Early Intervention - A Licensed Speech-Language Pathologist
I understand that my SOP needs a lot of work. It needs condensing, and I need to include more personal info about the specific university. I just don't know where to start! I am also looking to figure out what things I have left out and need to include, any advice would be much appreciated!
Point of clarification: I am applying to Purdue and a wide range of other schools. I am hoping to get a generalized SOP, and skew it depending on the university. Most word requirements I have are 500-1000, however some are <500 (which I really need to condense). Any and all help is much appreciated, I am just having trouble figuring out what grad schools are looking for in my field!
A speech-language pathologist is a culturally competent therapist, striving to better the conditions of those with a wide range of communication disorders. My first experience with communication disorders occurred when I was eight years old. When my grandfather began to lose his hearing, conversing with him became difficult. After being fitted with hearing aids, he acquired a social stigma that led him to resist wearing them. Experiencing firsthand the process that my grandfather went through, leading to acceptance in his disability, sparked my interest in helping individuals better communicate. I grew up knowing I wanted to help people, and the experience I had with my Pawpy led me in the direction to pursue a career in working with communication disorders at Purdue University.
After shadowing multiple speech and language professionals in the area throughout high school, I knew this was the career path for me. During my college search, I learned that Purdue University has one of the most highly respected programs for Speech-Language Pathology. I was very excited to hear about this due to my previous connections with the university. Growing up ten minutes away from Purdue, I have always been a part of the Purdue culture and aspired to attend someday. After completing my college search, I decided to enroll in the Speech Language and Hearing Sciences program at Purdue University. Being accepted to the program was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Coming from a middle class family with no college graduates, I knew that it would be an uphill battle for me to achieve my dream. My determination derived from my parents, whose hard work put my foot in the door to become the first family member to receive a college degree. However during my freshman year, my father lost his job. Putting a financial strain on my career, my future at Purdue became uncertain. Learning from my parent's hard work ethic, I started to help after hours with my mother's business. Completing my homework while helping with inventory on products and cleaning after hours was one of the ways I could further help my family. While this helped a lot, I still found ways to contribute by picking up another job at the local mall. The majority of my time management skills and hard work ethic were learned through maintaining two jobs while being a full-time student throughout my four years at Purdue University.
Growing up, I was always interested in different languages. At seven years of age, I started learning how to say numbers in Spanish from my older sister, Lindsey. Lindsey kept teaching me new words to say and eventually learning a foreign language became a passion of mine. I became infatuated with the idea that different sounds meant different things depending on the region one came from. While others spent their time collecting PokĂ©mon cards and playing kickball, I was often found nagging Lindsey to teach me new words. I took four years of Spanish in high school and continued with a minor in Spanish during my undergraduate career. In addition to my Spanish minor, I took multiple American Sign Language (ASL) courses. By taking these courses, I was also able to gain a thorough understanding of Deaf culture and how sign language can benefit communication development from a young age. Through my background in various languages, such as Spanish and ASL, I became interested in the subject of bilingualism and the study of how different cultures and modes of communication affect language acquisition.
My interest in other languages only grew when I received the opportunity to volunteer with the Birth-to-Three Intervention program at Purdue this past summer. Part of the program consisted of using sign language in order to decrease frustration in late talkers. Through the program, I was able to observe graduate students and licensed speech-pathologists applying play therapy to children with disabilities ranging from late talkers to diagnoses on the autism spectrum. I was also able to practice modeling SOAP notes and analyzing research articles on distinguishing typical and disordered behavior through my undergraduate research course. During the course of the program, I was also able to observe how speech pathologists adapt to cultural differences, and how bilingual families engage in therapy, further enhancing my interests in working with bilingual families and early intervention.
My experiences during my undergraduate career have led me to my personal goal of becoming a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist working with early intervention. Through many volunteer experiences, I have acquired a variety of skills such as cultural competence, empathy, the ability to distinguish between typical and disordered behavior, and knowledge in various treatment methods. Through overcoming severe test anxiety in several of my courses, I have also learned drive and determination. It is these qualities, among others, that make me an able and qualified candidate for graduate school at Purdue University.