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seeking advice/encouragement


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This was my first time applying for SLP graduate programs. Unfortunately I was not accepted to any programs. My overall GPA is pretty low due to flunking out of the first school i attended. Once I began taking SLP classes my GPA improved dramatically. My SLP GPA ended up being a 3.7. My GRE scores however are pretty low compared to the rest of the competition...289. I am a horrible standardized test taker. I applied to schools that would consider looking past my poor overall GPA and see the improvement I have made as a student and how interested and passionate I am about the field of SLP. But unfortunately I understand that most schools use GRE as a way to weed out applications. I guess at this point I'm just looking for advice on how to strengthen myself as an application. Retaking the GRE and trying to get a higher score is a big obvious. I am going to look into the Magoosh program and see if that will help any. As far as my GPA goes, I really don't think there is much I can do about that since i've already graduated with my bachelors in SLP. 

 

Also any encouragement would be great. I know there are many second and third year applicants on this forum. I am 24, so i'm a little older compared to some students applying for programs. At this point its a little discouraging to think of taking a year off, then beginning the application process again as an older student. 

 

 

Thanks in advance! 

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Magoosh really helped me! Even just getting the free Magoosh vocabulary app worked wonders.  Another big help was having my smartest friends and Ph.D. level colleagues read my personal statement.  It was amazing how different people caught the same mistakes and had the same suggestions.  There is a good thread on this board (I think called "SLP SOP") that helped me tremendously.  I think many schools are impressed by research experience as well.  Mine was minimal (1 semester in a clinical research/autism course as well as a library thesis), but I think it sounded impressive on paper.  If you have any specific questions, let me know.  You can do it!!

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Thank you for your reply! I will definitely be looking into everything Magoosh has to offer for the GRE. I do think as an applicant I lack experience. My undergraduate institution didn't really expose us to anything hands on, all we did was observe. I've called around several hospitals to observe some more and get involved but every place I've talked to either wants you to be a certified SLP, or at least a graduate student :(

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HI SouthernSLP,

I am in a similiar situation. My overall GPA is pretty low as well due to being academically disqualified my freshman year almost 20 years ago. I hate that my past haunts me this way. This was my second year applying and I only received one waitlist. The rest were rejections. I know how it feels.

I also struggle with the GRE however my score improved when I used Magoosh.

I am not sure what schools you applied to or will apply to in the future but for me some of the schools looked at all volunteer experience I had. I volunteered with a lot of different children's organizations in my area because I know that I want my focus to be with children. I also volunteered at a senior living home and at a speech clinic. Maybe diversifying yourself will help.

I have already started looking into spring applications and how I can improve my application. I took a different approach on my SOP this time from last time and will change it up again.

I feel your disappointment. However I know that we both can do it!

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I'm sure this is super disappointing, but don't stress too much!! :wacko:  I was in a similar position as an applicant with an embarrassingly low GPA. My degree was from 8 years ago in an unrelated major.  I was able to get a 4.0 in post-bacc SLP courses, but my overall average was still  weak. However, I have 4+ years of ESL teaching experience in the US and abroad, and I think this helped strengthen my application tremendously as I was able to speak about my experiences and relevant skills in my SOP. I will be entering a grad program in the fall at the age of 30! I know I will be older than many of my classmates, but my professional and life experiences since college are truly what led me to this career, and I am certain they helped me succeed in being accepted to a program.  24 is not old at all!!  You have plenty of time to get some good relevant experience balance out a less-than-impressive GPA / GRE  if you did decide to take a year off. Volunteering as an ESL teacher or literacy tutor is a great way to build valuable cultural competence and develop strong teaching skills. Its also very fun and rewarding!  

 

Also, get vocab flashcards for the GRE and bring a stack of them with you everywhere you go.  Good luck and don't give up! 

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Hey we have pretty similar stories :) I'm 25 and I flunked out my freshman year with a .46 GPA! My cumulative GPA JUST reached 3.09 at the end of last semester (before Fall 2014, it was a 2.98 - I was horrified that my application wouldn't even get looked at!) but I was able to get 4 acceptances and 1 wait list, 2 of those acceptances with significant funding/GA offers. My GRE scores were decent (160 V, 153 Q, and a 3.5 AW because I suck during pressured writing tasks) but I really think my work experience, letters of recommendation and letter of intent is what helped me the most. 

 

In my personal statement, I focused on really highlighting what I've changed or how I've changed since my first few years of college and how finding speech pathology played a big role in that.  I also made sure all of my letter of recommendation writers knew my story so they could again reinforce that I am far more capable than what my GPA indicates. Additionally, I made sure to get a LOR from a professor I took a writing intensive course with to offset my AW score. I was also lucky enough to have some pretty solid work opportunities - I've worked as a PCA, a traveling medical assistant, a nanny, and an activities assistant as a nursing home - giving me experience with pretty much every population we can work with. I'd really be on the lookout for volunteer or job opportunities that give you hands-on experience working with people we may treat and not worry so much about shadowing. 

 

I also applied to schools that looked at the last 60/90 credits or specifically stated that they gave equal consideration to every application. 

 

Don't give up! Schools WILL recognize your hard work. If you need anyone to look over your personal statement or anything when the time comes again, I'd be happy to! 

 

As for the GRE, I highly recommend Magoosh!! It's great and worth every penny. 

Edited by rubyslp23
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I understand what you're going through. I only have rejections and 1 waitlist, but I'm still holding out hope that I'll get off of it. I researched all the schools that I would want to live in for 2 years (maybe more), cost of living, transportation availability, cost of program, practicum sites, possible research, holistic view of applicants, etc. I had a really great list of schools to apply this year, and hoped for at least 1 acceptance. I was shocked to find that I was rejected on the basis of limited space. (I contacted the school to ask for information as to why I was rejected and the only thing I was told "we have limited resources.") So what does this tell me? I am older applicant, as well, and work full time in an unrelated field since SLPA positions are limited in my area, good GPA, and average GRE (I, too, am a horrible test taker). I worked on my SOP for MONTHS, had great LOR writers, and work experience. At this point, I don't know what else I can do to strengthen my application.

 

Any advice? TYIA!

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Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement and advice. I'm glad to know that I am not the only one in my current situation. I will definitely consider all your advice as to how I can strengthen myself as an applicant. 

 

Side note- are any of you from the South? I am, and I feel that there aren't too many places to volunteer/shadow unless you are accepted into a program already. Opportunities are pretty slim here, at least where I live. All of the schools I applied to were generally located in the south so I will definitely be applying to more schools outside of the south next time. 

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Hey we have pretty similar stories :) I'm 25 and I flunked out my freshman year with a .46 GPA! My cumulative GPA JUST reached 3.09 at the end of last semester (before Fall 2014, it was a 2.98 - I was horrified that my application wouldn't even get looked at!) but I was able to get 4 acceptances and 1 wait list, 2 of those acceptances with significant funding/GA offers. My GRE scores were decent (160 V, 153 Q, and a 3.5 AW because I suck during pressured writing tasks) but I really think my work experience, letters of recommendation and letter of intent is what helped me the most. 

 

In my personal statement, I focused on really highlighting what I've changed or how I've changed since my first few years of college and how finding speech pathology played a big role in that.  I also made sure all of my letter of recommendation writers knew my story so they could again reinforce that I am far more capable than what my GPA indicates. Additionally, I made sure to get a LOR from a professor I took a writing intensive course with to offset my AW score. I was also lucky enough to have some pretty solid work opportunities - I've worked as a PCA, a traveling medical assistant, a nanny, and an activities assistant as a nursing home - giving me experience with pretty much every population we can work with. I'd really be on the lookout for volunteer or job opportunities that give you hands-on experience working with people we may treat and not worry so much about shadowing. 

 

I also applied to schools that looked at the last 60/90 credits or specifically stated that they gave equal consideration to every application. 

 

Don't give up! Schools WILL recognize your hard work. If you need anyone to look over your personal statement or anything when the time comes again, I'd be happy to! 

 

As for the GRE, I highly recommend Magoosh!! It's great and worth every penny. 

 

thank you so much for your advice and words of encouragement! do you happen to have a list of the schools that looked at the last 60/90 or gave equal consideration to every application? I'm going to begin researching schools to apply to earlier this round and just wanted to know of a good place to begin. Thanks in advance and congrats on all of your acceptances-i know you have to be so ecstatic! 

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I am a second year applicant and was accepted this time around. I was reading this thread and wanted to give input because I know how disappointing and frustrating it can be not getting into a program, and I hope what I say can help!  If this is really what you want, you will not give up and will keep after your dream, you can do it!! After getting 8 rejections last year, I emailed many of the schools I applied to to get an idea of why I got rejected/what they were looking for in an applicant. Many told meh GRE scores didn't meet their requirements, so I knew that was something I needed to work on. I used the Magoosh online GRE program and raised my score almost 10 points. I volunteered at the Northeast Arc where I worked with adults with disabilities once a week for 1 hour a week-even if you can only volunteer once a week it looks very good to be doing). It is also hard to find an SLPA job in Mass, so I worked as a para at a high school with a boy on the Autism spectrum, I worked as an ABA therapist, took sign language, and put a ton of effort into my SOP (I think being a para and doing ABA helped me a lot). What helped me the most I think was really researching schools. Email schools this summer and ask what their standards are, what exactly is their criteria for accepting students, do they mainly accept their own students, how many students apply? Some schools ONLY ACCEPT their own undergrads and do not post that on the website, you need to email them and ask (which is very inconsiderate and unfair). I hope this information helps!! 

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