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Your Complete Guide to Speech-Language Pathology Grad School Interview Questions… and Answers

Hello there, future speech-language pathologist! You’ve managed to impress the SLP graduate admissions committee with your application package (give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for your strong undergraduate GPA and GRE scores, glowing recommendations, and killer personal statement) enough to receive an invitation to interview.

You’ve cleared the first set of hurdles; now it’s time to wow them with an interview that’ll put you on the short list of potential candidates for that SLP grad program you’ve been dying to get into.

There’s no sugar-coating the situation; competition for those prized spots in SLP grad programs is fierce, so now is not the time to rest on your laurels. If you want to increase your chances of securing a spot in a top SLP grad program, you’ve got to nail the interview.

You likely already have your power suit pressed and ready to go; now it’s time to refine those interview prep skills that’ll make you a shoo-in for the next grad school class.

Speech and Language Therapy Masters Interview Questions: Before the Interview

A how-to article about SLP grad school interview questions wouldn’t be complete without first providing you with a rundown on what you’ll want to do before you even sit for the interview.

If you’re prepping for your grad school interview, that means you’ve already done your homework and researched a couple CAA-accredited SLP graduate programs at length to learn about the graduation rate, clinical internship. You may even be starting to think about whether an  SLP thesis track or clinical research paper option is right for you, and considering opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, and more.

But you may have additional questions that the committee can clear up for you regarding everything from elective options to clinical requirements. It’s always a good idea to bring a notebook and pen with you to the interview. You can refer to your notes at the end of the interview when you’re given an opportunity to ask a few questions, and you’ll want to keep it handy in case you want to jot down some notes as you go.

And this goes without saying, but make sure your portfolio is polished and ready to go. It should include your resume/CV and any school papers and relevant docs and presentations you may want to share with the grad committee.

Confirm the exact location where you’ll interview, and do yourself a favor and make a dry run a few days beforehand, if possible, to calculate your drive time and figure out where you’ll park. Plan to get there at least a half hour before your interview to account for any unexpected delays in your drive or other last-minute curveballs that could cause you to miss your appointment time. You’ll appreciate this cushion of time before the interview to take a few deep breaths and give yourself a much-needed pep talk.

Did you know?… SLP grad school interviews may be “open file” or “closed file”? Most schools use an “open file” format, which means they’ve already studied your application and have a good understanding of your background. However, some schools utilize a “closed file” interview process that allows them to approach the interview without knowing any significant information about you. You may or may not know what type of interview you’re walking into beforehand, so be prepared for both formats.

SLP Grad School Interview Questions and Answers

Preparing for your SLP grad school interview doesn’t mean memorizing a set of answers to questions you think you’ll be asked. Because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing natural about spouting off an answer that you’ve memorized verbatim. It is, however, time to consider the questions you may be asked and get a feel for the best way to answer them. When there are just a few seats available in a speech and language therapy master’s program, it often comes down to the interview. Do you have what it takes to make the impression that translates into an acceptance letter?

We’ve curated the top SLP grad school interview questions and answers to kick your interview planning into high gear:

What skills can you bring to the program?

You’ll want to answer this question by highlighting both your hard and soft skills. Your hard skills may include your strong writing skills, your computer skills, and your background working as an SLP assistant, while your soft skills may include your good listening skills, your ability to adapt easily to new situations, and your outgoing personality.

Answering this question with a nice blend of both your hard and soft skills is a great way to provide the grad committee with a good deal of insight into who you are as a person and a student.

What areas of speech-language pathology do you find most interesting?

While you may not have any experience in SLP to draw from at this point, chances are you’ll have an idea of which type of patients you’d like to work with, what type of setting you’d like to work in – and why. For example, you may say, “I volunteered at an assisted living facility during my summers in high school and I found this setting to be highly rewarding, so I would like to focus my SLP practice on patients in long-term care settings.”

Or perhaps, “I suffered from stuttering as a small child and still have fond memories of working with an SLP, so I would love to focus my career on working with children with speech and language disorders.”

What are your strengths?

This is the time to talk yourself up. Are you a hard worker, a problem solver, a team player? Are you honest, compassionate, detail-oriented? Be honest with yourself so you can provide the interview committee with a clear picture of what you can bring to the program.

You’ll want to highlight specific personality traits or SLP-related skills that will make you a valuable addition to an SLP grad program. But, more importantly, you’ll want to provide the committee with an example of how you have used this skill or trait to your advantage. For example, you may say, “I am proud of my strong work ethic and time-management skills. I worked full-time while I completed my bachelor’s degree, so it was imperative that I managed my time well so that I’d be successful in my studies while also meeting my work responsibilities.”

What are your weaknesses?

If you get a question about your strengths, you can be sure you’ll also be asked about your weaknesses too. Don’t answer this question with a contrived or insincere weakness – only Michael Scott can pull off a statement like, “My weakness is that I care too much.” Your honest answer to this question will show your level of self-awareness, which is something the committee will be thinking about.

An example that details the strategies or steps you’ve taken to overcome your weakness should always follow. For example, “I tend to procrastinate, which causes a lot of undo stress and anxiety when work builds up. I have found that I manage my time much better and procrastinate less when I make and stick to schedules. I’ve had great luck with my personal digital planner and can’t live without Google calendar notifications to keep me on point.”

Your Speech and Language Therapy Master’s Interview Questions are Likely to Be Asked in Cyberspace

There’s a good chance that your SLP grad school interview will be conducted remotely. A video conference interview may work best for you if you’re considering schools out of state, and you’ll find that some schools just prefer doing it that way if you’re close enough to show up in person. Of course, the pandemic has also inspired many SLP grad schools to switch their in-person interviews to remote ones. Either way, you’ll want to be just as prepared to give an interview via Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams as you would be for an in-person interview.

Here’s some tips for the best way to gear up for a successful SLP grad school interview through video conference:

  • Make sure you have secured a quiet spot to conduct the interview. No one needs a barking dog, ringing phone, or loud roommate cramping their style during a video conference interview.
  • Choose a smart outfit. Just because you’re conducting your interview remotely doesn’t mean it’s okay to ditch the professional attire. A business suit or other professional attire is still the preferred dress during a video conference grad school interview.
  • Check and double-check the quality of your internet connection. If necessary, switch to an ethernet cable during your interview so you won’t be sidelined with a less-than-trustworthy Wi-Fi connection.
  • Do a dry run to check the quality of your microphone, webcam, and speakers. The use of earbuds during an interview is preferred because they produce a better audio experience. It’s never ideal to ask the grad committee to repeat themselves, so make sure your audio is crystal clear.
  • Speak to your audience as if they are in the room with you. It may be tempting to look at that thumbnail-sized pic of you in the corner of the screen during your interview, but you won’t be looking directly at the grad committee if you do that. Instead, look directly into the camera during the interview.
  • Choose a room with good lighting and position yourself in front of a neutral background. Save yourself a good deal of stress by ironing out these details a few days before your interview.
  • Be prepared to give your interview through an automated system. Some schools have adopted automated interview systems that feature randomized video questions and a set period of time to answer them. It’s not the most ideal scenario, and you won’t have the benefit of interacting directly with the grad committee, but you’ll approach this interview like you would a live interview and provide clear concise answers that best represent who you are and what you’ll bring to an SLP grad program.

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