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ENC3254CSD-Professional_Writing: Preparing for graduate school in SLH

Professional resources for Writing in the Professions - Communication Sciences and Disorders

General information

US News and World Report's Grad Schools Probably the most commonly-known ranking of graduate schools in the US (tho not for allied health professions). Features links to articles on applying to and paying for grad school and on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

GRE from ETS Information on the Graduate Record Exam from its producer, Educational Testing Service

Peterson's Grad Schools Another reputable source on graduate schools. Doesn't rank them but is searchable. Has a nice timeline for preparing to apply and enter graduate school and a brief description of workload (time and nature) of Master's degree programs in general

Grad School Advice From an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon but has some unique tips for women and "minority" students. Some of the documents are old but still hold good advice. Particularly fun is the "How to be a Terrible Grad Student" about a quarter of the way down the page.

Surviving Rejection (and Acceptance)  From

Grad Cafe Forums Comments on many topics by graduate students

Online Master's Programs in Speech Language Pathology portal of links/

Exploiting the Mentoring Possibilities of Grad School

Mentoring Functions

Sponsorship: Mentor nominates protege for awards, recommends for positions, invites protege to participate in research or writing projects or challenging projects that will build skills and competency

Visibility: Highlights protege's accomplishments to facullty and other professionals, promotes protege's work for presentation/publication

Coaching: Advises on career goals, balancing academic and personal responsibilties, navigating publication process and/or organizational politics

Role modeling: Actively demonstrates successful performance of relevant professional skills and tasks such as teaching, grant writing, facilitating meetings


How to Establish a Positive, Valuable Mentoring Relationship

Gather information on mentoring in the graduate program to which you're applying. If no formal structure exists, enquire into informal mentoring relationships that current faculty in the program may have developed. 

Research professors in departments with which you may work (including education, neurology, otolaryngology, linguistics, biomedical engineering).

  • Have they published/presented on topics of interest to you? 
  • How do other graduate students evaluate a potential mentor's 
    • interpersonal skills, including clear articulation of expectations, open and active listening, and ability to thoughtfully, judiciously provide both positive and negative feedback in a supportive, non-patronizing/non-punitive manner
    • genuine interest in developing new professionals
    • organizational skills
    • flexibility, patience and empathy
    • availability, responsiveness to student questions and concerns
    • active participation in and commitment to the profession through research, writing, participation in professional associations
    • knowledge of the discipline and its research or practice techniques
    • ethics, integrity and respect for the time commitments, egos, personal boundaries, privacy and intellectual property of others

Arrange introductory meetings with top faculty prospects to discuss the possibility of developing a mentoring relationship.

Create opportunities for informal interaction with your "top choice" faculty member (attending his/her seminars, enrolling in his/her courses, assisting with teaching or research projects).

Schedule a meeting to identify mutual goals and obtain an affirmative commitment from the mentor. At this time  you may wish to sign a contract or otherwise lay ground rules on such issues as 

  • Duration of mentoring relationship
  • Frequency of meetings
  • Expected roles of both parties
  • Short- and long-term goals
  • Confidentiality
  • Possible periodic evaluations of the relationship and steps to take in the event the relationship fails to meet the needs of either party

Once the mentorship has been established:

  • Keep commitments, be punctual, and meet deadlines.
  • Maintain a high standard of excellence in your performance.
  • Communicate directly, honestly and respectfully or courteously.
  • Listen to the mentor's advice and try to learn from it.
  • Accept increasing responsibility by volunteering and/or accepting opportunities the mentor sends your way.
  • Practice good self-care. Maintain an awareness of your limitations so that you do not burn out professionally.  Protect your legal rights, including rights to your intellectual property.
  • Be mindful of the mentor's goals. Find ways to support his/her efforts. Do not let yourself become passive or dependent on your mentor.
  • Communicate your appreciation for the mentor's efforts, words, time. Even seasoned mentors value positive feedback.
  • Admit mistakes. Be open about your mistakes and quick to develop a plan with your mentor to avoid similar problems in the future.
  • Maintain a sense of humor. Even a fool can find fault but the wise pull lessons and often entertaining anecdotes from their negative experiences.  


Adapted from Getting Mentored in Graduate School by W. Brad Johnson and Jennifer M. Huwe (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2003.)

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