SLP Admission Story: Farzana Ali

June 02, 2023

Pursuing a career in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) is one of the most popular paths that students from our program choose to take. To pursue a career in this field in Canada, a graduate degree is required, and admission to the SLP graduate programs in Canada is highly competitive.

This year, we received news that nine students from our department will be starting graduate programs in SLP and Audiology in Fall 2023!

One of these students is Farzana Ali who has just completed a major in Linguistics, minor in Learning and Developmental Disabilities, and a certificate in the Linguistics of Speech Science. We asked Farzana to share her SLP admission story and a few words of advice to future SLP applicants.

We asked Farzana to share her SLP admission story and a few words of advice to future SLP applicants.

What attracted you to the Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) field?

My attraction to the field of Speech-Language Pathology began when I first discovered the profession through personal encounters. I then took some time to look into what the profession entails and discovered that there is great potential to make a positive impact in an individual’s life, something that has always been important to me. I also discovered that Speech-Language Pathologists have the option to work with diverse populations in various settings, such as a clinic, hospital, or school (to name a few), which are all environments I can picture myself working in.  

As I began my journey to SLP as an undergraduate student, I became more and more attracted to the intricacies of speech and language, how it develops, and the many possible outcomes that result due to irregularities in speech and language processes. Early on in my journey I was reassured that I had chosen the right career path due to my eagerness to always learn more about how what we learned in class applied in the field of SLP.

How did you build a strong SLP application?

When I knew I wanted to pursue SLP, I looked into the application requirements for UBC’s SLP program and created an Excel spreadsheet that included all the criterion I needed to cover to apply. The spreadsheet included courses I had to take, potential referees who could write me a strong reference letter, volunteer opportunities that would diversify my experiences in the field, and a list of SLPs and Audiologists I shadowed or worked with over the years. Having everything organized in a spreadsheet allowed me to keep track of what I had done and what I still needed to work on, so I wasn’t scrambling close to application time.

To build a strong application, I always prioritized my course work first because I knew having a strong GPA was a part of the application. Additionally, I took on a manageable amount of volunteer and research opportunities that I knew would enhance my experience and knowledge of the field of Speech-Language Pathology, which I then showcased in my letter of intent. I ensured that I had diversity in my experiences by working with kids at a speech clinic and reading program, and by working with adults who had strokes.

Another way I built a strong application was by getting research experience. I volunteered and worked as a Research Assistant at the Language Learning and Development Lab at SFU where I learned about what the research process entails. Additionally, during my time at the lab I was able to obtain an Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) and present our research at the Language Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (LSURC) at UBC. Having research experience is important because through learning about the processes involved in research you also develop skills of information processing and interpretation of experimental data, which is beneficial as a graduate student, and a Speech-Language Pathologist who uses evidence-based therapies to support their clients.

What were some of the most influential courses that you took in our program?

What are you most looking forward to in UBC's SLP program?

I am excited to meet all my classmates that I will be working with throughout the program. I am also looking forward to expanding my knowledge and getting experience as a Speech-Language Pathology student through practicum placements. Additionally, I would love to explore the research labs at UBC and eventually continue doing research as a graduate student.

What advice would you give to future SLP applicants?

  • Familiarize yourself with the application requirements at the school you are applying to. It helps to start checking off some of the requirements as soon as you can, so you don’t have to cram everything into your last year or two of undergrad.
  • Start writing your CV/resume and letter of intent early and update it as you progress through undergrad. I updated my CV every semester with new experiences I wanted to highlight which ensured nothing was missed, and I didn’t have to backtrack and think about what I did over the years. The same goes for my letter of intent. I started by writing point forms of important information I wanted to highlight and used those points to write my letter of intent. I also recommend writing your letter of intent, putting it away for a week, and then revisiting it with a fresh set of eyes. This helped me get out of the same train of thoughts I got stuck in when writing and allowed me to see what I wanted to edit. It also helps to get someone to read your letter of intent and to ask them if anything needs to be clarified and whether your personality shows through enough in the letter. This is your only opportunity to show the admissions committee who you are, so it’s important to not only talk about what you have done, but also who you are, and why you will be valuable to the program and the field of SLP.
  • Visit the Linguistic Advisor, Rita Parmar, who can help ensure you are on the right track for applying to a grad school. She is also very knowledgeable about opportunities and classes that can help enhance your application.

Congratulations to this year’s program admits!

Accepted to the University of British Columbia Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology:

• Farzana Ali
• Kylie Brajcich
• Tabatha Mason
• Rebekah Stevens
• Janitta Wong

Accepted to McGill University Master of Science (Applied) in Speech-Language Pathology:

• Julianne Bittante

Accepted to the University of British Columbia School of Audiology and Speech Sciences

  • Samuel To