If you're reading this, congratulations are in order! After months (or even years) of hard work and dedication, you've finally received your acceptance letter(s) to graduate school for speech-language pathology (SLP).
This is a HUGE accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated!
In this blog post, we'll discuss the typical timeline for hearing back from grad schools, what it took to get to this point, what to do now, and how to choose a school when accepted at multiple.
Timeline for Hearing Back from SLP Grad Schools
One of the most nerve-wracking parts of applying to SLP grad school is waiting to hear back. You've put in the effort to complete your application, and now you're left in limbo, wondering when you'll receive a response - and what that response will be.
While the timeline can vary depending on the school, the typical timeframe for hearing back from grad schools is between February and April, with many schools sending out acceptances between March 1st-15th.
Schools with rolling admissions respond to students on a rolling basis, however, and it can take around 1-3 months after submission to hear back from them after you’ve submitted your application.
What It Took to Get to This Point
Getting accepted into an SLP grad program is no easy feat.
SLP grad school is extremely competitive, and it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance to complete those grueling grad school applications.
As an SLP myself, I can attest to the long hours spent figuring out every task that needed to be completed for applications, getting organized, writing resumes and personal statements, meeting with professors for letters of rec, attending school visits, and much more. It’s a crazy busy process during a crazy busy time of your life (which is precisely why I now help future SLPs through this intense process!).
The journey to grad school acceptance begins long before you even submit your application.
To be considered for acceptance, you'll need to be soon completing or to have completed a bachelor's degree with a pretty strong academic performance. You'll also need to have completed prerequisite courses in communication sciences and disorders, which typically include but are not limited to classes in anatomy and physiology of the speech mechanism, language development, and phonetics.
Additionally, you'll need to have completed a minimum of 25 clinical observation hours in which you observed speech-language pathologists working with clients/patients/students.
Once you've met these requirements, you start, pore over, and submit your applications - which include your academic transcripts, resumes, personal statements, letters of recommendation, and sometimes even additional essays, videos, and interviews.
It's important to take your time with each of these components, ensuring that they're well-written and tailored to the specific program you're applying to (something I teach in my SLP Grad School Application Blueprint course, and can help you with via coaching calls and/or reviews!).
Now that you’ve been accepted, it’s time to celebrate!! And if you’ve been accepted to multiple schools, it’s time to decide.
What to Do Now
Now that you've received your acceptance letter, it's time to accept or decline your offer. Schools typically send directions on how to accept/decline their offers within their offer letters, and you’ll need to follow those directions by the date specified within the letter.
If you’ve been accepted to two or more SLP programs, it’s time to decide which program to attend. It's important to carefully consider your options and make an informed decision.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you make your choice:
Location: Consider the location of the program and whether it's feasible for you to relocate there. Consider the area - what there is to do outside of school, and whether you could see yourself there for the long-run if you happen to get a job offer somewhere local to the school when you graduate.
Program Structure & Opportunities: Take a look at the program's curriculum and clinical experience structure to determine if they align with your career goals. For example, if you have a strong interest in working with geriatric populations, does the school offer courses and clinical experiences that will expose you to the breadth of knowledge and experiences you need/want to gain with this population?
Faculty and Research: Look into the program's faculty and their areas of expertise to see if they align with your interests - especially if you’re interested in completing a thesis or working in a research lab during your program.
Cost: Consider the cost of tuition and living expenses, as well as any available scholarships or financial aid, including teaching or graduate assistantships.
Gut Feeling: Lastly, trust your gut. If you have a good feeling about a program, it may be the right choice for you!
How to Choose an SLP Program When Accepted at Multiple
If you've been accepted to multiple programs, congratulations! This is a great position to be in, but it can also make your decision more difficult. Here are a few tips for choosing between multiple programs:
Consider your priorities: Make a list of what's most important to you in a program, such as location, cost, research opportunities, or program curriculum and clinical experiences, and use this list to compare each program.
When you’re accepted to multiple programs, you’re the decision-maker now. Be sure the program you choose offers what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure it does!
Visit the campuses: If at all possible, visit the campuses of the programs you are seriously considering to get a feel for the environment and meet with faculty and current students. I can’t tell you how many students make their final decision based on the feel they get when they attend program visit days for accepted students.
Contact alumni: You can reach out to current students and alumni of the programs you're considering to get their perspectives on the program. They can offer valuable insights into what it's really like to attend the program, and their personal experiences may help you make an informed decision.
Trust your gut: Finally, trust your gut. If you feel strongly one way or the other about a program, either keep or cross it off your list depending on what that gut feeling is. You know what’s best for you!
In summary, receiving acceptance(s) to SLP grad programs is a great accomplishment, and it took so much time and dedication to get here. Congratulations! If you’ve been offered multiple acceptances, take the time to consider your priorities, visit campuses, research financial aid options, talk to current students and alumni, and trust your intuition.
Remember, if you need help deciding, I’m always available for a coaching call. Whichever program you choose, always stay focused on your goals and work hard to achieve them.
As always, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com with any questions. I am so happy to help!
Good luck on your journey to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist! You’ve got this!