Goal-Setting for Future SLP Grad School Applicants: How & When to Apply to SLP Grad School

Are you considering a career in speech-language pathology? If so, you’ve likely heard that you must apply to grad school in order to become a fully licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP).

But you might be wondering: What is the SLP grad school application process like? And What are my chances of getting into SLP grad school?

In this blog post, we'll provide an overview of what SLP grad school is, discuss whether SLP grad programs are competitive, and outline the general timeline for the SLP grad school application process. This outline will help you set goals and a rough timeline for your own grad school applications!

What is SLP grad school?

SLP grad school refers to a graduate program in speech-language pathology. A graduate degree is required to practice as a speech-language pathologist. Most SLPs complete master’s degrees, but some skip a master’s and go straight to a PhD. SLP master’s programs typically take two to three years to complete and involve both coursework and clinical practicum.

SLP grad school is much more career-focused than undergraduate programs, and students must attain direct patient experience throughout their graduate programs under the supervision of a licensed SLP. Upon graduation, SLPs complete a 9-month clinical fellowship before they are eligible for full SLP licensure.

Are SLP grad programs competitive?

Yes, it's important to note that SLP grad programs can be competitive. In ASHA’s most recent CSD Education Survey, participating SLP master’s programs reported an average of 38.7% acceptance rate in the 2020-2021 application cycle. With a total enrollment of 23,592 SLP grad students in that same year, that means over 37,300 applicants were declined admission. Ugh!

As you prepare your SLP grad school application, keep in mind that application review committees generally consider GPA, relevant experience, letters of recommendation, and a strong personal statement when deciding which applicants to accept into their cohorts.

SLP programs also have limited enrollment, so they may receive more qualified applications than there are available spots in the program - which makes it really important to stand out as you create your grad school application!

If you are applying to grad school this year and want to make sure your application is competitive, check out the SLP Grad School Application Blueprint Course for many SLP grad school application tips and tricks!

To find information on admissions rates and cohort sizes for individual programs, check out ASHA EdFind.

The SLP grad school application process/timeline

So, what does the process of applying to an SLP graduate program involve?

The SLP grad school application process can take months to complete.

This is because each program has its individual requirements, most applicants apply to multiple programs, and most applicants are also in school and/or working while applying to grad school.

It is important to give yourself 6-8 months to go through the whole process from researching your schools to final submission.

If you are a current undergraduate student who will be applying to grad school with January due dates, for example, I encourage you to start your SLP grad school application process the summer before your application due dates. Don't worry, it starts with some simple research, and as long as you're organized the process will be seamless!

Here's an overview of the steps you will take:

1. Research and begin your list of SLP grad schools:

Begin by identifying and researching schools that have accredited SLP master’s programs. This is the very first part of the SLP grad school application process.

When determining your initial list of schools, you’ll likely consider the program coursework, faculty and their respective research labs, cost and financial assistance, location, and your specific areas of interest. To get a copy of the SpeechLyss Checklist for Adding a School to Your List, check out this link.

2. Check application requirements:

Each SLP program will have its own application requirements, such as transcripts, recommendation letters, resumes, personal statements, and/or essays. Be sure to review these requirements carefully as you research SLP programs, and keep track of them in a detailed spreadsheet such as the one found HERE.

3. Take the GRE (if needed):

Many SLP programs require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or a similar standardized test. Register for the exam and schedule a testing date well before application due dates. For a detailed timeline along with GRE tips and resources, check out the SLP Grad School Application Organization Bundle.

4. Write your SLP grad school resume + personal statement:

Most SLP graduate programs require applicants to submit both a resume and a personal statement or essay.

Your resume is where you highlight relevant experiences and skills, and your personal statement is where you share more details about your experiences, goals, and motivations for pursuing a career in SLP. The trick is to not make your personal statement a mirror image of your resume (a mistake I often see in my application reviews).

To build a stand-out resume and personal statement, check out modules 2 and 3 of the SLP Grad School Application Blueprint course, found HERE.

5. Request letters of recommendation:

Most schools require a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation. They often want at least 1-2 to be from professors you have had. For more info, visit this blog post: How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation.

6. Submit your applications:

Once you have organized and written all required materials, you’ll complete online applications for each grad school. Some schools use a common application system (CSDCAS), while others have their own application portals (this is something to track in your Organization Spreadsheet). You will submit your transcripts, recommendation letters, personal statement/essay(s), and any other required materials.

7. Wait for a response:

After submitting your application, you will likely wait several weeks or months to receive a response. For programs with due dates in December, January, and February, most applicants hear back starting March 1st, and must respond to programs with a decision by April 15th. If you are accepted into a program, you will receive an offer letter with further instructions on how to accept and enroll.

Overall, the process of applying to SLP grad school is competitive and requires careful planning and preparation. By setting clear goals and staying organized, you can increase your chances of being accepted into your top-choice programs and achieving your dream of becoming a speech-language pathologist!

For all the best resources for staying organized throughout your SLP grad school application process, you don’t want to miss the SLP Grad School Application Blueprint course.

If you are only looking for the organization materials within the SLP grad school application course, check out the organization document-only bundle or the Organization Module that has all the documents plus detailed step-by-step videos.

As always, reach out with any questions at hello@speechlyss.com. I’d love to chat!