Personal Statements For Speech Pathology Grad School Examples

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.

Graduate school personal statements can be challenging, often because they don’t specify what exactly they want you to write about. For instance, the prompt might read as follows: Personal Statement (500 word limit).

This can create a lot of anxiety in grad-school candidates. “So, I can write about...anything?” my client, Ryan, an aspiring speech pathologist asked. “It says ‘personal’ – does that mean that I should tell them about how my mom had a stroke when I was in tenth grade?”

I gave Ryan the same answer I give all of my candidates who come to me with that confused puppy dog look: “Yes and no.”

If you’re applying to a speech pathology program because you want to work with stroke victims, then yes, by all means, include the story about your mother’s stroke in your personal statement. Discussing the impact that moment had on you would be the perfect set-up for the essay. BUT, be careful not to end up writing an essay about your mother. Remember, you only have 500 words, so talk about you. Your mother is only a launching point for a discussion about a defining moment in your development as a future speech pathologist.

Let me break it down for you:

Paragraph 1. This is where you get personal. No, this doesn’t mean empty the contents of your diary. This means write about the moment that you realized you wanted to pursue your goal. For the speech pathology example, this paragraph could be about how your mother had a stroke and then how you watched her struggle to relearn how to speak—and how you worked with her to improve her speech and found that you had a passion and a talent for it. Be specific.

Why? Graduate programs want students who are passionate about what they want to do, not students who are just looking to avoid the real world for another few years. This is your opportunity to show them why you want it.

Paragraph 2. What have you done thus far to pursue your interest in speech pathology? This is an opportunity to discuss specific classes you’ve taken in college—talk about a particular professor you learned from, clubs you started or joined. Discuss internships or observation hours. But DO NOT simply list them, you don’t want to regurgitate your resume. Remember, they have your resume! Tell them what’s not on your resume. For instance, discuss specific moments within your observation hours where you learned something significant and how you plan to apply what you learned.

Why? Graduate school want students who have already been seeking knowledge; show them what you’ve learned so far.

Paragraph 3. Why do you want to go to grad school? What do you still have left to learn that you need NYU for? Discuss skills that you need to obtain, improve or expand. For instance, you might want to work with stroke victims in a hospital—therefore you are looking to apply to a medically-based speech pathology program. Perhaps the majority of your observation hours were spent in a classroom with young children. Therefore you lack the medical knowledge needed to obtain a job as a speech pathologist in a hospital.

Now here’s the part where Ryan asks, “But Kirsten, don’t I want to appear confident? Won’t it make me look weak to admit that I still have stuff to learn?”

The answer? No. Schools want students who are self aware–they know their strongest and weakest areas. You want to show the school that you know what you need to work on and what experiences you need to gather in order to accomplish your goal. This also demonstrates that you actually will benefit from graduate school—and proves to the school even more that you are a serious candidate.

Paragraph 4. The school-specific portion of your essay. Why NYU, specifically? Here, it is important to be extremely specific in order to show enthusiasm for a particular school. Research classes, professors and clubs, and discuss how they will help you accomplish your goal.

Why? You must prove that you want to go to the school. By getting specific about the school you also demonstrate your ability to research and gain knowledge—good traits for a prospective student. Additionally, when you get an interview—you’ll have lots to discuss.

Last paragraph. Your conclusion. A few short sentences about how NYU is going to help you, and you are going to help them, change the planet (by using your speech pathology degree to work with stroke victims).

Don’t worry, it’s completely normal to feel anxious about writing a personal statement. It can feel like the be all end all—when you start to feel overwhelmed, just remember that you already know all of the answers. You’ve been living this essay—just dig down deep and start typing.

--Kirsten Guenther



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