Speech-Language Pathology SLP

6 SLP Interview Questions

6-SLP-Interview Questions USAHS

 

Do you view communication as a building block of society? If so, a career in speech-language pathology (SLP) may be for you. Speech-language pathologists are experts in communication, helping people who have problems with speech sounds, language, social communication, voice, fluency, hearing, and even swallowing.[1]

Due to the level of expertise needed, SLP positions require a master’s degree in speech-language pathology.[2] As part of your admissions process to SLP graduate programs, you’ll likely need to go through an interview process.

To help you get ready for this crucial step, we’ve put together a list of topics your interviewer may touch on. Let’s look at six of the most common speech-language pathology interview questions — along with tips on how you can prepare for them.

1. What Excites You Most About Speech-Language Pathology?

A question about your interest in SLP will usually come up early in the interview process. Interviewers use this question to gauge your understanding of the field and your passion for helping people who have speech and language disorders.

You may find this question challenging to answer because there are so many things to love about speech-language pathology—the people you work with, the opportunities to give back, and even the salary. Preparing an adept answer means doing some serious self-reflection, as well as research into what SLP is and how it’s used to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat communication disorders.

How to Formulate Your Answer

The more you understand how the diverse topics of SLP work, the easier it will be to provide an answer.

Think about which issues you find interesting and which you want to keep exploring. For example, you might be passionate about:[3]

  • Correcting communication disorders
  • Understanding late language emergence
  • Developing strategies for improved social communication
  • Working to find aural solutions for individuals who are hard of hearing

Above all, use this question to convey your enthusiasm about SLP. Interviewers are looking for motivated students who will drive the field forward.

2. Why Do You Want to Study at Our Institution?

Interviewers often want to know why you chose their university and not another. The purpose of this question is to see how much you already know about the institution and the program. In other words: Have you done your research?

Universities also want to see if your goals and principles align with theirs. If your values line up with the school’s mission statement, they’ll be more likely to consider you a good fit for the program.

How to Formulate Your Answer

Every school provides a unique experience for students. So, what excites you most about studying there? It could be the:

  • Program
  • Faculty
  • Curriculum
  • Facilities
  • Mode of study
  • Campus
  • City
  • Practicum/internship opportunities
  • Alumni network

Be sure to demonstrate your awareness of the unique features of the university and its SLP degree programs, such as its learning format, facilities, and faculty who specialize in areas of your interest. You might also share some ideas about how you could contribute to the program itself.

3. Tell Us About Yourself

While this isn’t technically a question, it’s a request that comes up in most SLP interviews. Of course, interviewers are trying to determine whether your values, goals, and skills make you a top-notch candidate.

But they also want to gauge if you’ll mesh well with faculty and other students. In a field like speech-language pathology, your therapeutic personality is as important as your knowledge. Most programs are looking for candidates who are good communicators and are adaptable, curious, and empathetic.

How to Formulate Your Answer

This question is less about impressing your interviewer and more about showing them who you are as a person. So, answer as if you are making a new friend. Speak briefly about your upbringing and family, and any formative experiences you’ve had related to healthcare or helping others, especially those with communication issues. Telling a meaningful personal story, if you have one, is often a highly effective interview strategy.

4. What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

This is a classic question for any interview. But SLP grad school interviewers who ask this question are looking to see:

  • A sense of self-awareness
  • Honesty and vulnerability
  • Your ability to think critically about yourself
  • The qualities you consider important
  • The skills you can bring to the program

How to Formulate Your Answer

First, there are your strengths. Consider your winning qualities and the skills you excel at—and find ways to tie them back to succeeding in graduate school and helping others. If coming up with strengths is a struggle for you, try asking your friends, family members, and mentors about the qualities they see in you.

Weaknesses can be even more challenging to discuss because they seem like they could count against you in an interview. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Think back to times when you felt challenged—what held you back? How did you overcome those challenges?

Anytime you mention a weakness in an interview, it’s best practice to follow it with your strategy for addressing the issue. As an example, you might say:

“I tend to feel stressed when I have multiple upcoming deadlines, and sometimes the stress impacts my ability to work. To combat this anxiety, I’ve started keeping an agenda with all my deadlines, and I’m doing 20 minutes of yoga each day to help with stress management.”

5. Have Any Past Experiences Prepared You for This Program?

This inquiry could be general or more specific, depending on the program you’re applying to. Other similar questions include:

  • How does your school or work experience relate to SLP?
  • Can you tell us about a time you took on a leadership role?
  • What skills can you bring to the SLP program?
  • Have you ever had to work with a difficult individual? How did you approach it?

Interviewers like to see applicants with relevant work experience, and these questions help them find candidates who have experiences that could benefit them during graduate school.

How to Formulate Your Answer

This is one of the more challenging categories of SLP interview questions, as your response can go in several different directions. For example, you might talk about hard and soft skills that you’ve mastered through previous experiences, such as:

  • Professional writing skills
  • Work ethic
  • Critical thinking
  • Computer literacy
  • Vocal training
  • Patience
  • Interpersonal communication

Alternatively, you may want to touch on a specific scenario that relates directly to SLP. Perhaps you’ve had experience helping a grandparent who is hard of hearing, or maybe your younger brother has autism spectrum disorder. (See interview question #4, above.)

Regardless of how you choose to answer, don’t feel that your response needs to be school- or work-related. Interviewers recognize that soon-to-be grad students may not have much real-world experience.

6. Where Do You See Yourself in 2, 5, or 10 Years?

This question may also be phrased as, “What are your career goals?” No matter how your interviewer poses it, this question is a chance for you to show that you’ve thought about your future as an SLP—as well as the future of the profession.

The purpose of these kinds of questions is twofold:

  • Interviewers want to confirm that the program can support you – If your aspirations don’t seem to align with the program’s trajectory, you may not be the right fit.
  • Interviewers want ambitious students – Graduate programs require commitment, and students who have a sense of purpose are more likely to succeed. And when students and alumni succeed, the program’s reputation grows, too.

How to Formulate Your Answer

Here, you can describe your ideal career as an SLP and how the program can help you achieve those goals. Think of all the potential career paths for an SLP and determine which one interests you the most.

Do you see yourself working in primary schools—or a clinical setting? Do you dream of opening your own practice? Might you one day teach SLP at a university? These are all essential questions to ask yourself ahead of the interview so that you can produce a thorough and compelling answer.

More SLP Interview Tips

You could role-play your interview with a friend or classmate. But proper interview preparation goes beyond that. Below is a quick review of some of the most important interview tips to keep in mind for your SLP interview.

1. Ask Questions

Remember, an interview is a two-way street. Interviewers are looking for students who fit the program’s requirements, but you should also look for a program that fits your needs. This is a chance for you to learn more about the program, faculty members, facilities—whatever is on your mind.

2. Come Prepared

Before you draft a list of questions to ask your interviewer, it’s wise to do your research. Asking for the information you can easily find on the university website won’t do you any favors.

Your preparation should extend to SLP knowledge, as well. To learn more about topics and issues in SLP, check out the practice portal for professionals developed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Finally, you’ll want to bring a few essentials to your interview, including:

  • A pen and paper
  • Several copies of your updated résume
  • A list of references
  • A professional-looking bag or briefcase to carry your things

3. Be Professional

Although most grad school interviews aren’t stuffy, formal affairs, dressing appropriately is still advisable. Aim for a business-casual look that you’ll feel comfortable in throughout the process.

Perhaps most importantly, keep your speech and mannerisms professional. After all, speech-language pathology is all about expertise in communication,[4] so speaking politely and fluently will go a long way in your interview.

4. Take a Deep Breath

To calm your nerves in the moment, remember to slow down when answering questions—and don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer to repeat themselves if you missed a few words.

Relax, take a few deep breaths, and stay in the present moment—you’ve got this!

 

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS) offers a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS-SLP) program. Designed for working students, the MS-SLP is an online program with four required on-campus residencies on either the USAHS Austin or Dallas campus. The program offers two intakes per year, in January and September. Join a collaborative cohort of peers who learn under the mentorship of expert faculty practitioners. Prepare to make a difference in the lives of clients across the lifespan with a meaningful career in speech therapy!

For students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than communications sciences and disorders (CSD) or SLP and for students with a CSD or SLP degree whose undergraduate program did not include the required leveling coursework, we offer SLP leveling courses for completing the necessary prerequisites to enter the graduate program.

The Master of Science (M.S.) education program in Speech-Language Pathology {distance education} at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is a Candidate for Accreditation by the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2200 Research Boulevard, #310, Rockville, MD 20850, 800-498-2071 or 301-296-5700. Candidacy is a “pre-accreditation” status with the CAA, awarded to developing or emerging programs for a maximum period of 5 years.

Sources:

[1]American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Who Are Speech-Language Pathologists, and What Do They Do?,” n.d.: https://www.asha.org/public/who-are-speech-language-pathologists/.

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Speech-Language Pathologists,” Occupational Outlook Handbook, last modified April 2021: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/speech-language-pathologists.htm.

[3]American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Speech-Language Pathology,” n.d.:

https://www.asha.org/students/speech-language-pathologists/

[4]American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Who Are Speech-Language Pathologists, and What Do They Do?,” n.d.: https://www.asha.org/public/who-are-speech-language-pathologists/.

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