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Slp Grad School Personal Statement

Females dominate the world of Speech and Language Pathology. And yet, men are represented online to a large degree.

Erica Lester, M.S., CCC-SLP

Erica Lester is the owner and clinical director of speech language pathology programs at Talk Time, Speech Language Therapy and has a passion for helping others. Her enthusiasm for working with young children as a Speech-Language Pathologist serves as the foundation of Talk Time’s core values and standards.

Lester’s determination and steadfast desire to change the delivery of speech-language therapy into a delightful experience for children and their parents has been proven to be successful and is the goal for every child’s treatment program.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington and a Master of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology from Seton Hall University.

Lester has extensive experience in various areas of the speech, language and hearing disorders/mechanisms including Apraxia, Articulation, Attention Deficit, Auditory Processing, Augmentative Communication, Developmental Delays, Neurogenic Disorders, and Sensory, Social and Behavioral Deficiencies.

Her special interests include treating children with disabilities, autism and autistic like behaviors as well as working with children that have language and learning disabilities, expressive and receptive language delays, articulation concerns, auditory processing issues, phonological disorders and limited social skills.

Lester’s proven clinical experience is a result from working in private schools, public schools, early intervention and private practice settings.

In addition, she has taught as an adjunct professor for the Department of Speech Language Pathology at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. Lester developed and instructed an introductory course to communication disorders for prospective speech pathology graduate students where she formulated and integrated curriculum as well as mentored and advised undergraduate learners.

She is proud of the dedicated and highly qualified speech-language pathologists who work for her. She enjoys teaching and collaborating with them along with learning from them.

Jill Tate, MS CCC-SLP

Jill Tate received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of Oregon in 2001, and completed her Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College, Boston in 2003.

Tate returned to Portland for her Clinical Fellowship Year (CFY) at Child Development Rehabilitation Center (CDRC) and has worked in a variety of clinic environments to date. Jill was introduced to speech and language disorders at the age of 7 when she participated in her brother’s speech therapy sessions with Dr. Robert (Bob) Buckendorf.

This experience sparked a desire within her to help children communicate. Tate is passionate about connecting with and engaging each child in a manner that supports their individual needs.

She has expertise working with children who have speech disorders including phonological and articulation disorders (especially remediation of R), childhood apraxia of speech, dysarthria, fluency/stuttering and craniofacial disorders.

Tate also enjoys working with the pediatric population in areas including early language development. In 2013, she became an independent consultant for Complete Speech and more recently joined their advisory board.

The Smart Palate is a therapy tool that Tate proudly uses and shares with others. Tate is the owner of Jill Tate Speech Therapy and currently provides speech and language services in NE Portland and Lake Oswego.

Shelagh Davies

Shelagh Davies has a Master of Science degree in Speech and Audiological Sciences from the University of British Columbia, an Honors BA in English and Drama from Queen’s University at Kingston, and two diplomas in Speech Arts, from the Royal Conservatory of Toronto and the Mount Royal Conservatory in Calgary, Alberta.

Davies is also certified to administer the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Program – a speech/voice treatment program specifically designed for people with Parkinson ’s disease.

For the past 25 years, Davies has been in private practice, specializing in the care of the voice. She has lectured nationally and internationally, including seminars and workshops in locations as diverse as Singapore and Crete, and is also a frequent presenter in schools, universities, colleges and voice training programs throughout British Columbia.

Davies is Clinical Associate Professor and clinical researcher in the School of Speech and Audiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She provides speech and voice training to transsexual women through the Transgender Health Information Program of British Columbia.

Prior to establishing her own practice, Davies worked in hospitals with people who had suffered strokes, neurological disorders, brain injury and throat cancer. Davies developed the speech-language services program at Lions Gate Hospital and Burnaby General Hospital, and has worked in a number of other acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care settings.

Davies’ connections to the scientific and artistic worlds of voice include:

  • Registered member, College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of British Columbia
  • Member, BC Association of Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Certified member, Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
  • Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Certification in the administration of the LSVT program, a speech/voice training program specifically designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Member, National Association of Teachers of Singing
  • Member, Voice and Speech Trainers Association
  • Member, Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health

These women are building a career for themselves in this interesting and challenging field. Are you planning to join them? If so, please let us know how we can support you.


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.

Introduction:

  • 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…”

Body: 

  • 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.

Conclusion:

  • 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 

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