.

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Work on your interview skills. I have a 4.0 GPA, great GRE scores, but I was rejected by every school I interviewed for. I wasn't prepared, and I had a bad attitude about the questions they asked. I thought the interviews would be much more meaningful, but they were very generic: "Describe a challenge you have had and how you handled it." I would suggest compiling a list of all potential questions-you can probably find a helpful list online-and practice answering these with a friend or by video taping yourself.

 

Hmmm so would you say you felt it was more similar to a job interview?  Did you consider the questions general get to know you questions or high profile job where you need to know the company statement type of thing?  Were there any specific speech related questions?  I'd actually be happier with general b/c I don't want to blank on something I can remember if I look at it 2 minutes but didn't think i'd need to recite in their interview.

 

I think that maybe the schools ask general questions to get a feel for your personality and people/talking skills.  My assumption with general questions is that they already know you are set academically with a 4.0 and great GRE scores so the interview is just assessing personality?  Which is also intimidating but I feel like that is much more my area than standardized tests ahaha. 

 

I can see how it would be annoying though after doing a ton of prep and then being blind-sided with questions you could be asked for at a fast-food restaurant.

Edited by CBG321
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