A large part of what constitutes your graduate school application is your personal statement. While a personal statement can seem intimidating at first, it can be completed successfully.
Some tips for success:
1. Think about what impression you make on the graduate committee. The committee is likely composed of professors who have had either clinical or research experience (likely both) in the field of speech language pathology. What does your personal statement (PS) tell them? Your PS should inform the committee of your clinical and research interests (i.e. what you hope to do) and experience (i.e. what you have already done) while using language that speaks to your knowledge of the field.
2. No room for fluff! There’s absolutely no room in your personal statement for sentences that are not direct and to the point. Articulate what your research interests are based on what seems interesting to you. Avoid broad language and phrases like, “I would like to pursue speech and language therapy.” Of course you do! What specific aspects of the field interest you? Feel free to explore the many subfields of Speech Pathology via the ASHA website or through direct involvement with professors at the university you currently attend. Some subsets include: Dysphagia (swallowing management), Apraxia of Speech, Aphasia, Accent Reduction and Modification, Fluency and Voice Disorders. You’ll have a better opportunity to experience the various subsets of the field upon admission to a graduate program, but it is beneficial to consider what you may be interested in.
3. Last but certainly not least, you! What unique perspective or experience will you contribute to the university? What makes you stand out from the 20 other “highly motivated and ambitious” applicants?
The best way to answer these questions is to begin writing! It does not matter what you write exactly, but if you’re on the path to starting your personal statement, you are that much closer to finishing it!
Best of Luck!