How to Optimize Graduate School Applications

Prepared by the 2019 Multicultural Issues Board

Returning to an Academic Frame of Mind

  • Outline steps you have taken to return to college
  • Define professional and personal time constraints
  • Search for colleges/universities that offer the degree using available resources (e.g., ASHA's EdFind)
  • Choose whether to attend full-time or part-time
  • Determine if you will attend face to face or online
  • Factor in how completion of a college degree corresponds within your current and future career path 

Essential Elements

  • GRE (if required): Verbal, Quantitative, Writing
  • Overall GPA and Major GPA
  • Plan to complete pre-requisite classes (if applicable)
  • Approved U.S. Institution equivalence for coursework taken at foreign institutions by National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)

Personal Statement (Essay)

  • Answer the prompts (if any) directly.
  • Highlight your previous career or academic experience(s)
  • Emphasize skills (i.e., military training, international studies) that are unique and specifically attributable to college
  • Emphasize your skills and any aspects of diversity that prepare you to work with individuals from different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
  • Highlight language background, e.g., spoken or manual languages and proficiency level. 

Extracurricular Activities (Enter online or resume)

  • Shadowing or clinical observation
  • Research experiences: thesis, working in labs, data coding, etc.
  • Employment history: SLPA, other related work experience including military service.
  • Military transition history: Warrior-Scholar Project, Service to School
  • Leadership: NSSLHA, school organizations, community service, military experience …etc.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Identify referees who will provide positive letters
  • Academic references are recommended
  • Give referees two months to complete letters

Helpful Tips

Before Applying

  • Follow the instructions of each application.
  • Complete specific portions (if applicable) of the application for professional students.
  • Start early and allow enough time to complete each application.
    • Submit the entire application and all required materials by the deadline.
    • Request your official transcripts early.
  • Visit the program website to get information about admissions criteria, GRE/GPA statistics,
  • Visit the program website to get information about how to transfer credits or obtain college credits for learning experiences outside the class room.
  • Visit the university website to get information about how to participate (if applicable) in the Yellow Ribbon Program or Veterans Benefits.
  • Visit the university’s financial aid website to get information about free tuition or Military Discounts.
  • Visit the university’s website to get information about student support services (i.e., childcare services, work study, career mentoring/advising...etc.)
  • Visit the program website to get information about completion rates and after graduation employment rates.

Once Admitted

  • Submit your FAFSA application
  • Check for applicable scholarships
  • Reach out to advisors and/or program coordinators.
  • Consider a campus/department tour
  • Reach out to student associations: NSSLHA, SGA (if applicable)
  • Reach out to professional associations: ASHA, State
  • Reach out to Veterans Affairs Chapter (if applicable)

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