6 Steps to Writing the GRE

As the school year ends, many students may be planning to take (or retake) the GRE this summer. It's a great idea for people who are less busy during the summer months. Plus, if you aren’t happy with your results, you can take the test again in the Fall and still submit your scores in time for application deadlines. Here are 6 tips when preparing to write the GRE: DeathtoStock_Medium10

1. Book your test

Register for the test early so that you have a tangible date to work towards. Also, the sooner you book it, the better selection of dates and times you’ll have.

2. Overview

Review the general structure, timing and topics of the GRE. Visit this article for an overview of the test.

3. Make a study outline

Once you’ve booked your test, you’ll know exactly how much time you have to study. Map out how many hours you plan to commit to studying each week. After you’ve reviewed the whole test, you will have an idea of what areas will require more hours of studying than others.

4. Thoroughly review each part

Follow your study schedule to comprehensively review each area of the GRE. A great way to learn exactly what the test will entail is by reading sample questions and answers.

5. Do practice questions

Test yourself with the many practice questions available and also keep the time in mind. Each portion of the test is strictly timed, so be aware of the time as you practice.

6. Invest in additional resources

If you are worried about your preparedness, don’t hesitate to purchase prep materials. There are a few websites that offer good prep materials such as our partners Magoosh. If you prefer physical books, here are some recommended book resources.

Click the photo link below to get a 1 week free trial with Magoosh!

AffiliateBanners-03_00 Good luck as you prepare and write the GRE! 

SLP Education Outside of Canada

Because there are a limited number of schools that offer Speech Language Pathology in Canada, it might be beneficial to apply to schools in different countries. 25066CCDC6


If you live near the border, you could consider commuting to the States for schooling. If you're open to relocating, there are many schools that offer Masters in Speech Language Pathology across the USA. Here are two websites that can guide your search for specific programs or specific locations:

GradSchools.com | ASHA EdFind


Why not head Down Under to get your training as an SLP and experience another continent while you're at it? Visit the Speech Pathology Australia website to see the list of universities that offer a post-graduate program in SLP.

The United Kingdom

The Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists represent SLPs in the UK. They have put together a Career Guide that covers the basics of speech therapy, as well as a list of 18 universities that offer speech and language therapy courses.

Additional Resources

The Irish Association of Speech & Language Therapists

New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists' Association

 Tips For Overseas Education:

International Student Fees: Studying overseas will be more expensive because you will be paying as an international student.

Certification: If you want to come back and practice as an SLP in Canada, you need to make sure that you follow the correct steps. Visit the SAC website to see requirements for internationally educated SLPs.

Contact Representatives: Often universities have representatives that connect with potential international students. They will advise on the process of attending the school, obtaining a student visa, etc. Representatives may be visiting your current university so take advantage of those opportunities.

I Wasn't Accepted to Graduate School!

Due to the extremely competitive nature of SLP programs, (especially in Canada) graduate schools have to reject many qualified applicants.  Unfortunately, you may be one of the highly qualified applicants who receives a rejection letter. How do you cope when you receive the news? DeathtoStock8

1. Don't be afraid to express your emotion

You've put a lot of time, effort, money, hopes and dreams into graduate school, so it's understandable that bad news will affect you deeply. It is okay to cry, be upset, feel angry or defeated.

2. Share with others 

You have people such as a significant other, friends and family, in your life who are there to support you. Tell them the bad news so that they can comfort you and help you plan your next steps.

3. Consider applying again 

Often people are not accepted the first time they apply; sometimes it takes years to build a competitive application. Don't give up on being a speech-language pathologist, you can apply again next year.

4. Plan your upcoming year

You now have a year to pursue other options or reapply, therefore you need to decide what you're going to do. Visit this article to see some possible suggestions for your year off.

5. Contact the schools you were rejected from 

You have the ability to message the schools you were rejected from to ask if there is anything you can do to improve your application for next year. Often they will give vague suggestions such as, additional volunteer experiences with different populations, but it can't hurt to look into it.

Remember: This rejection letter does not define your identity. There are many applicants who would be great SLPs and do not receive an acceptance, likely including yourself. If you have dreamed for years about becoming an SLP, don't let this one rejection stop you from achieving that goal.

Options for a Year Off

Are you planning on taking a year off before applying or reapplying next year? Below are a few things you can do to fill your time, and enhance your application. DeathtoStock_Creative Community8

Improve your GPA

While many schools set a minimum GPA of around B, the competitive nature of the program means that a higher GPA will improve your chances of receiving an acceptance (improve, not guarantee). Plus, taking more classes can help you get to know profs better and therefore gain an exceptional letter of recommendation.

College Program

Completing a college program can give you academic and practical experience. For example, visit this article to learn more about the Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) program. You could also consider applying for related programs such as Autism and Behavioural Science or Aging Studies.

Teach English Abroad

There are many options for teaching English abroad and you can use this opportunity to travel the world, gain teaching experience and potentially make some money as well. Often your university will have information for teaching abroad, therefore it is good to consult an advisor who can connect you to a good company.


You can use your time off to work and save money for future education. Additionally, if you can find a job in the realm of speech science, applied linguistics, or even interacting with people, you can add this experience in your grad school application.


Research is an important part of graduate studies, and it is advantageous to have experience in research before beginning your studies. You can use your year off to complete an independent study, thesis, or assist a professor in their research.


There are certain volunteer hours required for graduate school applications but it is always better to have more than the minimum. Along with more hours, it's good to have experience with multiple populations such as children and the elderly. Visit this article to discover how you can make the most of your volunteer experience.


5 Tips When Asking SLPs to Write a Clinical Reference Letter

Your clinical reference letter is intended to display whether or not you will be a capable clinician based on your volunteer experience supervised by a registered SLP. The focus of this letter is your communication skills and your ability to interact effectively with clients. Here are a 5 tips to asking an SLP to write a clinical letter of reference letter: photo-1418479631014-8cbf89db3431


1. Be Straightforward

When you first begin your volunteer work, inform your SLP supervisor that you intend to gain a letter of reference. Also tell them when you will be applying to graduate school, don't make them guess based on what year of your undergraduate you're in.

2. Be Organized

When you ask, provide as much information as you can about your volunteer experience. Give an account for your hours, the dates you volunteered and (if necessary) information about the specific cases or clients you interacted with or observed.

3. Be Informative

If you feel like it will help, share additional information about yourself that will give the clinician an idea of your well-rounded application. For example, you can provide academic information, (such as transcripts) your resume, your letter of intent, a list of other volunteer experience etc.

4. Be Timely

Be sure to ask in advance to ensure that your supervisor has enough time to complete a letter without feeling rushed. While some schools accept online letters of recommendation, others require them to be mailed, therefore you need to account for mailing time too.

5. Be Strategic 

The strongest clinical reference letters come from clinicians who know the applicant well. If your supervisor doesn't know you well or can't remember much about you, they will likely write a vague letter that will not speak to your specific strengths. Maximize your volunteer experience by getting to know your supervisor, learning what you can and exhibiting your ability to become an incredible SLP.

Visit the related post: 5 Tips When Asking Professors to Write Letters of Recommendation

Why I Use Google Drive

If there’s one resource that’s changed my academic and personal life, it’s Google Drive. Google-Drive

6 ways you can use Google Drive to make your life easier:

1) Transferring Files

As a student, you may find yourself using different computers: home, library, laptop, desktop, parents’/friends’ computers. A great way to make sure your files are accessible wherever you go is to save them onto Google Drive. Write half an essay at home and then pick up where you left off at the library. You won't have to bring a USB place to place and you'll avoid the risk of losing it with all your important (or personal) information on it.

2) Group Projects

I’m assuming most of you already use Google Drive to collaborate between group members. The great thing about Google Drive is that it updates live, so you can work on PowerPoint presentations, spreadsheets or documents with group members in real time.  Using Google Drive can save a lot of emailing back and forth.

 3) Sharing Music

The days of burning a CD for a friend may soon be over, but that shouldn’t stop you from sharing the music that you love. As a student, it can be expensive to buy many albums, therefore if you have friends with similar music tastes, you can both upload albums to Google Drive and share the link for easy download.

 4) Budgeting

Budgeting is important for student life. I use a Google Drive Spreadsheet to budget (similar to Excel) by recording monthly income and expenses. Then, I am able to access my budget from any computer or my phone. If you are someone who uses Excel often for  budgets, expense tracking, scheduling or creating charts, you will be comfortable using Google Drive Spreadsheet.

 5) Sending Pictures

Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free space for Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photos. (That's a lot!) While emails may have limits on the size of pictures you can attach, Google Drive allows you to upload a folder of photos and easily share the link via email.

 6) Compiling Thoughts and Ideas

Have you ever read a quote or poem that you wanted to keep? had a deep thought that needed to be written down? Google Drive is an easily accessible word processor that you can fill with thoughts, inspirations and goals. I’ve collected charts, recipes, helpful website links, poems and quotes on my Google Drive over the years.



Additional Advantages of Google Drive

  • Drafts are autosaved often, therefore it’s unlikely that you will lose any of your work, and even if your computer crashes, all your information is safely stored online
  • It operates in a web browser, so you don’t have to have a word processor downloaded on your computer
  • You can install Google Drive on your computer and it becomes a folder where you can easily save/drag and drop documents into

Programs Similar to Google Drive:

If you don’t like using Google Drive for whatever reason, there are various programs and websites that offer similar convenience and cloud accessibility. Here are a few I’ve tried in the past before using Google Drive:

Which online storage service do you use, and why? Share in the comments below! 

Pros and Cons to Online Classes

In this day and age, it's likely that you'll have at least one online class throughout your education. Here are some pros and cons to consider before starting your online learning experience.




You have the power to adapt the course presentation fit to your learning styles and preferences. Often online learning requires an extra measure of self-teaching compared to being taught at a lecture each week. You can use this to your advantage by tailoring your method of learning. Some examples include reading and highlighting, creating note pages or index cards, speaking (and recording) the content and more.


Taking an online course allows for flexibility; if you like to work on a little each day, or a lot in one long session, you can tackle the course at the weekly pace you prefer. Some people learn best by concentrating for time segments punctuated by short breaks, others enjoy music or ambiance noises while they study. Additionally, if you are struggling with understanding a certain concept, you can take as much time as you need to focus and review, rather than moving at the pace of a professor.


Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, you can access the class at whatever time of the day that works best for you. You can "attend" class in a place that feels most comfortable: library, living room, coffee shop or the great outdoors (with nearby WiFi). Always wanted to wear your PJs to class? This is your chance!



Online classes are not limited by distance, therefore it's  unlikely that classmates and professors live locally. This hinders the opportunity to collaborate with peers or drop in on a professor's office hour. While technology works well to bring people close together, it cannot fully replace face-to-face conversation. TIP: Remember to use the tools at your disposal such as discussion boards and virtual office hours (if your professor offers them).

Self-Motivation Required 

This is not necessarily a negative to online learning, especially to those of you who are naturally self-motivated. To the others who are more likely to procrastinate or lack in self-motivation, an online class can be difficult to stay up to date with. TIP: Before the class begins, make a weekly schedule of your planned progress and tasks. Give yourself a little bit of wiggle room with the schedule, incase something comes up that may cause you to fall behind.

Limited Accountability 

If your online class has few paced assignments and simply an end of year exam, it might be hard to stay accountable to remaining at your desired pace. It is possible that in the time frame you are working on your online class, you may be the only person working on it, therefore you cannot look to your peers' progress to know if you are on track. No one can force you to work on it, so you require the ambition to sit down and do it each week. TIP: If you're lacking ambition in your online class, consider choosing a location where you can regularly do your online class, such as a library. Sometimes it helps just to get out of the house to get yourself motivated. A library is especially ideal because if there are other people around you working, it will (hopefully) keep you accountable to do work as well.

Do you have positive or negative experiences taking online classes? Share in the comments below!

What is a Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA)?



The Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA) 1 year college program prepares students to assist a registered SLP or Audiologist. After an SLP assess a client and dictates their treatment plan, a CDA would follow and implement the course of intervention set out by the SLP. CDAs work as assistants or techs with a wide range of clients in various settings, including: clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, daycares or schools.


The CDA program is a graduate certificate, therefore in order to be admitted, you must have completed a degree or diploma, ideally in the area of language or psychology. Some programs require applicants to submit a resume, reference letters and/or a statement of intent.


Here is a list of the programs offered in Canada*:

*CDA programs are only offered in Ontario, although there are 2 programs in Alberta for SLP Assistant, which is slightly different 


Read more at The Communicative Disorders Assistant Association of Canada. To see a more detailed overview of scope of practice, visit the links below:

Playing the Waiting Game

If you've applied to graduate school, you've played the uncomfortably long waiting game between submitting your application and receiving a response - and it certainly didn't feel like a game to you. You've had long discussions with friends and family about the process of applying and the competitive nature of the program. Your heart has exploded with hope and your mind has had to rush to catch up, bringing you back to reality. You get stuck in the constant process of checking: check email, check online application status, check email, check discussion forum, check email again. Here are some tips for making the best of that waiting period.


 1. Don't Slack on Your Current Responsibilities

If you are committed to classes or volunteering, finish strong. Sometimes it can be hard to focus on the task at hand when you're anticipating your next endeavour. Don't let the distraction of waiting to hear about grad school stop you from gaining valuable volunteer experience or good grades.

2. Consider What You Could Do To Make Your Application Even Better

Often applicants are not accepted on their first attempt, which means you may need to try again next year. Don't wait to find out that you didn't get in to take more classes or diversify volunteer experiences, especially if you feel like your application was lacking in one of those areas. For example, if you have volunteered with adults, try volunteering with children. Even if you are accepted, you can't deny the value of observing SLPs in various environments.

3. Work

Grad school will be expensive, especially if you plan to relocate to another town, province or even country. Take the extra time you have to get a job or pick up more hours at the job you already have so you can save money. It is ideal to be working in a field that is related to SLP, but not necessary.

Bonus Tip: Stay BUSY! Waiting can be overwhelming and difficult but the last thing you want to do is spend the majority of your days sitting at home, checking your email. I guarantee the time will go by a lot slower. Consider finding a hobby that can supplement school/work and will help fill your time.


A Free Class on Dysphagia!

Dysphagia: Swallowing Difficulties and Medicines

I recently saw a tweet featuring this website that offers free classes from various universities.  I don't know much about FutureLearn but there seems to be a wide range of great, free classes. If you're interested, you can take this class with me! It starts on March 2, 2015, runs for 6 weeks and only requires 2 hours per week.

Dysphagia is within the scope of practice of an SLP and is an important part of the curriculum and clinical placements in your graduate studies. If you are unfamiliar with dysphagia, this class might be a great place to start. If you already have a good foundation of knowledge, this course will likely build on that by focusing on the medication aspect of dysphagia. Check out the video below to see what the course covers.

[video width="1280" height="720" mp4="http://canadianslp.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Dysphagia.mp4"][/video]


Once the course begins in March, I will be reviewing it on the blog. It is my first course with FutureLearn and so I'm going into it inexperienced but openminded.

Join the social media conversation with the Twitter hashtag #FLswallowMed.

In the meantime, you can check out dysphagia resources on Amazon.ca.

An Overview of The GRE

A few Canadian schools and many American schools require applicants to complete the GRE Test. Many people may be asking what the GRE is all about, here's a quick overview of what the test looks like. Messy Assorted Stationary On White Desk And Coffee

In order to register for the GRE, visit this site.

The GRE has 3 components: 1) Verbal Reasoning 2) Quantitative Reasoning 3) Analytical Writing.

The following information is taken from the official GRE site

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author's assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author's intent
  • select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text
  • understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts

The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to understand what you read and how you apply your reasoning skills.

Get a quick view of the Verbal Reasoning Question types.

Take a closer look at the Verbal Reasoning section, including sample questions with rationales, tips and more.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:

  • understand quantitative information
  • interpret and analyze quantitative information
  • solve problems using mathematical models
  • apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data interpretation
  • includes real-life scenarios

The Quantitative Reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator. If you are taking the paper-delivered test, a calculator will be provided at the test center.

Get a quick view of the Quantitative Reasoning Question types.

Take a closer look at the Quantitative Reasoning section, including sample questions with rationales, tips and more.

Analytical Writing

The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:

  • articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively
  • support ideas with relevant reasons and examples
  • examine claims and accompanying evidence
  • sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion
  • control the elements of standard written English

The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.

Get a quick view of the Analytical Writing Question types.

Take a closer look at the Analytical Writing section, including sample questions with rationales, tips and more.

More study resources coming soon!

What Undergraduate Program Should I Take?

If you're in high school and already considering a career in SLP, you may be wondering what undergraduate program to take. Good news, you can take anything you want! Let me expand on that... DeathtoStock_Medium9

Most graduate schools do not discriminate based on undergraduate education, as long as you have a Bachelor's degree (preferably honours).  What's most important is your overall GPA and specific prerequisite courses. Here are a few things to consider when deciding what undergraduate program to take:

1. Do what you like

Don't enrol in a program just because it's "hard" or "easy," take a program that offers classes that interest you. When you enjoy what you're studying, it's more likely that you'll find it easy.

2. Consider prerequisites

Find out what program offers the prerequisites you need. For example, if you are an English student, you may not be allowed to take a physiology class. On the other hand, every prerequisite will be either available online or offered by another university with a letter of permission, but it may cost more and become more of a hassle.

3. Get experience

If you are interested in delving into the field of communication sciences and disorders, consider choosing a program that will allow you to discover it in a deeper way. Some schools offer unique research or practicum opportunities to students that are enrolled in a program focused on sciences, languages or psychology.

If you are still questioning what subject to major in, don't hesitate to ask other people what path they took. Connect with current students, SLPs or academic advisors to investigate many possibilities.

How to Maximize Your Volunteer Experience

Most graduate schools require at least 14 hours of volunteer experience in the field of SLP (and/or audiology).  Often the SLP you volunteer with will be the one you'll ask to write you a clinical letter of reference. Here's how to make a good first impression and maximize your experience. 3B930640FA

1. Punctuality

Okay, so I'm not the best poster-child for this point, but (I'm slowly learning) punctuality is extremely important! It shows that you care and that you're invested in your experience. Because you're not getting paid, sometimes it can be hard to show up on time but experience is a better reward than being paid.

2. Attire

Every institution/business has their own dress code and it's important to know before you arrive. If you don't feel comfortable asking your supervisor the dress code beforehand, I would recommend dressing business casual: a good middle ground.

3. Preparation

Make sure you're ready for each volunteer session; whether you need to organize paperwork, research a specific case or assessment method or prepare therapy materials.

4. Inquiry

This is your opportunity to learn firsthand if SLP is a career that you are interested in. When you shadow an SLP, make a note of questions that you can ask throughout the process. Often there will be an opportunity to ask questions and it's your responsibility to learn all that you can about the profession.

5. Documentation 

Don't forget to document the volunteer hours you are putting in. Make a note of the dates and hours you volunteered for. This is beneficial because you need to include the hours you volunteered for in your applications and when you ask your SLP supervisor for a letter of recommendation, you can report your hours to them.

Bonus Tip: Don't just do the minimum of 14 hours. In order to build a meaningful relationship with your supervisor, it's important to show that you are willing to go above and beyond.

Budgeting for Application Fees

Applying for grad school can be pricey, especially if you're applying for multiple years, or multiple programs. Here's a guide for some of the expenses you may come across. buy-cash-coins-2116

1. Application Fees

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 3.56.20 PM

2. Mailing 

Despite the fact that most applications are online, there are still a few things you may have to mail. The cost of postage will range but the most important factor is time. Mailing something last minute could cost around $15.00

3. Transcripts 

Time is also an important factor when it comes to transcripts. If you order them rushed, it will cost you extra, whereas some schools will provide and mail transcripts for free if you order them approximately 10 business days in advance.

4. GRE 

Both Alberta and Dalhousie require you to take the GRE, which is an expensive test to take. It costs $195 (USD) excluding any prep materials you may decide to purchase



Applying for graduate school can cost $1000. There's no doubt that it's worth it! But it's important to be aware of the cost so that you can plan ahead.

5 Tips When Asking Professors to Write Letters of Recommendation

Academic letters of recommendation are an extremely important part of your application, but sometimes it can be intimidating to ask for a letter from a professor. Here are 5 ways you can make the process easier for yourself and for your profs. photo-1417733403748-83bbc7c05140


1. Start Early

Begin planning what programs you will apply for, which ones need letters of recommendations and what professors you will ask. Make sure that programs you are applying for recognize the status of your professor, often universities don't accept letters from sessional faculty or TAs.  You may have to ask a few professors, therefore you can't afford to ask last minute; some professors suggest to start asking in early October.

2. Save Your Work 

Throughout your undergraduate career, save essays, midterms and projects that exhibit your academic success. Some professors want to see the work you did for them in the past, and graded work is the most ideal. Having samples of your work will also give them something concrete to discuss (for example, your writing abilities).

3. Build a Relationship

Starting as early as first year, get to know your professors. Go to class, participate, and attend office hours. If possible, take classes that are smaller in size, or multiple classes offered by the same professor.

4. Set Yourself Apart

Take advantage of any opportunity to gain research experience. Ask a prof if you can volunteer in their lab, or assist in their research. Consider doing an Independent Study or Thesis in your final year. You'll have the chance to meet one-on-one with a professor, giving them the opportunity to write a letter that is very specific to your strengths.

5. Be Prepared

When you ask a professor for a reference letter, be ready to provide information they may require. Give/email them a package that includes the following information:

  • a list of each school you are applying to and the application deadline
  • transcript or list of their classes you took and your final grade
  • an updated resume or CV
  • forms that need to be submitted with the letter (or a link to the online forms, often professors prefer this method)
  • your letter of intent or statement of career interest
  • + any additional info they request 


  • Don't feel bad asking for a letter from your professors, it is part of their job description to write letters of recommendation. That being said, if you are prepared and give them adequate information about yourself, you will be making their job much easier.
  • Be grateful. Don't forget to be polite and thankful. Show your gratitude by updating your profs when you receive an offer of admission, and informing them of your upcoming academic or career plans.

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

96E1A8F1CB A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is someone trained to assess and treat various disorders in speech, language, swallowing, voice, fluency and cognitive-communication. These deficits may be congenital, developmental or acquired through trauma such as a stroke or head injury.

Educational Requirements: Canada

An SLP must have an undergraduate degree, followed by a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology.

Work Environments

SLPs work in a variety of clinical and educational settings including childcare facilities, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, research centres and private practices.

Read More: