Letter of Intent: The first date of SLP Graduate Admissions

If you are applying to a Speech-Language Pathology graduate school program anywhere in the country, you may need to submit a statement (or letter) of intent. Did you already Google “How to write a letter of intent for Speech Pathology graduate school? “There are limited, relevant results. First off, what is a statement of intent? In my opinion, it’s like a first date with a total stranger. Only you are trying to convince them to marry you, blindfolded, based on a test score, GPA, and resume. Talk about pressure. *Applies Makeup* But truly, the statement/letter is your opportunity to highlight strengths and weaknesses, explain your passion & interest in the career, and answer questions they may pose. First dates are always awkward, so let’s wade through this one together.

Before continuing on, take a moment to peek at two excellent resources before continuing your read:

1. The University of New Mexico’s Guidelines for your letter of intent –> “Statement of Intent = Intellectual Autobiography”

2. Questions to ask before you write –> Such as “Any discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain?”

Now then, let’s focus on the specifics of pre-writing and writing the statement/letter in relevance to Speech-Language Pathology.

Before you write, research the program:

  • What keywords are found on the department’s website?  – Try to work those in.
  • What is the mission statement of the department or college? – Use some of the phrasing, if possible.
  • What areas are some of the faculty researching? – Mention a similar interest, if you have one.
  • Have you spoken with faculty about the focus of the program? More clinical or research based? Key ideas to weave into your writing.
  • Check out ASHA’s mission statement and vision; see if those spark ideas for your letter.


  • The first sentence should be unique. Offer a quip or quote that inspires or provokes interest.
    • Avoid “I like the field of Speech-Language Pathology because…” Come on, be unique. Try “How often do passion and profession come together? For me,…” <–Something thought-provoking, yet speaks to your personality or interest.
  • Subsequent sentences should offer insight into why you want to study Speech-language pathology. Don’t give a history lesson, but offer a fresh perspective. Show that you have done some research, but also make it personal.
    • For example: “The field of speech-language pathology grew following World War II and continues to inspire many professionals since then, myself included…”


  • Discuss your compatibility with the program, including factors leading to your decisions, relevant experience, or how your interest in the field has developed upon further study.
    • For instance, discuss positive stories you read about their academic record, clinical practice, passing rate for Praxis, etc. 
  • Express interest in what clinical areas and/or populations you want to pursue.
  • Explain what you have done to prepare for the challenges graduate school poses, if admitted.
    • For example, “SLP grad school will demand my full-time attention, which I plan to address using my time management skills, organization system, and attention to deadlines.”
  • Consider mentioning an area of growth clinically, then how you will use your strengths to address it.
    • For example, “While I am still developing research skills, I plan to utilize my zeal for knowledge to challenge myself to find the latest evidence.”
  • BONUS Points: In my experience, if you can mention any knowledge or experience you have with multicultural populations, this can help you stand out. It’s a big push in grad school.


  • How does your interest and long-term plan relate to their program vision and mission? Mention those key terms again. 
  • Describe how excited you are to be a prospective applicant to their program. Here are some keywords to use:
    • Motivated, qualified, experienced, culturally sensitive, empathetic, energized, diversified background, driven.
  • Include that you look forward to the opportunity to discuss your application further, and how you need to be accepted over everyone else…maybe leave that last part out 🙂

All done?? NOOOO. Let your professors read it, ask a professor in the literature department to read it, have your friends read it, have your mom read it, have the Dean read it. Get feedback. Take all of the edits into consideration to create the BEST letter of intent the graduate program has ever seen!

Let me be clear, that these are my suggestions from my own experience, reading other letters/statements, and from the other resources I’ve found (mentioned above). I hope you find this useful, and feel free to share your own resources that help you too! Check out my other post about Applying to SLP Graduate School and Plan B for the #slp2b 

bird in the water

14 thoughts on “Letter of Intent: The first date of SLP Graduate Admissions”

  1. I’ve been looking for resources from SLP students for a while now, and I’ve never found anything as informative as this blog. Thank you for taking the time to share with (hopefully) future grad students!

  2. Hello!! I am from Chile and I want to apply to this program in USA since in my country there is no such a thing. I have a degree on linguistics and literature. I also stutter since I was 4 so pretty much I’ve been working in my speech since then, I really want to enter this program. If you could help me with some lists of Universities, because I have no idea of anything. Thank you, and I hope to hear from you soon enough.

  3. Thanks for this!!! It helped me so much with my letter of intent and I was totally stuck. So it is NOT necessary to start the letter with “My name is ______ and I am applying to the _______ programs for Spring 2014….”?? I have a great hook but just nervous not to put that info in the first paragraph (even though they already have that info). Let me know!

    1. You are correct. They know who you are and they are at the school/program you are applying to. Just start off with letting them see your passion. Such as “When I first observed a Speech-Language Pathologist at XYZ, the experience confirmed my passion for working with individuals with disabilities…”

  4. Thank you very much for this. I was a bit nervous about writing my personal statement, but this blog helped a lot.

  5. Hi there!
    First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to blog about your experience as a prospective grad student. I am so thankful to have found this blog! I am in the process of applying to grad schools and writing my letter of intent, etc. I plan to apply to 5 schools so I want to write a letter that I can use for all schools, hoping to have to make only minor adjustments. How long would you say a letter of intent should be. I want to stand out and include my experiences but don’t want to ramble. Any help is appreciated! Thanks again!

  6. Thank you for the advice! I’m feeling slight trepidation about the letter of intent, even though I generally feel very confident about personal essays, etc. I nailed my essays for undergrad, but I tend to do well with a whimsical essay that sort of pokes fun of me and the writing process, if that makes sense. I can also turn up the sap factor if needed. However, I get the impression that the letter of intent needs to be more serious and professional. I get that, but is it possible to write it in a way that doesn’t just seem earnest and boring? I’m afraid to try my usual method but I don’t want to sound like everyone else, either.

  7. This is great! Thank you so much! You have really help me form a clear layout of what I need to target in my personal statement! You are really making the world of SLP a better place! 🙂
    p.s. I love Alaska!

  8. Hi! Thank you so much for this insightful outline! It is very helpful!
    I have a question, if I have a intellectual disability (ADHD), is it appropriate to disclose this within the statemet of intenet, or should it be mentioned at all?

    Thanks so much !


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