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First Year Interview: Brynn

December 27, 2017

Hey blog followers! Hanna here – sorry for being a slow-poke getting the blog up and running, but to kick-off my time as webmaster, here is an interview from one of our current first years, that any current applicants might find helpful! Best,

  • H


What did you study at SFU?



At SFU I did a major in Linguistics, an extended minor in Psychology and the Speech Sciences Certificate.

What made you decide on University of Alberta’s SLP program? How did you make the decision between other schools? Did you apply to other schools?



I decided to apply to the University of Alberta’s SLP program after hearing about how they had a clinic on site and did things through a hands-on, competencies centered approach.  This decision was strengthened after talking to SLPs in the field that didn’t go to U of A but had heard nothing but good things about its program.  Right up until the application deadline I was set on only applying to U of A, however, as I was getting my references, it was suggested that I apply to another school just in case.  I did end up applying to Dalhousie as well.

How hard is it to get into this program? How many people do they take a year? What is the average GPA of people accepted?



  • The program itself can be hard to get into given the fact that this is the closest program for people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
  • I believe this year around 300 people applied, and they accepted 58.
  • The recommended GPA to be competitive upon applying to the program is a 3.7 based on your last 60 credits.


Any advice on asking for references?


At U of A you need 2 academic references and 1 additional references.  When asking for references I think it’s important to ask people that know who you are and can speak to your character.  When asking them, I found it helpful to give them a copy of the reference form, your transcript, your resume and the deadline. I also think it is important to ask them early as they are all very busy.

Personally, I found the additional reference the hardest to select. In the end, I ended up selecting an Occupational Therapist that I had worked with. Even though it was not an SLP I felt that this OT had a better understanding of who I was and how I handle myself in tough situations. I think it is important that your third reference be professional or academic, and not personal.


Any advice on letter of intent?


Writing it:

  • Many people find it easier to start with point form and then formulate the structure of your statement.
  • Make sure to check the page limit

What to include:

  • That you are ready for the demands that graduate school is
  • Try and connect what the school is all about (include the words that they use in talking about prospective students)
  • Talk about why specifically you want to go to U of A more than any other school
  • Finally, talk about WHY you want to be an SLP not just that you do
    • What is it about the profession that makes you interested in it

When you are done:

  • have other people read it including professors or friends.


What experiences in your undergrad do you think helped you get into this program?


Overall, I think that there was a large combination of what helped me get into the program.  I did a Co-Op at a private school working with children with disabilities, I volunteered in an elderly care facility as well as a home for adult with severe disabilities.  In doing my Co-Op I was able to gain experience working with OT and SLP with a variety of children.  I also had a lot of volunteer opportunities that spoke to my leadership abilities.  Finally, I think it was important to show that I could balance multiple things at once.

However, in talking to my fellow classmates, we all come from vastly different backgrounds.  Some of us have worked in schools, some have taught English, some have worked with SLPs and others have no experience in the profession or related field at all.

How is this program structured? What is the general timeline of the 2 years?



Semesters are split in half into blocks where you have three courses in the first block and 2 courses in the second.

  • For example, this semester Block 1 went from August 28 – November 3 and Block 2 goes from November 6 – December 18.  And next semester Block 1 goes from January 8 – March 17 and Block 2 goes from March 19 – April 27.

As of December 2018 we are done all of our classes and begin our placements.


Do you have to do a thesis in the program?


In the program you complete a thesis, group project or joint Masters/PhD program (can chose once you begin). For the group projects, there are a wide range of topics and everyone finds something they are interested in. It gives you the chance to explore something that you might not learn in class while working in groups of 2 or 3. There are topics ranging from researching the motor movements of stuttering, creating learning modules on AAC devices for parents or even looking what aspects of concentration can influence speech.

What are some of your favourite things about the program that set it apart from other SLP programs?

Some of my favourite things about the program are that you are in classes with people from all over Canada and that the program really emphasized the importance of competency base teaching rather than straight memorization.  The professors really emphasize how what you are learning applies to what you will see in clinic and practice skills in the way that you are going to use them in clinic. We even had patients come in so that we could practice our skills on people other than our classmates which was an amazing experience.


Is there anything you don’t like about the program?


Not yet


Do you have any advice for people who are applying for SLP programs in Canada? Words of encouragement?


It really is a great program and a great profession.  If you don’t get in the first time it is worth while to apply again. Also, keep your options open as to what part of the profession you want to specialize in.  Many of my friends began the program interested in working with kids and are now leaning more towards working with an adult population.


Is there anything else you’d like people to know?


– Don’t stress too much about the GRE

– Keep back ups of everything that you do for your school application and keep track of when you send things

– Refer back to the website for more information

– Lastly, the weather really isn’t that bad (so far). It may be cold but it is beautiful and sunny almost every day!


Speechie Spotlight 4…

July 29, 2017

This week’s SLP student in the spotlight is Ally Gjos. Read on and check back often to find out about the wonderful ladies and gentlemen that make up the class of 2018!


Speechie Spotlight 3…

June 7, 2017

This week’s SLP student in the spotlight is Lindsay Ferguson. Read on and check back often to find out about the wonderful ladies and gentlemen that make up the class of 2018!

[Lindsay Ferguson]
 L Hometown: Empress, Alberta
Undergrad Degrees:

Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies

Speech Language Pathology Assistant Diploma

Interests & Hobbies: Concerts, traveling, DIY projects, gardening, animals
Favourite thing about Edmonton: The river valley
Why did you decide to go into SLP?

I completed the SLP Assistant Diploma at Grant MacEwan and was then a SLP Assistant for several years, which I loved – so that solidified my thoughts on wanting to continue with my masters.  Originally, however, I worked as a nursing aide at a care home and was really affected by all of the residents, especially those requiring speech therapy.  Most of those residents weren’t able to communicate very well with staff, and it absolutely broke my heart.


Previous research or volunteer experience?

As an assistant, I worked for five years at the CRIS Clinic in Edmonton.  It was a really cool experience because I was actually trained onsite in OT and PT, so I was able to provide that type of therapy as well.  As for speech, I saw clients with a variety of neurological conditions such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.  I also co-lead many therapy groups, including Neighbourhood Chat aphasia groups for several years, which was a fantastic experience.  In addition, I worked in the private sector, where I saw a variety of ages and speech/language challenges. I travelled to client’s homes for therapy, which was really neat because you get a much more “real” sense of their everyday life.  I also volunteered at ABC Headstart and IStar, and had a major research project on communication accessibility in the community for people with aphasia as a requirement for my degree.


How did you find out you were accepted into the program?

Oh man.  I had actually just pulled up to a client’s house and checked my phone before going in and saw the email from Vicki.  I definitely began to cry and then called my boyfriend and one of my best friends. After work, my boyfriend and I went to the Keg to celebrate and ate everything on the menu. It was the best day.

Hardest part of the program so far?

I’ve found balancing the workload with working and having a life challenging.


Favourite part of the program so far?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I really love the lab components – especially the cadaver and speech science labs.  We’ve had some very cool integration experiences as well.

What do you wish you had known before entering the program?

To take some time before the program starts to just relax if possible


Fun Fact: If I know you even just a little bit I can come up with a limerick about you pretty much straight away

Speech and Hearing Month is here! Did you know…

May 12, 2017

Image credit: Speech-Language & Audiology Canada

Spread the word! May is speech and hearing month!

This month, speech-language pathologists and audiologists are working hard to build awareness about speech and hearing… and you can help too! Check out the resources below from Speech-Language & Audiology Canada to learn more about what speech pathologists and audiologists do for a living and check back throughout the month to learn more about speech, hearing, talking to someone with a communication disorder, and more!

What do speech-language pathologists do? 

What do audiologists do?

If you are in Edmonton, check out our previous post, Speech and Hearing Month, for a list of dates and locations where we will have communication related information and activities for everyone in the family.


You’re Invited! Comedy Night Fundraiser for Alberta Summer Camps for Indivduals with Communication Difficulties

April 12, 2017
**You’re Invited**
The University of Alberta’s Speech Language Pathology Class of 2018 is very excited to invite you to Comedy Night 2017, in support of Alberta Aphasia Camp and AAC Camp Alberta, in partnership with March of Dimes Canada. This charity event combines the fun of stand-up comedy with the excitement of a silent auction and the opportunity to win an awesome door prize! And it’s all in support of a great cause! Alberta Aphasia Camp and AAC Camp Alberta provide individuals with communication disorders the opportunity to enjoy a weekend retreat that includes recreational and therapeutic activities.



Event type: Comedy Night 2017 is a charity event that includes stand-up comedy and a silent auction. There will be a door prize!

Location: The Comic Strip at West Edmonton Mall. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the venue. The venue is 18+, so no children or minors are permitted to attend.

Date: May 11th, 2017, doors open @ 6:30 p.m.

Guest list: YOU… and us! Mingle with old and new friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Spouses, significant others, BFF’s… everyone (18+) is welcome!


Cost: Your $25 ticket includes admission, entry into the draw for a fantastic door prize, and all the fun you can handle! 100% of ticket sales support Alberta Aphasia Camp and AAC Camp Alberta.

How can I get tickets? Tickets will be on sale over the lunch hour in the front foyer of Corbett Hall on April 18 & 19 and May 9 & 10. Payment can be made with cash or cheque. Alternatively, you may also contact Angela or Rina at for tickets.

**Other ways to help**

Silent Auction Donations: We are now accepting donations for the silent auction. No item is too big or too small! All donors will be publicly thanked at the event, and their business name/logo displayed on a donors’ banner. Attached is a donor request letter which sets out a bit more information.

Monetary Donations: Can’t make the party but still want to help out? Consider making a monetary donation (tax receipts will be provided for donations over $20.00). A monetary donation is definitely a wonderful way to support these two amazing camps!

Please contact Angela or Rina, via the above email address, to arrange pick-up of any silent auction or monetary donations. All money raised will go to the supporting these two great camps!

Hope to see you there!

Institute for Reconstructive Sciences In Medicine Research Forum 2017

April 9, 2017

Interested in learning about the latest research and innovation in head & neck cancer treatment & rehabilitation?

Click here to register for iRSM Resrarch Forum 2017

When: Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 2:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m.
Where: 2-44 Corbett Hall (8205 114 St), University of Alberta


Speech and Hearing Month

April 5, 2017
May is Speech and Hearing Month ( and the Organization of Alberta Students in Speech (OASIS) is hosting its 3rd Annual Speech and Hearing Month campaign.
Come join us to learn about the communication health and disorders, the myths and facts of speech and hearing, and to participate in activities including raise your voice for rehab med and listen with your brain!
Speech and hearing month