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What is the best way to stand out to graduate schools?

I am finishing up my bachelor's degree in biology in the spring of 2018. I would like to move on to graduate school and get a masters in speech pathology. What should I make sure I have completed by the end of my undergraduate career in regards to internships, volunteer work, etc? #biology #graduate-school #graduate #speech-pathology #speech #speech-therapy

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Brian’s Answer

If you have already done an internship than that is very important first step. If not, I would make sure I get that experience to go on my resume. Also, volunteer as much as possible for groups that your college may offer and in the community. Anything that can get you experience looks great for a resume. Network as much as possible as connections you make will help you get into door. You might meet new friend that knows people in your line of work that is hiring and can put in a good word for you. Whereas, without that connection you may never even get an interview.


I would do some research and seem if someone with masters is making lot more in your line of work to justify that its warranted. Education is nice first step but experience is what they want to see. If their is very little difference in pay I think its more crucial to start getting your foot in door and getting experience. A lot of times employers will pay for your school too so you could always go back and get your masters down line. Good luck.

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David’s Answer

One idea... go to linkedin, and connect with students or alumni from the grad schools you are interested in. Connect with ones in your area. Then, reach out to them and ask the same question. Participate in volunteer work with them, especially if at the school or on campus. Then of course, use those contacts and those partnering experiences in your applications.

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T.’s Answer

Are you a NSSLHA member? I want to share with you some resources before I give you some ideas.... http://www.asha.org/NSSLHA/About-NSSLHA/ -- Having fellowship with students across the nation who are majoring in speech language pathology helps you to rub shoulders with fellow cohorts who may have answers to your questions.


Are you in the S.T.E.P. mentorship program? It is a 1:1 mentorship program linking a clinician with a student within the field of speech language pathology so you can have direct guidance regarding your resume, application, essays, etc. Here is the link for more information: http://www.asha.org/students/gatheringplace/step/


Do not let the following paragraph scare you because you WILL have an amazing future.....


Know that Graduate schools are tricky. The seats are limited and applicants are plenty. When I was accepted into graduate school I found out that there were 6 candidates accepted for every 1,000 applications. I do not say that to scare you but to let you know it is a highly competitive situation. Everyone is trying to stand out, everyone is volunteering and doing internships and when it comes down to it....


.....why are you attracted to the program you are applying to? Because everyone is looking about the same....good grades, great extracurricular programs, awesome internships, volunteer service, etc.....why THAT program? When you show the school in your essay and through your interview that you are the perfect fit for THAT school, they are more likely to see you as someone who stands out. Because then you won't be just another student "hoping to get in", but you will be seen as a candidate that "wants to be a part of THAT legacy".


Show yourself approved of studying up on the professors. Do you know if they wrote any textbooks? What their research concentrates on? Make sure you are well-read on the school and program you are applying to. Being specific in your essay about who you look forward to learning from, whose article you enjoyed, etc. is what will make you stand out. You will have put in more effort and more research than the average student who simply has a laundry list of what everyone else has.


I know you'll do well :)

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Bri’s Answer

Hi Bianca,


While I cannot speak specifically to programs in speech pathology, one of the key things that I learned from my time as a graduate school admissions officer is that applicants who are able to clearly explain why they want to complete that graduate program and how the program fits into their overall career goals tend to be viewed more favorably in the admissions process. This makes a lot of sense because the last thing program administrators want is to admit someone who doesn't fully understand why they are participating in a program and who then either drop out or do not fully engage in the program.


The best piece of advice that I try and give prospective graduate students (no matter what program they are applying to!) is to make sure that you are clearly articulating how a program will allow you to explore your academic interests and obtain your career goals. I remember admitting a number of students who weren't the strongest academically or experience-wise, but they made a compelling case for why they wanted to gain their Master's degree from my program in particular in their personal statement. This becomes even more important if you are planning on going to school straight out of undergrad, as many programs (although not all!) give preference to individuals who have some work experience. If you are planning to go straight from undergrad, addressing in your personal statement why you feel you need to go get an advanced degree so early on in your career is a great way to make yourself stand out as an applicant - it demonstrates that you have given your decision a lot of thought.


Good luck!

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