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international student speech pathology major

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Hello all,

My name is Alice. I am currently a senior student in Communication Sciences and Disorders major at a public university in the southwest region. I have a bit of an unusual background. I was born and raised in Beijing, China. My first language is Mandarin, and I speak very fluent, near native English. 
I am planning to graduate college in spring 2018, since I've decided to take my time to do 5 years for my undergraduate degree. I am very passionate about working with bilingual children in the future. Currently, I am taking classes towards a minors degree in linguistics, and an undergraduate TESOL certificate. I have worked as an English teacher in the United States for both children and adults, and I am currently working as a programs assistant at a daycare for international children.
I have been researching for graduate school lately, and I found my comparatively low GPA not desirable at all. I admit that I am not the hardest worker. But I have never been a great test taker, or a "school person". Being in a completely different cultural environment definitely didn't help either (I went through a very tough "lost period" when I first got here. But I got everything worked out now). Right now I have a couple B's and C's in my major classes, with a major GPA just above 3.0 (not even 3.1, ha). I have decided that along with applying for graduate schools, I will be re-taking 5 courses that I have gotten B's and C's on. And that will supposedly bump my major GPA up to 3.34 if I get all A's. My current overall GPA is 3.15. I know this is not the greatest situation, and that's why I'm here to seek help! Here are my questions:

1. Is this GPA really just hopeless? I have seen so many people who have their GPAs around 3.3 and do not get any offer. Would it be a better option if I just delay my graduation for another year, and re-take more classes and get more experience? (that will not help my GPA by too much though. My school does not take out my former grades after I re-take courses)
2. I know bilingual SLPs are kind of in-demand in the United States now. how can I maximized this advantage/counter my disadvantage on my GPA when I'm applying?
3. Are there any schools that I can specifically look at that provide bilingual research or clinical opportunities?
4. What cities or states should I be aiming for to have contact with a bigger population of bilingual clients? The state I am in right now does NOT have a lot of diversity.
5. I am debating if I want to get my permanent resident identity (the US green card) right now. If I do so I will lose my international student status. I know every school has a quota for international students. Does anybody have any idea or similar experiences on which identity I should be applying under to have a better chance to get in?
5. What are some of the other things I can do to help counter my low GPA?

Thank you for reading!

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Alice, after reading your background and questions listed here, I feel like you need to do more research of this field.

SLP is a very competitive field filled with talented, and hardworking individuals. I don't know if retaking those classes will help and I suggest you talk with your CDS professors to ask for their professional opinions. 3.15 is not absolutely hopeless because I have seen top 50 graduate programs take in students at that GPA range, but indeed rare. The current emphasis of needing bilingual SLPs refers to mostly spanish/english fluency, not necessarily Chinese/english fluency. So even with most schools who offer bilingual track, they want students who speak fluent spanish. Personally speaking, I don't feel like being an international student/permanent resident will make that much of a difference. I am a permanent resident now and applied as a PR instead of an international student. You can just elaborate on your international background in your personal statement. Why bother to ask for higher tuition? 

To counter low GPA, I'd say the rest of the package better be killer good: GRE, rec letters, and personal statement.

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