Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

Pursuing a graduate degree was an easy decision once I decided on the field of speech-language pathology--A Master’s degree is required to license as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and is my key to obtaining the necessary skills and credentials. As an undergraduate learning about the unique opportunities to prepare children for social and academic success, I knew I had chosen the right field. I knew pursuing a graduate degree would allow me to make a difference for children during a critical period of development.

I was passionate about working with children, having over 2,500 hours of experience teaching one-on-one swimming lessons, and had seen in my own life how influential language and communication skills could be. Though very shy when I was younger, I worked diligently toward greater confidence in my communication which opened important doors for employment and school. I knew I wanted to help children develop the same confidence in language that would give the greater opportunities like I had. Early years are a critical period to develop language skills necessary for further learning in school and in social interactions with peers. Access to an SLP during this time can make all the difference, yet I have heard of critical shortages and long waitlists for children who need early intervention services. Graduate school is what will allow me to license as an SLP and fill this important need.

Beyond the logical reasons to pursue a Master’s degree, I cannot wait to transform the theory I learned as an undergraduate into practical knowledge and skills. This Fall I will begin a clinical degree, so half of my time will be spent outside of lectures and in guided practicum experiences. My ultimate goal is to be a clinician who can help people overcome obstacles in their daily lives, and the hands on experience I will gain is necessary to develop the skills I need to be an effective in this capacity. My greatest opportunities are just ahead!

Nicole from Texas
University of Texas at Dallas