Graduate School, Graduate School Applications

The Graduate School Application Process

the graduate school application process

By far, the most stressful period of my life thus far was applying to graduate school. To be honest, I didn’t have the best GPA out there, but I was passionate. I was lucky enough to obtain an SLP-A position during my undergrad years, as well as doing Autism therapy and numerous other relatable jobs. I understand the stress involved in the entire process! Here are my bits of advice:

1) Start early! I know you’ve heard this a million times, but if you start an application at the last minute, it will show!

2) Don’t get too hung up on the numbers, but realize the numbers do count. I got into multiple universities with less than average statistics! It can be done, but realize if you have less than average numbers (i.e., GPA, GRE scores), you will need to make it up elsewhere if your application! Make sure you’ve volunteered or worked at relatable places. Make sure you have amazing letters of recommendation from professors in the department. And make sure your application is flawless. My advisor in graduate school told me that you wouldn’t believe how many people turn in applications with typos. Don’t be one of those people!

3) Have multiple people edit your essay! Do everything you can to find family, friends, colleagues, or supervisors that will edit your essay. Do not use fluffy language such as, “I want to help people” or “I’ve wanted to do this forever”. Really tell the admissions committee what you will contribute to their graduate class. Everybody wants to help people… What is unique and amazing about you?

4) DO YOUR RESEARCH. This is in caps for a reason. If you are nervous about getting in, DO NOT apply to all of the same schools as your friends. I know in my home state, almost everybody I knew applied to the same 5 schools. Use this website to search through all of the graduate programs in the United States. Email them! Find out what type of students they are looking for. Learn about their resources and their areas of specialty! Don’t be afraid to apply to smaller schools.

5) Take good care of the people writing you recommendations. Make each of them a packet containing organized information about each school they will need to send a recommendation to. Include the deadline for each school in addition how they should submit their recommendation (online, in the mail, or give back to you). Do send them a nice and thoughtful thank you note afterwards!

6) Don’t look at GradCafe. Resist the urges! It will only make you feel inferior. So many of my panic attacks were induced by GradCafe. If you don’t know what GradCafe is… good! Do not go look and thank me for saving you much stress!

Well, hope that helps! For me, the application process was more stressful than graduate school itself! If you want any advice or help during the process, don’t hesitate to email me at If you’ve recently completed the grad school application process, or grad school itself, and want to write a guest blog post, email me too! I’ll do the best I can to point you in the right direction. At the end of the day, be proud of the work you’ve put in to get to where you are!

be proud of yourself forhow hardyou're working.

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15 Comment

  1. Reply
    November 28, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    Great advice!!

  2. Reply
    Jessica Griggs
    January 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I’m so glad that I found your blog! I graduated in December 2011 and have been working as an SLPA ever since. I just applied to graduate school, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I love your activities and look forward to following your blog!

    1. Reply
      January 10, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Thank you so much for your comment and your kind words!! Best of luck! The application process is stressful, but I promise it’ll be worth it when you get your first acceptance letter 🙂 Also, I just clicked on the link to your blog and it is FANTASTIC! Keep up the great work!

  3. Reply
    January 12, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Excellent advice! I loved the tip about not looking at gradcafe! Keep up the good work!

    1. Reply
      January 19, 2013 at 6:35 PM

      Thank you 🙂

  4. Reply
    August 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Thank you for your helpful tips! I’ll keep that in mind! 😀

    1. Reply
      August 12, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      You’re welcome! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  5. […] I said in of my first blog posts ever, applying to graduate school was one of the most stressful periods of my life. And I’m still […]

  6. Reply
    January 6, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Unfortunately, I stumbled upon GradCafe before finding your blog. It was very discouraging. It made me seriously consider changing my career path and abandoning everything I have worked so hard for. I’m very glad I found your blog. It’s great to read some positive information and useful tips for grad school acceptance. It gives me hope. Thanks so much!

    1. Reply
      January 6, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      GradCafe is THE.WORST. And you are more than welcome! Let me know if you have any questions throughout the process! Good luck!

  7. Reply
    April 22, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Hey! I know I’m a little late to the club, but I just found this blog via Pinterest haha. I just got into the SLP undergrad program at my school – so I have 2 more years until grad school but I can’t help but try and prepare my self as early as possible. So, if you have any great tips and/or good ideas for volunteering/working related to the major, I’d be so grateful to know some! Or just advice, that’d be great, too.

    1. Reply
      April 23, 2016 at 10:15 AM

      That’s great! Being an SLP is the best career ever 🙂 Really, it is as simple as getting out there and doing activities related to the population you could see yourself working with! Camps for children with special needs, in home autism therapy, babysitting for kids with disabilities, are some things I did to get involved! They all contributed positively to my application! Good luck!

      1. Reply
        April 23, 2016 at 10:22 AM

        Oh, awesome! Thanks for responding so quickly.
        I’ve volunteered a lot with children with special needs and absolutely love it. Also interested in the in-home therapy and looking into that. Where/how did you begin working with the in-home autism therapy? Because that sounds like an awesome opportunity! (That’s my last question, promise)

  8. Reply
    March 14, 2017 at 2:27 PM

    Hi! When did you take the GRE and when did you apply to grad school? Thank you for your help!

    1. Reply
      March 18, 2017 at 8:53 AM

      I can’t remember my actual timeline, however I started grad school in the fall of 2012. Hope that helps!

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