Chapter One: Choosing Schools to Apply To

As promised, here is the first post in our series of posts about grad school applications!

In the beginning….

It was a warm morning in early May and Sir Stu Dent of Rutgers University was finally free. He had completed his final exams with great success, and now he was officially done with his junior year of undergrad. He had nearly four long months before he was to begin his senior year. He wanted to spend the summer relaxing – but alas, Stu was not an ordinary undergraduate. No, Stu had bigger hopes and dreams. Stu wanted to go to graduate school for speech-language pathology, or maybe audiology if that is your preference, and that meant that he would have a long journey ahead of him.

And so on that warm morning in early May, Sir Stu began to plan.

Now as I’m sure you are all aware, applying to graduate school is like fighting a many-headed monster. Only instead of fighting the monster, you have to feed it to get on its good side, and each of the monster’s heads wants something different for dinner, and you’ll likely be facing multiple monsters at the same time. Oh, and you won’t know if any particular monster has become your ally until months after your final battle, when it mails you a letter with its decision.

Wow, this seems terribly overwhelming thought Sir Stu. And Stu was right. But Stu also knew that with proper planning (and postponed procrastination), he could befriend at least a few of these beasts.

When fighting a formidable foe, one must know their adversary well, so naturally, Sir Stu’s first step was to learn more about the many-headed monsters, who heretofore shall be referred to as “graduate schools.” Stu began by visiting his town’s wise man, a Sir ASHA Edfind. Sir Edfind knew all about graduate schools. He could tell you which programs existed, and in which lands they were located, and how long it would take to graduate from one. He was great!

Stu arrived at Sir Edfind’s home(page) with a notebook and quill in hand, and as Sir Edfind answered Stu’s many questions, Stu began to compose a list of the graduate schools that he found most appealing. When he was done, Stu had many names on his list – far too many to realistically befriend them all – so Sir Stu decided that he must learn even more, in order to narrow his list down to a reasonable amount of schools, perhaps three to nine.

Stu’s quest for knowledge next took him to Sir Internet, who could describe each potential graduate program to him in detail by showing him a window into the monster’s mind known as a “website.” The website allowed Stu to see which kinds of courses were offered, if there was an on-campus clinic, what the cost of tuition was, and other factors that Stu deemed important to him. With this information in hand, Sir Stu proceeded to narrow down his list. With a swish of his quill he crossed out the names of several schools that he felt were not a good fit for him, and circled and starred the schools that he liked best. Stu now had a proper list.

What would Sir Stu do next?
Read on tomorrow, as the journey continues…


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