What if I don´t get into SLP grad school? It´s a pretty terrifying question that haunts a lot of applicants. I´m in the same boat as I write this!
I´m wondering to myself… what if my GPA isn´t high enough? What if my GRE´s scores are good enough? What if my essays aren´t convincing? I´m trying not to obsess over these ideas, but it is easy to let them consume you as you lie down for bed each night.
I won´t find out until March or April if I´m in or not. Regardless though, I´m already planning a backup plan. Some people might think that´s pessimism, but I think it´s just being safe.
So, what should you do if you don´t get into SLP Grad school?
Recognize that its okay to be upset
First, it is okay to be disappointed. You worked hard on those applications and the rejection can feel personal. Take some time to feel that hurt. If you deny it, it´ll just gnaw at you from the inside.
Everyone is different in how long they need to grieve.
Once you´ve accepted it, start getting ready to…
ReApply Next Year
Some people have this idea that you can´t reapply to the same school after you´ve already been rejected once. It is true that admissions committees don´t want to see that exact same application two years in a row. However, you don´t have to be the same candidate two years in a row! In fact, you shouldn´t be!
If you´re rejected, you´ve got almost an entire year to transform yourself into a new candidate! Is it going to be hard? Absolutely! But it is necessary.
So, pull out those motivational posters that were all over your middle school classroom walls and soak up the cheese! You´re going to need something motivational to get you through this process.
Request feedback and honor what you´re told
Many schools will be willing to offer feedback in writing or over the phone if you ask (POLITELY!) for it. Be sure to ask politely and thank the person for whatever they tell you.
Don´t argue with whatever feedback you´re given, but be sure to use it! Turn that feedback into a list of goals for improvement.
Be Honest With Yourself
After you´ve got any feedback you can from schools, take an honest and hard look at your profile.
Don´t lie to yourself.
Don´t make excuses.
Rank your application components from weakest to strongest.
**Note, your GPA score is multiplied by a factor of 2 (a.k.a it counts twice).
NMSU ranks applicants based on their scores using this system (and other unnamed factors) and offers admission to the top ranked candidates.
What you need to do is honestly rank yourself. Maybe even get some mentors/friends to do the same. The most important thing is to BE HONEST with yourself (one of the hardest things to do). For example, if you know your Personal Statement isn´t as good as some others you´ve read (well first check out this post) then don´t give yourself a 5.
The point is to figure out where you can improve.
If Your GPA Was Too Low…
Enroll in some classes in the CSD area to boost your GPA. You can retake classes you earned a low grade in or take new classes all together.
Utah State University has an online program that is affordable, and it´s not the only one! A quick Google search will reveal many different options for you.
Boosting your GPA is a slow process, but it is absolutely possible if you´re willing to put forth the effort. If you need motivation, check out this post by a now SLP. Her original GPA was a 2.74. Then she did a 2nd degree post-bacc and worked her butt off to earn a 3.94!
If Your GRE Score Wasn´t Good…
Raise it! How? STUDY! I recommend using Magoosh (check out my full review of their service here). Magoosh helped me raise my score by almost 16 points overall.
You might think you already tried everything you can and that you´re simply “not good at tests” but don´t limit yourself! Try a new approach. Get a coach! (Ha, rhyme).
I recommend using Magoosh GRE and doing lots of practice questions. As you do them, keep a list of the topics/subjects that are difficult for you (Magoosh will tell you after each question), and then learn about those topics!
If Your Personal Statement / Letter of Intent Wasn´t Convincing or Original…
Then you need some more experiences or a rewrite… or both!
Before you rewrite though, try adding some new experiences to your resume!
Depending on how mobile you are, you can move abroad to teach English for a year (There´s lots of great programs, email me for details!). Treasyri (an SLP grad student) did just that and it surely helped her application stand out.
Try earning some significant volunteer experience. I don´t mean 3 hours over the course of a year. I mean something that really shows your commitment and hopefully changes you as a person! Join CityYear or AmeriCorps. Go to a Senior Care Facility and do what you can to make the residents more comfortable. Volunteer with the special olympics!
If your financial situation doesn´t allow for some of those options, then see if you can find a job in a related field. Perhaps working as an SLP-Assistant would be a good option! You could learn more about the field and earn some pretty fantastic experience that will help set your application apart. Working as a para-professionals in school district would also be a valuable resume booster. Day care, reading tutor, anything to show you care about people and language!
If Your Recommendations Were Lukewarm…
You should spend time building relationships with professors.
This is a tough thing to do and not something that happens overnight. Work hard in their classes. Take a genuine interest in their research.
Check out this post on getting good letters of recommendation. It really takes a lot of time and work.
Don´t despair if you didn´t get into SLP Grad school this round! Work on your application, improve yourself, and try again next year!