So now that I’ve decided I’m going to become a Speech Language Pathologist, I need to make a plan to get there! Getting into grad school isn’t the easiest thing to begin with. Masters programs in Speech Language Pathology are especially competitive. And to top it all off, I’m an out-of-field candidate (which means I have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field). I know its going to be a long process.
To make sure I’ve got a chance, I broke it down into the big basic steps. Here it is: my plan to get into grad school.
1. Complete PreRequisites
2. Boost GPA
3. Get an awesome GRE score
4. Get into a bilingual masters program
1. Take Pre-Requisite Courses:
My undergraduate degree is not in Communication Disorders (or a related field), so I’ll need to do some pre-requisite leveling courses. I’ve got two options here:
1. I could apply directly for masters programs that include leveling coursework in the degree.
2. My second option is to complete the leveling courses in an independent program before applying for the masters.
3. I know I said there were 2 options, but I’m adding a third which is a combination of 1 & 2 (pun intended!). I’m going to take some pre-requisite courses online while applying to programs that will include any remaining leveling coursework in my masters.
Why? Lots of reasons…
- I’m living in Mexico City currently, and I’m going to be here for another year and a half. I might as well use this time to get a head start on classes that I’m going to have to take anyways.
- Also, these online classes are probably cheaper than what I’d pay for in person as part of a graduate program.
- I’m going to get A’s (because I’m going to work super hard!) which will simultaneously boost my GPA and help my application look stronger by demonstrating my interest in the field.
- Finally, If I don’t get into a program before I finish all the pre-requisites, I can still continue taking pre-requisites (to help my application and GPA), and when I’m finish I’ll re-apply.
I’ve decided to do some online pre-requisites through Utah State University. They offer a complete 2nd bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders… all online! There are other options, but I really liked the idea of getting another degree out of it. If I don’t get into a masters program, I’d still have a whole 2nd degree.
2. Boost my GPA:
My G.P.A. after undergrad was 3.54. So, that’s not terrible, but unfortunately that is about average for most programs. I want to boost it as much as I can in order to be competitive for admission and *fingers crossed* a scholarship or fellowship! My 2nd degree courses at USU should help. Also, many schools only consider the G.P.A. of your final 60 credit hours!
3. Get an awesome GRE score:
I spoke with some professors at schools I’d like to attend, and they said that most of the application comes down to GPA and GRE score. When I finished my undergrad, my university paid for me to take the GRE as an exit exam. At the time, I wasn’t planning on going to grad school so I didn’t prep much at all, and I got just over 1,000 (about 298 on the new system). Again, the score is alright, but it’s only average for top programs.
I’m definitely retaking it. Last time I didn’t prep at all, but I was in good “academic shape.” This time, I’m going to prep hardcore. I’ve already started getting books and resources. I’ll cover that in another post.
4. Get into a bilingual-master program
After I’ve done 1, 2, and 3, I’m going to apply for bilingual masters programs and cross my fingers!
Wish me luck!