No AccessSIG 10 Issues in Higher EducationResearch Article21 Feb 2020

Student Experience Applying to Graduate School for Speech-Language Pathology


    The purpose of this study is to better understand the experiences faced by students during the application process for master's degree programs in speech-language pathology.


    Data were collected through administering an online survey to 365 volunteers who had applied to master's degree programs in speech-language pathology. Survey questions were designed to gain the student perspective of the application process through exploration of students' deciding factors for top choices of graduate programs, emotional involvement in the application process, biases/rumors heard, student challenges, advice to future applicants, and what students would change about the application process.


    Factors that influenced participants' reasoning for selecting their “top choice” programs were largely consistent with previous studies. Issues that shaped the student experience applying to graduate school for speech-language pathology included financial constraints, concern regarding the prominence of metrics such as Graduate Record Examinations scores in the admissions process, a perceived lack of guidance and advising from faculty, and confusion regarding variation among graduate program requirements.


    Gaining insight into the student experience with the application process for graduate programs in speech-language pathology yields useful information from a perspective not frequently explored in prior literature. While the data presented in this study suggest the process is confusing and challenging to many applicants, the discussion highlights practical solutions and sheds light on key issues that should be considered carefully by individual graduate programs as well as the field as a whole.


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