If you are applying to a Speech-Language Pathology graduate school program anywhere in the country, you may need to submit a statement (or letter) of intent. Did you already Google “How to write a letter of intent for Speech Pathology graduate school? “There are limited, relevant results. First off, what is a statement of intent? In my opinion, it’s like a first date with a total stranger. Only you are trying to convince them to marry you, blindfolded, based on a test score, GPA, and resume. Talk about pressure. *Applies Makeup* But truly, the statement/letter is your opportunity to highlight strengths and weaknesses, explain your passion & interest in the career, and answer questions they may pose. First dates are always awkward, so let’s wade through this one together.
Before continuing on, take a moment to peek at two excellent resources before continuing your read:
1. The University of New Mexico’s Guidelines for your letter of intent –> “Statement of Intent = Intellectual Autobiography”
2. Questions to ask before you write –> Such as “Any discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain?”
Now then, let’s focus on the specifics of pre-writing and writing the statement/letter in relevance to Speech-Language Pathology.
Before you write, research the program:
- What keywords are found on the department’s website? – Try to work those in.
- What is the mission statement of the department or college? – Use some of the phrasing, if possible.
- What areas are some of the faculty researching? – Mention a similar interest, if you have one.
- Have you spoken with faculty about the focus of the program? More clinical or research based? Key ideas to weave into your writing.
- Check out ASHA’s mission statement and vision; see if those spark ideas for your letter.
- The first sentence should be unique. Offer a quip or quote that inspires or provokes interest.
- Avoid “I like the field of Speech-Language Pathology because…” Come on, be unique. Try “How often do passion and profession come together? For me,…” <–Something thought-provoking, yet speaks to your personality or interest.
- Subsequent sentences should offer insight into why you want to study Speech-language pathology. Don’t give a history lesson, but offer a fresh perspective. Show that you have done some research, but also make it personal.
- For example: “The field of speech-language pathology grew following World War II and continues to inspire many professionals since then, myself included…”
- Discuss your compatibility with the program, including factors leading to your decisions, relevant experience, or how your interest in the field has developed upon further study.
- For instance, discuss positive stories you read about their academic record, clinical practice, passing rate for Praxis, etc.
- Express interest in what clinical areas and/or populations you want to pursue.
- Explain what you have done to prepare for the challenges graduate school poses, if admitted.
- For example, “SLP grad school will demand my full-time attention, which I plan to address using my time management skills, organization system, and attention to deadlines.”
- Consider mentioning an area of growth clinically, then how you will use your strengths to address it.
- For example, “While I am still developing research skills, I plan to utilize my zeal for knowledge to challenge myself to find the latest evidence.”
- BONUS Points: In my experience, if you can mention any knowledge or experience you have with multicultural populations, this can help you stand out. It’s a big push in grad school.
- How does your interest and long-term plan relate to their program vision and mission? Mention those key terms again.
- Describe how excited you are to be a prospective applicant to their program. Here are some keywords to use:
- Motivated, qualified, experienced, culturally sensitive, empathetic, energized, diversified background, driven.
- Include that you look forward to the opportunity to discuss your application further, and how you need to be accepted over everyone else…maybe leave that last part out 🙂
All done?? NOOOO. Let your professors read it, ask a professor in the literature department to read it, have your friends read it, have your mom read it, have the Dean read it. Get feedback. Take all of the edits into consideration to create the BEST letter of intent the graduate program has ever seen!
Let me be clear, that these are my suggestions from my own experience, reading other letters/statements, and from the other resources I’ve found (mentioned above). I hope you find this useful, and feel free to share your own resources that help you too! Check out my other post about Applying to SLP Graduate School and Plan B for the #slp2b
Speech and Language Pathology
Oral communication is an important part of our daily life. It helps us to stay connected to the people, surrounding us, satisfy our small everyday needs and receive a big part of information. Most of people cannot even imagine what it is like when you physically cannot express your thoughts. Yet there are a lot of people who suffer from language and speech pathologies, which make a simple sentence said out loud an unreachable goal.
Speech disorders do not necessarily mean the person cannot talk at all. It includes everything that negatively influences the voice of a person, frequency of speech or creates difficulties with pronunciation of some sounds. Though the speech of a person with a disorder of this kind is usually understandable, it can create serious difficulties for the person, as he or she is limited in expressing the thoughts in the same way as other people. It may cause misunderstandings and psychological inconveniences.
Language disorder may involve many other things beside the speech disorders. The main difference is that a person may not have any problems with physically expressing the words, but actually forming thoughts into appropriate words and sentences will be a trouble for them. The main problem is to express exactly what the person want to say, which can also create misunderstandings with the object of communication and create an environment for a person, in which he decides to limit the communication with others at all.
Speech and language pathologies can be stand-alone, combined with each other or be caused by other mental disorders. When combined with each other, the disorders only make the cause of the person much worse (he/she has troubles with both formulating the sentence and expressing it). Moreover, even if it seems like a stand-alone pathology and does not appear to be connected to anything else, to successfully cure it it is necessary to determine the possibility of other physical and/or mental disorders.
Speech and language disorders are considered the illnesses that do not pose any threat to the life of a human, but can seriously complicate one's life. That is why it is important to find out all the symptoms and causes of the pathology at a very early age (if an individual is born with it) or as soon as possible after the symptoms appear. It will help to refuse the damage, done to the organism and make the integration of this person in the society much easier.