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Social Work Personal Statement Example 17

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. This is a quote that has always meant so much to me, especially when I was faced with many problems in my life. I have always had a great interest in helping and working with others, as far back as I can remember. Facing my own personal problems at the tender age of six made me insightful beyond my years. My own mother had an alcohol problem and when my parents divorced my father gained custody of my siblings and me. As the eldest child I grew up fast, I helped care for my brother and sisters on a daily basis.

My childhood involved a lot of social workers and court interventions that helped me gain an understanding of how social workers can intervene and help. It helped me develop empathy and sensitivity towards others, essential skills that a social worker requires. My personal problems made me determined to become a social worker and use my own experiences to help others facing similar difficulties.

I am currently in my second year of my Access diploma in Social Sciences. I studied sociology as one of my subjects last year. I really enjoyed this subject and especially enjoyed carrying out my coursework research on family diversity. I also previously studied Health and social care and covered a wide range of topics that relate to social work. I have previously worked at a children’s indoor play centre, a nursing home and home help. I am currently on voluntary placement in a disability centre. This has allowed me to cover a wide range of social services areas and it has given me a taste of each field I will be covering in a Social Work Degree. Working in each of these fields has helped me understand how to show respect and integrity to every individual I work with. I am a non- judgemental person and realise that different people face different problems.

I have researched Social work to a great extent to allow me to fully understand how complex a job within this area will be. I accessed the NISC and read up on practice policies as well as speaking to my auntie who has 20years experience as a social worker. I found that Social work will require honesty, the ability to problem solve, determination as well as a lot of patience and perseverance. These are all qualities I gained through personal and work experience and that make me ideal for this degree. I am committed and work well under pressure, completing my first year in my access diploma while pregnant and returning to my second year four weeks after having my son is one example.

I enjoy spending my spare time with my children, this always helps me relax and unwind after a very stressful day as they always put a smile on my face. I am part of my local Sure Start parent and toddler group that provides brilliant opportunities for individuals in deprived areas. I recently completed the baby massage course with my youngest son and I will be completing a nurture course soon that will provide me with extra skills needed for working with children. I have also completed a course in suicide prevention, an area that has unfortunately torn many families apart. These have all given me experience of what social work entails.

I want to study Social work as I want to use my professional knowledge and skills to help people make the most of their own abilities and empower them to be the best they can be. I want to assist people in solving their own problems as well as empowering them to develop skills so that they can do it themselves. Working in Social Services will allow me to devote my time and skills to help people function to the best of their abilities. Becoming a Social worker would not be just a career to me, it would be a vocation.

Profile info

This personal statement was written by bambieyes87 for application in 2012.

bambieyes87's Comments

I sent this personal statement to Ucas and received word back for a second personal statement for social work. I then forwarded my second statement and received an interview. I attended my interview on 23rd and have not heard any word yet. They said no news is good news and a couple of girls in my year have already received rejection letters. fingers crossed!!!

Related Personal Statements

I received word at end of.

Tue, 01/05/2012 - 09:52

I received word at end of April from two universities offering me conditional offers for social work. I ended up the only one from my access course gaining a place. Hope this personal statement is of some help :)

Congratulations and good luck

Fri, 21/09/2012 - 13:39

Congratulations and good luck x

Excellent personal statement.

Sat, 08/12/2012 - 17:39

Excellent personal statement. I've just finished mine. Yours was great to give me a guideline. Why did you have to do second personal statement?

Add new comment

The College Application

Your Guide to a Mind-blowing Social Work Personal Statement

The importance of writing a memorable social work personal statement.

Although it may seem dramatic to say, your social work personal statement is absolutely one of  the most important parts  of your social work application. You want to write a personal statement that is truthful, memorable, impressive, and enjoyable to read.

The better you do on writing your personal statement, the better chance you have at being admitted into a college’s social work program, especially if it’s highly competitive.

You want to do your best when applying for any program, but when applying for one that is highly sought after by students, you want to give yourself the best possible chance you can. Writing an exceptional personal statement is the way to do that.

What? Who? Where? When? Why?

What is a social work personal statement.

A social work personal statement is a personal essay you write about yourself, your past experiences, your educational and career goals, and anything else relevant to applying for admission into a social work program. It is usually a requirement that is part of a larger, more comprehensive application packet.

When applying for a social work program, you’ll be required to provide the admissions department with a whole packet of information. Part of this packet will be the standard application information, such as name, birthdate, social security number, contact information, etc.

You’ll likely also be required to submit official transcripts, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and your personal statement.

Who Will Be Asked to Write One?

Although some students entering into the field of social work might have to submit a personal statement at the bachelor’s degree level, most students won’t have to write a personal statement until they apply for a graduate-level program.

If you’ve applied or are thinking about applying to a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program or another type of master’s or doctoral social work program, you’ll probably be expected to write a personal statement.

Where Will I Find the Prompt for a Personal Statement?

Not every school will have a specific prompt for you to write about in your personal statement. Some schools will leave the personal statement section open-ended and allow you to write about whatever you feel is best.

Whether you have a prompt or are just directed to write about yourself, the guidelines will always be found on the admissions guidelines.

Some schools have actual paper application packets they’ll send through the mail when you request information about the program. Most schools, though, have an online application process.

For these schools, you’ll be able to visit the  “Application Checklist”  or  “Admissions Requirements”  pages on the website to find the exact guidelines for writing your personal statement and for filling out the rest of the application.

When Will I Be Required to Write One?

If you’re applying to graduate school – or certain undergraduate schools – for social work, you’ll be required to write and submit your personal statement before you can be considered for admission into the program. You’ll submit it, along with any other required documentation, to the admissions department.

Each school has different deadlines for fall, spring, and summer semesters, so be sure to check out your prospective college’s calendar to ensure you don’t miss the deadline for submission.

Why Do Universities Require a Personal Statement?

The social work personal statement is the best way an admissions department has of “getting to know” you before they’ve met you. Applications, transcripts, and letters of recommendation can give the admissions team an idea of what your work ethic is like, but in order to truly get a feel for the kind of person you are, they want to read what you have to say about yourself in your own voice.

They want to know why you chose the social work field, and they want to know why you think you’d be good at it. They’re interested in your history and experiences and are curious about the kinds of challenges you’ve faced and overcome.

Most importantly, they want to read something in your personal statement that makes them confident that you’ll be able to handle the social work program at their university. They want to know you have the ability to succeed.

The Components of a Great Personal Statement

We’ve already talked a little about what types of information you should include in your social work personal statement. Now we want to go into a little more detail.

Ensure Your Statement is Compatible with the School/Program’s Mission Statement

Every university has a mission statement. You can find a school’s mission statement on its website. A  mission statement  is a formal statement that represents the values, beliefs, and goals of the college. Hopefully, if you’ve chosen a school, you’ve checked out its mission statement, and hopefully, it aligns with your own core beliefs.

If that’s the case, let the admissions team know this in your own personal statement. Tell them the beliefs and values you hold that mirror the ones listed in the school’s mission statement. Express to them the reason you chose that particular school and/or program was because it had views that closely aligned with the things that are important to you in your life.

Don’t lie in your statement. Always be honest, but if your views truly do overlap with those of the school, that’s a great thing to mention.

Universities want students who support the same values and beliefs that the school holds dear. This means you’re a compatible student who supports what the college is about and will likely uphold the values and traditions the school has put in place.

Also Read:  Which ASWB Exam level makes you a Licensed Social Worker?

Highlight the Traits that Would Make You a Good Social Worker

When you’re applying for college, there are certain traits admissions teams look for no matter your major. These include a good work ethic, intelligence, the ability to work well with others, an innovative mind, and more.

However, when it comes specifically to the social work program, there are  other qualities and traits  that are just as important for a student to possess.

First and foremost, social workers must be caring, compassionate, and empathetic. A huge chunk of a social worker’s job is working with people, usually in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Social workers work with abused and neglected children, people with disabilities, veterans – some of whom have suffered trauma or who have PTSD – people from poor neighborhoods, and more. If they don’t have a genuine concern and love for people, they aren’t going to last.

Image of someone extending help to another person to climb a ladder and join him.

Other important traits include:

If you have any or all of these skills, expound on them in your social work personal statement.

Cover Any Relevant Work and/or Volunteer Experience

If you’ve worked in social work or a similar field, you definitely want to include that in your personal statement. It’s great to have a desire and some education to speak to your desire to be a social worker, but nothing beats real-world experience. Don’t be afraid to let the admissions team know you’ve already been involved in the field.

Discuss Your Future Plans/Goals as Related to Social Work

A college’s admissions team wants to know that you have a plan for your future beyond just earning the degree. Getting a degree from an institution of higher learning is an important step in achieving your goals, but it isn’t the goal itself. How do you want to use the degree once you have it?

Do you want to become an actual social worker? Do you want to work with children, veterans, the elderly, or some other specific group? Are you more interested in taking your social work degree into prisons or halfway houses to work with people with troubled pasts?

Whatever you plan to do with your degree once you have it, tell the admissions team about that. Be specific, and give details. Let them know you have a definite plan for your future beyond the college experience.

Use Excellent Grammar and Punctuation

It doesn’t matter how great you are at telling a story and getting your point across to someone. If you write your personal statement and it’s full of grammatical errors and poor punctuation, you won’t make a good impression on whoever reads it.

You’re applying to be a college student, possibly even a graduate-level college student. You’re hoping to go into a professional field.

People will judge you on your grammar and punctuation. As a social worker, you’ll be required to write up incident reports, make recommendations to judges, testify in court, and more. You need to be well-spoken and well-written. No matter how passionate you are about becoming a social worker, a sloppily written essay isn’t likely to get you into the program.

If professional and academic writing aren’t your strengths, don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone. There are people who are behind you 100% and want you to do well. Those people will be happy to proofread your personal statement and edit it for any errors. It’s simply up to you to reach out to them and ask.

Follow the Prompt (If Applicable)

Many colleges just want you to talk about yourself, your background, the development of your interest in social work, your experiences with diversity, or your work experience. They want to learn about you and, more specifically, your interest in social work. In those cases, you just want to answer the questions provided to you as honestly and as thoroughly as possible.

If the college has a list of items they want you to answer, make sure you answer them all. Don’t skip over some or pick and choose the ones you want to answer. Touch on them all at least briefly, preferably with a bit of substance to each.

If the college gives you a specific prompt that doesn’t have to do with you personally, such as one of these  odd prompts , just stick to the prompt, and if you can find a logical, on-topic way to talk about yourself or your interest in social work, work that in as well.

With any prompt, whether conventional or not, stick to the prompt! Answer the question or questions asked.

The following are some of the most commonly asked prompts on social work applications:

Prompt 1: Why do you believe this program is right for you, and why are you right for it?- Smith College 

This one is self-explanatory. You should talk about why you’re interested in this specific social work program. What sets it apart from other social work programs in your eyes, and why do you think you’d be a good fit for it? This is a great chance to talk about your views and how they mesh with the school’s mission statement.

Prompt 2: What experiences have you had with oppressed populations – racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, persons with disabilities, etc. – and how have they influenced your decision to pursue a career in social work?- University of West Florida

In this section, you’ll want to talk about what exactly got you interested in social work in the first place. If you were in the system yourself, that could definitely be a reason for pursuing social work.

Other reasons could include having a love for children and a desire to ensure they’re in good homes, being the child or relative of a veteran, having a disability or having a loved one with a disability, etc.

If you’ve had work, volunteer, or internship experience that opened your eyes to discrimination or other negative experiences suffered by a certain group of people, this is also an excellent place to talk about those.

Prompt 3: What are your career goals in social work for the five years following graduation?- University of Buffalo

The keywords in this particular prompt are “five years following graduation.” This is a perfect example of an essay in which you need to stick to the prompt. Don’t talk about your big, long-term plans and all the great changes you’re going to make 20 years down the road.

Focus on the things you could logically expect and hope to achieve in your first five years of employment. Discuss them in detail so that the committee knows you’ve given it some thought. Talk about what demographic you want to serve and in what capacity. Discuss how your education will play a huge role in those plans.

Prompt 4: What are your strengths and areas of your life that need strengthening in relation to the profession of social work?- Binghamton University

This is the area where you bring out those key characteristics that’ll make you a good social worker. (See above.) If you’re weak in a particular area in which the school’s social work program can help you, mention that as well. Just don’t forget to theorize on how the social work program will help you strengthen that area so that it’ll be a new strength by the time you enter the workforce.

Also Read:   Best Social Work Test Prep Book Guides (Reviewed)

Standard Personal Statement Format

The first thing you want to do when writing any type of personal statement or essay, whether it’s for college or something else entirely, is to check the formatting requirements and ensure you’re following them exactly.

Some applications will give you detailed instructions on how your personal statement for the social work application should be formatted. If so, follow those guidelines. If not, the following are general formatting rules that work on most occasions:

Once you have your formatting set correctly, you’ll want to draft an outline of what to say. A lot of people skip the outline step because they feel like they don’t need it, but  outlines can be effective tools  when it comes to organizing your paper in a logical or chronological way.

Beyond the outline and the formatting, a general social work personal statement is set up like this:

Step 1: Introduction

When writing a social work personal statement specifically, your introduction should catch your reader immediately. English teachers and writers call this “Having a Hook.” Yes, it should tell the admissions department who you are, why you’re interested in social work and those types of things, but you want to catch their attention first. There are a few ways to do this.

A  great hook  can be a rhetorical question, a beautiful, detailed setting of a scene, something surprising, a shocking or ‘WOW’ing statistic or a contradictory statement. Anything that someone would read and immediately take interest in is considered a great hook. If you catch them in the intro, you’ll usually keep them through the end.

Step 2: Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your personal statement are where “the meat” of your writing should be. These are the paragraphs you’ll use to go in-depth about yourself, your experiences, your aspirations, etc. Here are some of the things you’ll definitely want to include:

These topics should be covered in any general social work personal statement. If you’re given a prompt that doesn’t include these types of things, follow the prompt instead.

Step 3: Conclusion

Your conclusion is where you bring everything together and sum it up. Unlike what you learned in freshman English class, you don’t need to restate everything you’ve already said.

Instead, explain in one or two sentences why this program is the right fit for you and how you’ll use the skills you learn from it in your future career goals. Then, if appropriate,  thank the admissions team  at the college for considering your application for admission and bring it to a close.

An image of a signage saying "YOU GOT THIS"

Sample Social Work Personal Statements

In order to give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t, we’ve included a few actual personal statements written by potential social work students.

Use these for inspiration if you’re having trouble getting started, but more importantly, use them to pick out the good and the bad, so that you can write your own personal statement accordingly.

Sample Personal Statement 1

“[…] I worked at the Center for Students with Disabilities as both a note-taker and a personal assistant. These opportunities gave me firsthand exposure to the difficulties faced by students with a variety of different disabilities […] and the barriers [they] must overcome. The assistance I provided […] enabled them to live independently and thrive academically, which wouldn’t have been possible without individualized support. Becoming familiar with individuals with disabilities afforded me significant insight into the treatment of individuals with disabilities by society and the frequent misunderstanding regarding “invisible” disabilities. This realization motivated me to advocate for equality and resources for individuals […] in need of support and to increase awareness of the stigma facing those with all types of disabilities.”

– Read more of it here .

Here, we’re starting off with an excellent example of a great social work personal statement. This paragraph was found about halfway through this particular essay, and in it, the writer is talking about her experience working in her college’s Center for Students with Disabilities.

It’s a well-written and easy-to-read paragraph. Grammatically, there’s nothing wrong with it at all.

Beyond that, though, the paragraph does a great job of showcasing the writer’s experience with working with people with disabilities, which is one subset of the social work field.

In one short paragraph, the writer shows that she has relevant job experience that can help her succeed in the program, explains her goals and the reasons she wants to work in social work, and establishes herself as someone who is caring, empathetic, and able to relate to one of the target social work demographics.

Sample Personal Statement 2

“I would like to study Social Work at degree level as it is an area of great interest and personal significance to me. Having gained experience in this sphere and a strong desire to learn more about it, I feel I would be well suited to such a course.”

This particular personal statement is more an example of what not to do than what you should be doing. First of all, it’s much too short. The student wrote this as his introductory paragraph.

The intro is where you catch your reader’s attention and make your first impressions. There isn’t enough here to make any type of good impression. A short intro also seems lazy. The intro is usually the easiest part of a personal statement because it’s all about you.

You use the intro to introduce yourself. You may add a little extra information, but mostly, it’s about you, and it should be full and well-written. If you don’t have a lot to say about yourself, it looks as though there isn’t much to tell.

It leaves the reader wondering if you were either just too lazy to do a good job or if you simply aren’t that interesting. Neither option is great when you’re trying to stand out and be memorable.

The grammar in this introductory paragraph is also bad. It reads as though it was written in another language and then translated into English using Google Translate.

If you’re trying to get into a particular program, especially at the graduate level, it’s important you use excellent grammar. This paragraph, short though it is, could have greatly benefited from some editing.

Sample Personal Statement 3

“As a social worker, I know there will be challenges, but I also believe that the sacrifices are more than justified. Each child that I can remove from a negative situation is one more child that can be free to choose their own path in life. My passion for helping and supporting those who cannot do it themselves has driven me towards social work my entire life. I believe further studies in the field of a social worker will provide me invaluable skills that I can use to better the entire community I am a part of.”

This particular example isn’t quite as exceptional as the first one, but it’s much better than the second. The paragraph is a good length and discusses the writer’s reasons for choosing social work as an area of study and subsequent career.

She also does something that no one else in these examples does: She admits that the field of social work is challenging, which is a point in her favor.

If you talk to anyone who pursued a degree in social work and then ultimately changed careers later in life, they mostly say something similar. They tell you they changed careers because social work just “got too hard” to handle.

It takes a special kind of person to work in some of the circumstances in which social workers find themselves. Meeting and working closely with children whose parents are on drugs or who abused them, sometimes sexually, can be an extremely difficult thing to have to witness.

The fact that the writer of this personal statement acknowledges the field is challenging upfront shows that she knows what she’s getting into, has accepted it, and still wants to pursue this calling.

She also shows a lot of passion for working with children in her community. People passionate about their careers tend to stick with them much more often than people who just work because it’s their job.

There are some grammatical mistakes and some oddly worded sentences (“further studies in the field of a social worker” rather than “in the field of social work” for instance), but these aren’t bad enough that they distract from the overall message of the paragraph.

Still, the paragraph would have been even more impressive if she’d had someone edit her statement before she sent it to the admissions office. Always have a fresh pair of eyes read your work before you finish the editing process completely.

Sample Personal Statement 4

“Having decided on a career in social work early on, I have steered my studies towards this field, taking sociology, psychology and geography at A-level. While the geography may not seem immediately relevant, the issues discussed in this subject do have a genuine impact on people’s lives. I enjoy the lively debates that arise in all these subjects, especially sociology, and this has led me to establishing a debating society at my school, which I currently chair.”

his is another example of an essay on which you shouldn’t model your personal statement. Grammatically, this paragraph is fine, but it doesn’t have much in the way of substance.

The writer mentions that she took classes like sociology, psychology, and geography early on in her education because she already knew that she wanted to be a social worker, but she doesn’t give us any detail.

For example, she tells us that even though we may not understand, geography has a lot to do with social work. Then she moves on to something else.

If you’re going to mention that something is relevant to your field of study, but it’s odd enough that you have to put a qualifier with it, you need to explain its relevance. Otherwise, we only have your word that it’s relevant and absolutely no information to back that up ourselves.

She doesn’t explain how any of those classes helped her in her pursuit of a social work degree. Then she changes subjects entirely to talk about her love of debate.

She likely did this to showcase the fact that she was the chairperson of her school’s debate team, but it isn’t relevant and doesn’t make sense in that spot. Debate has little, if anything, to do with the field of social work.

She should have used this paragraph to tell us why she wants to work in social work, how specifically those classes helped her decide on the field, or what past experiences she’s had that drew her to it, but instead, she jumps straight to talking about her extracurricular activities.

It doesn’t make logical sense for that to be in the introduction, and she hasn’t given us anything of substance.

Sample Personal Statement 5

“The rapidly growing elderly population is becoming a serious social problem in many countries. Some countries have been successful at finding solutions for this problem but others have not. Japan is one of the latter countries. Although Japan has one of the highest life expectancy rates and a reputation for good quality of life for its elderly population, it has been unsuccessful at addressing this problem. Compared to other industrialized countries, Japan lags behind in programs for elders who are physically disabled, bedridden or in need of long term care. The current economic crisis is exacerbating this situation as the government is cutting funding for elder programs. This problem resonates deeply with me, and I hope to someday work on finding a solution. It is for this reason that I am applying to the graduate program in social work at Boston University: I seek the skills and knowledge I need to return to Japan and work for a social work service.”

Overall, this is an example of an excellent introductory paragraph for a social work personal statement. It does have a couple of grammatical flaws, such as the missing comma before the independent clause “but others have not” and the missing hyphen in the phrase “long-term.”

The biggest flaw in this sample, though, is its length. For an introductory paragraph, this is too long. It contains eight sentences, several of which, themselves, are compound or complex and quite long.

Despite being much too long, though, the organizational style and information the writer packs into the paragraph is perfect. He jumps right into the statement with something interesting that catches the reader’s attention immediately.

Additionally, he provides the reader, who otherwise may be unaware of Japan’s social climate, customs, and problems, with evidence-based information that explains why he feels a calling towards the social work field.

The amount of factual information he provides about the elderly population’s situation in Japan also shows that he’s intelligent and knowledgeable about the subject. It also showcases his passion for the field.

Finally, if he’s willing to research and provide factual information for his admissions personal statement, the admissions department can be fairly certain he’ll also be willing to work hard if accepted into the program.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to writing a strong social work personal statement, remember “the Bees”:

Remembering the Bees will go a long way towards ensuring your statement is well-written, easily read, enjoyable, effective, and memorable, and a memorable personal statement will give you a much better chance of being accepted into a competitive social work program.

Don’t be afraid to praise yourself a little. You can comment on your strengths, achievements, and experience without sounding proud or boastful. There are times to be modest and times to shine a light on yourself. Your social work personal statement is definitely a time to shine.

You might also be interested in checking out reviews of the  Absolute Best Social Work Test Prep Book Guides 

Related Readings:

Is a Social Work Degree Worth it?- A deep dive!

Best Online MSW Programs in California

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Social Work Haven

social work personal statement example

Social Worker Personal Statement | Example

This example personal statement will inspire you to write your own unique social work, personal statement to support  your application to the University of your choice.

Social Worker Personal Statement 

My inspiration to study to become a social worker stemmed from my desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

I have always been passionate about the wellbeing of people I come into contact with.

Social work is a course I believe would enable me actualise this passion. Within my current role as a care assistant, I have gained vast experience in working with vulnerable people where I have supported them with their day-to-day activities and ensured that their wellbeing is paramount in the support given.

I support the service users with personal care, dressing, preparing their meals, shopping, medication management and accessing the community. I feel that within this role; I have gained a lot of skills and knowledge which can be applied in social work practice. My experience will guide me in understanding the different interventions used by social workers and enhance my knowledge of social work theories and methods.

I have a fair understanding around the Children Act 1989/2004, Human Rights Act and the Care Act 2014.

I have worked closely with social workers in the past. This experience has given me a great insight into the role of social work.  I now have a good understanding around the role of the social worker, and how they can affect the lives of individuals positively in the society. 

As a care assistant, I have gained experience working and supporting adults with dementia and have experienced its adverse effects on individuals, especially their families.

If given the opportunity to enrol on the social work course, I will really want to expand my knowledge around the challenges that dementia patients face daily and how social work practice can enhance their lives.

Social Worker Personal Statement | Example

In my role as a care assistant, I was able to encourage a woman who had almost given up on the husband. She found it difficult to cope with the memory loss and confusion experienced by her husband, his constant referral of her as his mum instead of the wife challenged her emotionally.  As a care professional, I recognised the need for further support for the wife and found charities that could help her come to terms with the changes her husband was experiencing.

Support groups such as “dementia friends” encouraged her and gave her the support she needed to face the changes.

This experience really encouraged me to research more into dementia. The knowledge gained on the research and the training I had from my work as a care assistant gave me a better understanding of the disease and how to support people effectively.

Social Worker Personal Statement Sample

Effective communication skills and teamwork are some skills I have learned which would be very useful in my pursuit to become a social worker. To be a good carer, you must always have the wellbeing of clients at the heart of decision-making process. This is a quality I have and exhibited in my working practice, and I believe these are transferable skills I could bring to social work.

In preparation towards enrolment onto social work course, I have attended university open days to enable me to get some firsthand information about the course.

As a person who enjoys gaining more knowledge, I have read David Howe’s Book “A Brief Introduction to Social Work Theory ” to enhance my understanding around the social work course I wish to pursue.

I feel my background, skills and ambition will allow me to be a valuable asset to your social work training programme.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.


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Social Work Personal Statement

As a Psychology graduate with extensive work experience within health and social care I have not only proven myself to be capable of making a significant contribution to the field but have also been offered invaluable opportunities to experience the direct and meaningful difference that such work can make in people’s lives. Having witnessed the adversity that a vast range of various social disadvantages can present, I have become passionate about working hard and gaining the skills, knowledge and experience to help people to overcome them through effective social work. My strong performance throughout my undergraduate degree in Psychology has not only allowed me to gain valuable study skills that will ease my transition into postgraduate study, but has also allowed the opportunity to explore a range of mental health issues that are relevant to social work. Combining this study with practical experience within the field of mental health and social care has inspired a particular interest in helping those with learning difficulties and I am continually motivated by the thought of being able to offer more specialised help in this field in the future.

Outside of academia, I have also worked extremely hard to gain a high degree of practical experience within the fields of health and social care. My current role as a Social Work Assistant/Learning Disability and Mental Health Support Worker requires me to offer support and assistance for a range of service users, including assisting with medication and daily activities. In addition, this role also requires that I maintain regular contact with Social Workers responsible for managing the cases and alerting them to any concerns. This has offered the opportunity to gain understanding of the logistical and administrative aspects of the role. The skills and experience that have allowed me to perform to a high standard in this role are drawn from previous roles as a Support Worker for disabled children and a District Nurse Assistant. Both of these required strong communication skills when interacting with colleagues and clients and the successful execution of a range of physical and logistical tasks, from basic medical care to liasing with other agencies to create a care plan, as well as the ability to counsel clients through the emotional aspects. The teamwork and communication skills that I had built up through a prior career in retail and sales played a part in allowing me to perform these roles to the best of my abilities, while my natural aptitude for, and interest in, care-based roles ensured that I had the focus and enthusiasm to gain new skills when necessary.

My inclination towards helping others, and the satisfaction that I gain from this, is also reflected in my extra-curricular activities. Throughout my degree I performed the role of student mentor, advising students on personal and educational issues, offering a range of solutions and advice to make sure that they continued making progress. As a member of my church’s welfare team I now perform a similarly rewarding role for my fellow parishioners, offering emotional or practical advice and support whenever I can.

I still try and find time for myself outside of these activities, of course, and enjoy reading, playing and watching football and visiting the gym when I get the chance. I am a very sociable person and also like spending time with friends whenever possible.

As a warm and friendly person, capable of building trusting relationships with a range of people, I have built on these natural attributes to gain knowledge and experience within the field of social care. The intellectual rewards that I have gained through pursuing my academic interests in the field and the emotional rewards I have gained through practical experience have instilled in me the motivation to continue gaining further knowledge and experience to ensure that I can make a real difference in the lives of others through a successful career in social work.

Hopefully this Social Work personal statement example will provide inspiration to perfect your own personal statement for your university application.

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Sample Personal Statement Social Work (MSW)

grad school personal statement examples social work

by Talha Omer, MBA, M.Eng., Harvard & Cornell Grad

In personal statement.

The following personal statement is written by an applicant who got accepted to Masters’s program in Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in Gender and Sex studies and a specialization in LGBTQ. Variations of this personal statement got accepted at Columbia University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Read this essay to understand what a top personal statement in Social Work should look like.

You might also be interested in reading this   Sample MSW Statement of Purpose  that got admitted to Michigan University and the University of Washington.

Sample Personal Statement in Social Work (MSW)

If you ever have a candid conversation with a male transgender sex worker in Bangkok, you shall be left both wiser and disquieted. Wiser because you will realize that she is performing gender; she walks, talks, and acts in a way that reinforces an impression of her being a woman. And disquieted because you will become aware of the acute lack of sexual health education and the omnipresent danger of HIV and AIDS among the members of this population.

But, of course, the eight-year-old ‘I’ was nothing like ‘You.’ My first encounter with a transgender sex worker happened while I sat in the backseat of my father’s car, waiting for my parents to return from the grocery shop that they often frequented. As she knocked on the glass window to beg for change in the typical, hyper-feminine style of a Southeast Asian transgender, I was just left in a total state of wonder. I do not quite remember exactly how wonderment pounced on me; perhaps, the artificiality of her loud and extravagant make-up, exhibiting the genuineness of her being, caught my fascination and curiosity. Or maybe it was the bounce in her gait, displaying resistance and self-assurance, that I felt was admirable and exceptional. I cannot say for sure, for I do not know. Although, I do know this: I also have a bounce in my gait. And as I’ve grown older, it has only become more pronounced.

In Thailand, everybody performs gender. However, the consequences can be dire if gender is not portrayed as mandated by political, social, cultural, and religious institutions. Indeed, for women, but explicitly for those who do not fit neatly into the gender binary or are non-conforming in their gender presentations. Discrimination, persecution, and murder cases are frequently reported and then forgotten. Consider the case in which the burnt remains of a transgender person were found in Bangkok – the political heart of my motherland.

However, this is not, as often characterized, a problem of religion; nothing in the scripture prescribes stoning, lynching, incarceration, or the penalty of death for ‘homosexuality’ or transsexuality.’ These varying laws in Muslim-majority countries show that the problem is often a literalist, ill-informed, and prejudiced policymaker reading into the text ‘punishments’ that do not exist therein. Lebanon, for example, legalized same-sex sexual activity in 1951. While Saudi Arabia and Iran can both prescribe capital punishment for these intimate, private performances. For the last year, as a regularly published columnist for  New York Times Opinion Op-ed , I have tried to mainstream the cause and consequences of policing gender, sexuality, and identity in Thailand. In my first column, “A Tyranny No Different,” I showed that Thailand’s Penal Code section 377, which criminalizes same-sex behavior, has absolute semantic similarity with Sub Section 175 of the Third Reich and that this provision, which we now have common with 42 former British colonies, was introduced into the legal system by the British Raj. Dominant groups inside the country today use coercion and hegemony – making this a Public Policy problem.

My academic progress at university has been my most challenging rendition till now. After completing high school, I had to take a year off from my pursuit of happiness – education. Not having the financial means necessary to undertake undergraduate studies, I had to supplement it by seeking employment. I chose the profession which was both morally uplifting and financially rewarding – teaching fifteen to twenty-year-olds. With a credible background in public speaking, my performance in education management and policy began by emulating the Greek sophists. As a freshman, I started coaching forensics, debating, and public speaking at schools in my city. And during my sophomore year, I was promoted to coordinating and teaching the General Certificate of Education Advanced Level on Government and Politics and Global Perspectives.

During these last six years, I have come to chair the Forensics, Debate, and Public Speaking department and remain the youngest high school faculty member at three campuses of Thailand’s largest private school network. While engaged in this fray against the leviathan of financial scarcity, I had to sacrifice 22+ hours a week, and because of this, my grades were maimed. This performance had much in common with Alice (of Wonderland), for, like her, I, too, tried to learn “as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” I learned to accept that responsibility can be thrust on one by fate, and one must deal with it with stoicism and courage. I learned that time could both be managed and raced against. But most importantly, in both taking and giving lectures, I learned that education is the only institution for real and visceral change. As my students used the individual and collaborative research skills taught in my courses to answer tense policy questions – for their final Cambridge assessments – concerning gender, sexuality, human rights, climate change, and others, their minds became freer; I witnessed Rationality vanquish Ignorance.

At university, I majored in Political Science and was fortunate enough to authorize courses on Western Political Thought and Political Philosophy. It was during this time that I realized that Public Policy is the contemporary version of old philosophical questions asked by, for example, Plato in “The Republic,” Al-Farabi in “The Virtuous City” or John Rawls in “Justice as Fairness”: how should states enable their citizenry to lead a good life; how does a government balance Liberty with Authority. What is Justice? A philosophical inquiry led me to the works of Judith Butler and Michel Foucault, which helped me become self-aware of the legitimacy of my performance as a member of the non-heteronormative population.

Philosophy also helped calm my existence, bruised by social contingencies as it was, rekindled my spirit for policy and parliamentary debating, and led me to perform well at both national and international tournaments. I won ten national championships and received full funding to represent Thailand at two United Asian Debating Championships. I traveled to Macau, China, and Singapore. In Singapore, we became the only Thailand team to reach the octo-finals of Asia’s top parliamentary debating championship (UADC) in the tournament’s history. Against 120 teams from across the continent, Thailand was ranked 7th, prevailing over teams from India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and others.

The crescendo of this performance was when I successfully defended the motion “This house would prosecute parents who actively suppress the sexual orientation of their children” against the host institution, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. Though my parents may have made bad financial choices, they never chose to suppress the nature of my being. Yet, as an awry, bent clay pot, the dynamics of Thai society have given me an acute awareness of the forms of suppression. And I have often felt Henley’s “foul clutch of circumstance” searingly and intimately. So this motion was a chance at retribution; meeting the heteronormative on the elysian fields of reason and explaining to them the cruel outcomes of their policies; outcomes of suppression, conversion, guilt, and shame, that were both harmful and dehumanizing.

If I am to acquire the tools to test the policy outcomes of the institutions that manufacture, regulate and enforce gender, sexuality, and gender norms, I must go to the country which was the birthplace of the Queer Liberation Movement. A country that extended its hate crime law to include sexual orientation after the murder of a single individual, Matthew Shepherd, because of the bounce in his walk; a country which, after the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, made their “union a little more perfect.”

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grad school personal statement examples social work

Masters in social work personal statement

If you'd like to become a social worker but didn't study the subject at undergraduate level then a Masters degree is essential for entry into the profession. You'll need to write a personal statement that coveys your commitment and passion to social work

Writing a personal statement for a vocational postgraduate course, like the MSc or Postgraduate Diploma in social work requires a slightly different approach from what you might be used to when applying for academic courses, as you're not only applying for a course, but to train for a particular profession.

You will be expected to:

For many social work courses it is a requirement to have undertaken relevant work experience in a social work or social care setting. You can see in the example statement, rather than describing the experience and tasks undertaken, you will need to reflect on how your experience has shaped your motivation to train as a social worker and what you have learned about the role. You will also need to provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated the skills, qualities and professional values of a social worker.

This example should be used for guidance only. Copying any of this text could significantly harm your chances of securing a place on a course.

Masters in social work personal statement example

I gained my first insight into social work while studying a 'Social work perspectives' module during the first year of my degree in health and social care. Learning about the ethics that underpin social work practice challenged my assumptions about the role social workers play, demonstrating the importance of the role for empowering vulnerable people and coordinating support to overcome challenges to health, safety and wellbeing.

I was able to observe this in practice during my placement at a supported living service for young people with learning disabilities. Social workers were integral to enabling the young people to safely transition to independent living, advocating for them to secure appropriate accommodation, coordinating access to disability services and providing support to develop independent living skills and money management. Without this advocacy, many of the young people may never have had the opportunity to live independently.

I have recently started a placement working with a local mental health charity, spent a year volunteering with Citizens Advice and am currently volunteering with the Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT). Through these experiences I have observed the challenges faced by different groups of people, many of which can be alleviated or managed through empowerment of individuals and access to the right support. Becoming a social worker would enable me to work with diverse groups and support them to overcome these challenges and live more successfully within our society.

Through my experience, I have responded to individuals with empathy and respect and have demonstrated that I can uphold the values and ethical principles of the social work profession, while resiliently managing the challenges of working under pressure and supporting those who may not always be receptive to me. As a volunteer adviser at Citizens Advice I was often the first point of contact for individuals facing stressful and time-pressured problems, such as eviction or debt. I responded calmly and focused on the issues at hand, taking a non-judgemental approach to the individual's circumstances by clearly explaining why I was asking particular questions and how this would enable me to direct them to the appropriate support. At PACT, I facilitate family play sessions with prisoners and their children. I have taken the time to build rapport with the individual and their families; focusing on the person's identity as a parent and ways I can support them to feel they have a positive societal role. As a social worker it is important to treat people holistically while promoting dignity and wellbeing, these examples show my potential to respond in a positive, impartial way regardless of people's circumstances.

Many of my interactions at the mental health charity are with individuals in challenging circumstances, who are reluctant to seek help from external services due to poor past experiences. Many of my interactions have been with people who are angry, frustrated or suspicious. I take the time to listen to their concerns, provide reassurance and identify an initial starting point. When faced with particularly challenging or complex cases I do not hesitate to seek advice from colleagues or request a referral, always involving the individual in this process. These experiences have enabled me to recognise the importance of multi-disciplinary teams to meet complex and multi-faceted needs. These interactions have better prepared me to work with people who may present in a challenging way due to their circumstances and have helped me to develop the resilience to manage those interactions professionally and calmly.

My degree has prepared me for both the academic study and practice elements of the MSc in Social work. The interdisciplinary nature of my degree has introduced me to approaches from sociology, philosophy, health, policy and psychology, which provide a strong foundation to build upon in the social work course. In safeguarding modules I was introduced to the legal and policy frameworks underpinning practice when analysing a number of recent serious case reviews. This developed my ability to analyse complex situations where the application of law and policy is not always straightforward. Undertaking practice placements will enable me to further develop and apply this knowledge to real scenarios, building my confidence in making effective, evidence-informed decisions.

My dissertation project evaluated the impact of a local mental health charity's peer support programme, enabling me to develop a strong understanding of the ethics of participant research. I developed the methodology, completed the literature review and carried out primary research. This has prepared me with the core academic skills to evaluate research and develop evidence informed approaches during the Masters course.

Undertaking placements and volunteering alongside my degree has seen me organise my time effectively, consistently meeting coursework deadlines and completing work to a standard that has put me on track to achieve a 2:1, while receiving positive feedback from placements on my reliability. This demonstrates my ability to successfully balance academic work alongside the demands of practice placements during the Masters.

My work experience has motivated me to pursue a social work career in mental health, advocating for those who may not be in a position to advocate for themselves. The course will equip me with tools and approaches for working with service users in a range of circumstances, from those in crisis to those who need practical support to manage their condition in the community. I particularly look forward to professional placements where I can apply my learning while supported by experienced practitioners to navigate this complex area of social work. The MSc in Social work will build upon the knowledge and skills gained through my degree and experience, equipping me to undertake this challenging and demanding role.

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grad school personal statement examples social work

Social Worker Personal Statement

Personal narrative: my haitian-american family.

I am very honored and thankful to be the first the person in my family to attend college fall of 2016. As I strive to end my senior year positive, I always remember to tell my younger siblings to try as hard as they can in school, because “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I’ve decided that I would like to get my degree in social work, specifically working with children. Growing I’ve been around kids that are unhappy with thier home, but couldn’t do anything about it. My mother’s story really contributed to what I want to become in the future. I want to be there for all my clients, just the way my mother was there for me when I needed her support or when her clients needed

My Core Values Affecting Disenfranchised Community

After retiring from the military, I vowed to earn a degree in Psychology to understand struggles in the human thought process. My current education has better equipped me to understand the challenges and need for social structures to provide support, guidance, and opportunities to those who are systemically disenfranchised. A graduate degree in Social Work will equip me with the skills necessary to change lives. As with professional experiences in the United States Marine Corps, I am determine to be

Personal Narrative: My Social Work Education

As a professional Social Worker, I am morally and ethically obligated to serve my community through advocacy, awareness of relevant resources, and a passion for helping others within its best possibility. I aspire to share this love for social work through properly training subordinates and combating cynicism in the field with passion, support, and the value of the human spirit. I am fully (devoted) to obtaining my graduate degree, earning an independent license, and anticipate staying in the social work realm for the rest of my life. In order to advance as a respected clinician(,) I require the backing of an award-winning institution such as Louisiana State University. My new education will allow me to align with the LSU’s mission statement to “solve economic, environmental, and social challenges” within the social work

Personal Narrative: My Life As A School Social Worker

At this point of my career, I have realized my doing in life is to give back to those who are vulnerable and are in need of help which is one of the reasons why I have decided to pursue my Master Degree of Social Work. Typically, some characteristics that a social worker should have are empathy, courage, respect for diversity, and being ethical and flexible. These are characteristics that I believe I have and helped me while working with youth at the elementary

Social Work Observation

On September 21, 2015, I met with Ms. Katie, a student in the MSW program at NCSU, to conduct an interview. We met at Starbucks in Cary, in the crossroads shopping center. Ms. Katie’s responses helped me learn and think about social workers in the child welfare social field. As a prospective social worker, my questions were formed based thoughts that I have concerning my responsibilities in the social work field..

Empowerment Theory In Social Work

According to the National Alliance of Social Workers (NASW), social justice is one of the primary ethics which social workers must uphold. Empowerment is a social work theory rooted in social justice, with a main goal of reducing social inequalities through community building and redistribution of access to power. The basic premise of empowerment is "to change the environment, change yourself" (Van Wormer & Besthorn, pg. 212). However, in order to change one 's environment or self, there must be options available and opportunities for individuals to have control over their own decisions. Empowerment theory also aims to build community through citizen participation, collaboration and engagement among community members. This theory also seeks

Letter Of Intent For Social Work Research Paper

My understanding of the social work profession is that it’s a career path that concerns itself with the welfare of people from all backgrounds. Individuals in this career field have the wherewithal to handle with the continuously changing demographic in which they serve. They also assume responsibility for the development, implementation, and management of social services that they provide. The social work profession employs the world with skilled workers that use the tools and resources available to them to advance the lives of others. Individuals in this career field are capable of ethical decision making and are advocates for positive social change for the oppressed

Human Service Interview

As a Human Service major what better way to learn more about the profession than from someone who has experience in the field. I chose to interview a friend of mine, Florence Martus. Mrs. Martus is employed through the city of Fredericksburg, VA with the Department of Social Services. This agency is located at 608 Jackson St, Suite 100 Fredericksburg, VA 22401. Virginia Department of Social Services provides many services to the public such as, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Adoption, Child Care Assistance, Refugee Resettlement Service, and Child and Adult Protective Services. From conducting this interview I have learned how much the Department of Social Services

Dbq Experience

Just as with many of my previous academic moments it continued the drive I had already had. While my education continued to teach me valuable lessons and give me hands on experience I began to gain a stronger sense rooted in development and the protection of others by hopefully continuing my education at Loyola University Chicago in the Masters of Social Work/Masters of Arts in Social Justice Program which would give me the opportunity to not only eventually become a social worker with the Department of Social Services (DSS), with a school, or a guardian ad litem but to do that work effectively with the chance that would be afforded to me of an academic background steeped in social work as well as social justice teachings. This program in particular continues the undergraduate work and furthers my education on my path to my

Examples Of Core Values In Social Work

The mission of the social work profession is deeply-rooted in a set of core values. The core values are encompassed by social workers throughout our profession 's history, are the foundation of a social worker 's distinct purpose and perception. These value are service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. This group of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession.

Discuss The Theories That Apply To My Specialization

As a graduate student at Capella, I chose to obtain a Masters in Psychology. This field was selected because I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and I felt it was best to get a well-rounded education. I do not have an interest in becoming licensed and entering the therapy realm, as I highly enjoy the case management side of things. My passion has always been working in the child protective services field. Although I have experience with adults, this is the field my heart cannot leave. Therefore, choosing the specialization area of Child and Adolescent Development just felt natural. I hope to increase not only my knowledge, but the ability to apply my knowledge in a way that is unique and scholarly to the child welfare field.

Why I Want To Be A Social Work Essay

I want to strive to be a better person, so I could make a change in a young person’s life and know when I go home on a night, that I made a difference and that's why I want to pursue my career as a social worker. When I realized that I wanted to be a social worker, I was in my junior year of high school. I knew I wanted to help people, children especially, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go into. I thought I wanted to be in Neonatology or another profession like it. When I first witnessed a social worker, I was getting a treatment in the hospital and saw a social worker working with a family who child had a broken pelvis. This child kept crying even after they nurses gave them medicine for pain. The nurses were concerned about the child always crying and called the social worker to come talk to the parents about the situations. I have tested my interest at Gateway Children’s Advocacy Center under Diane Rodgers. I loved volunteering at Gateway, it’s showing me the bad and the good side of social work. Gateway also helped point me in the direction of where I want to go in the social work

Social Work Personal Statement Examples

Social work is a career that I have recently become interested in pursuing. I spent many years with misconceptions concerning the sector. However, following three years of working close by these experts, I have picked up a more profound comprehension of the significance of the work.I am especially interested in working in child welfare along with terminally ill children. I have got to a stage in my career where I have started to search out instruction that will make me more efficient in creating plans and providing services for vulnerable people. I am confident that the skills that I will gain from completing a social work master’s degree will help me collaborate with people in need and aid sustainable growth in their lives.

Freshman Career Goals

This university offers a school of social work and ties at 17th place with other colleges in the United States for this major (Freshman Class Profile). The acceptance rate is 66% and the average GPA of students is 3.21-3.71. In this particular school, one of the three of their main overarching goals is to “Foster professional development, socialization, and identification with social work through an approach that links reflective practice, self-awareness, and ethical decision making which promotes the importance of continuing education and life-long learning.” (BSW Student Handbook). This specific program goal stands out because it captures the essence of what studying social work will be like at UIUC and the sort of growth that will take place as students learn and foster their inner passion for social work. For financial assistance, there are no scholarships offered directly from the school of social work aside from outside possible scholarships that students have to apply for individually. Regular FAFSA applies for this university to receive any sort of financial help. In order to be admitted and receive a bachelor’s degree in this social work program, the minimum requirements to meet are: completion of 50 service hours prior to admittance, GPA of 2.5 or higher, communication skills, characteristics that suit this profession, and the application to the

I Want To Be A Social Worker Essay

For as long as I can remember, I have possessed a desire to help people, especially those who are less fortunate than me. This trait along with life experiences are what drew me to want to pursue a career in social work. I want to be available to provide support to people when they have nowhere else to turn.

More about Social Worker Personal Statement

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Msw statement of purpose sample, bilingual latina.

grad school personal statement examples social work

Earning my MSW at UXX will introduce me and help me to fully understand a broad variety of strategies and tactics to better my surrounding community. Most critically, I will learn not just the mechanics of the status quo, but also immerse myself in the cutting-edge material concerning how to best go about improving the system in creative ways that are more effective at helping people in a holistic and sustainable fashion. I feel strongly that Social Work at UXXis highly exemplary in this regard, humanitarian, concerned with social justice issues as an integral part of the Social Work curriculum.

As a graduate student, I will aim to master the gambit of strategies that are most effective at promoting progressive social change. Being a caring person is intrinsic to social work, along with the drive and high motivation to challenge clients to realize their full potential. Social workers must honor the individuality of each client and empower them to move forward and achieve improvement. The fullest respect of client dignity helps to foster a sense of worth leading towards self-realization and -determination, and helps to produce participatory citizens rather than burdens to the system. The fight against social injustice is intrinsic to social work as I see it, in addition to advocacy, always with an eye on achieving the best outcomes for one’s clients. I personally feel strongly that serving as a voice for the oppressed should come naturally for social workers as they fight for justice and progressive change in their communities. While working with individual clients in the micro setting is my primary and immediate goal, I think it is complimentary to never lose sight of the broader picture and the way in which our own efforts are part of a larger movement towards greater levels of equality and dignity in our society.

Through my volunteer work, I have sought a healthy balance with my clients, treating them with the fullest measure of respect and giving my all, at the same time that I struggle to stop thinking about them at the end of the day and return to my home and family.  Having worked extensively with survivors of domestic violence, I am always especially concerned and engaged when my many clients have valid reasons to fear for their safety; thus, I have learned a great deal about legal procedures as s social worker, restraining orders, child services, etc. We worked very hard in our agency and were frequently successful in helping our clients to end abusive relationships and to establish their own homes free of violence, for themselves and their children, in other cases, simply making sure that the abuser has been removed from the premises and kept away by legal means.

I want the children of troubled and vulnerable families to see me as a kind and supportive friend, a representative of the community whose job it is to advocate and even militate if necessary on their behalf, so as to empower them to make use of available resources and to demand the recognition of their fullest human rights, especially as children. During my internship at the House of Ruth, I shadowed many caseworkers as they interacted with their clients – mostly women and their children. We learned through our training that we have to start where the client is and be considerate of their situation and its unique circumstances. One of the behaviors I observed is that these caseworkers are genuinely concerned and want to see the client make progress. I have learned and reflected extensively on the importance of not seeing our clients as helpless, simply ‘battered’ women; rather, we need to help our clients to discover their own power within so as to be able to mold their own destiny as independent women and mothers.

I have a very welcoming demeanor that allows people to open up to me and speak easily about their feelings. Whether it is family, friends, associates, or clients, I gain peoples trust because I am a good listener, without judgement. I help the client judge for themselves, steering them in the right direction and doing what I can to safeguard their interests, while I also fully realize that at the end of the day it must be the client who takes the initiative in the betterment of their own lives, at least in the case of adults. I feel especially honored as a social worker to have the opportunity to help members of disadvantaged communities and minority ethnic populations, recent immigrants, the vulnerable members of our society, many who speak Spanish and are in need of the kind of bilingual assistance that a bilingual Latina social worker can provide.

I labor to make the client feel comfortable enough to disclose and discuss their hardships so that they do not feel so isolated as a result of having been abused; but, rather, feel like they are an essential part of a society where abuse is not tolerated and where alternatives to living in abusive situations do exist as a result of community solidarity. As a graduate student in your MSW Program, I will never lose sight of the need to improve our communities by reinforcing and streamlining our support systems in ways that serve to protect and uplift the vulnerable and marginalized generally speaking, in addition to one client at a time. By earning the MSW Degree, I will complete a thoroughgoing immersion experience in the helping professions, ethics, strategies, methodology, research, and practice. With respect to my area of specialization, I hope to build a central focus on the child welfare and protection system because it is in this area where I feel I will be able to make my greatest contribution.

I firmly believe that social workers should be model parents if they have children and always as citizens that engage and uplift their community. We need better role models for our children, and subsequent generations, generally speaking, and the social worker should be exemplary and take a leadership role in providing children at risk with good role models to steer them along the path towards fulfillment, security, and happiness. I appreciate the importance of working with parents and their children individually, finding a sense of balance between parental control and community responsibility that provides an adequate foundation for child development and subsequent self-determination.

The community I have worked with is mostly women and some men – and their children -in recovery from abusive domestic relationships. They are looking for ways to better their lives and the lives of their children in particular. Seeing the drive and determination many of these women have to improve their family’s situation is immense. Most simply have to face the challenge of the love of their own children trumping the love or connection they once had with their abuser, and many do so quite bravely and successfully.

The importance of providing vulnerable and abused children with good role models is an issue that I am especially passionate about. Not all of the parents that I have gotten to know at the House of Ruth are highly motivated to improve their current lifestyle and become the kind of people that their children could really look up to. Without adequate role models, our society suffers as a whole. I have taken note of how many children there are in our communities who are in desperate need of the help that a social worker can provide, especially a good role model, someone who is kind, concerned, responsible, and a good listener.

The skills I will learn through the MSW program will provide me with the additional knowledge and experience that I need to support and educate parents in troubled situations as to what is in the best interests of their children, for the long as well as short term. I have been reading about child welfare and wellbeing issues for several years in my free time and have worked at county jobs, such as DCFS. I seek to build a distinguished career as an MSW professional in support of needy mothers and their children fleeing abusive situations. My five-year plan is to get more experience not only the field of domestic violence, but to become competent in all areas of social work that are closely related to child welfare, such as adoption, addictions, etc. My ten-year plan is to become the finest social worker possible, giving my all to a maximum caseload in a leadership position, increasingly doing outreach on behalf of needy children, especially those in the Spanish-speaking community.

I thank you for consideration of my application to Social Work at UXX.

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Help with your Statement in Social Work, BSW, MSW, DSW.

One day, while a Master’s Student in Religious Studies at Indiana University, I was looking for a work study job and examining the postings for these positions on the bulletin board at IU. Quickly, I realized that the position which most interested me was that of a counselor/staff person at the Bloomington MiddleWay House Shelter for Abused Women. Since I am a man, however, I thought that there was little chance that they would hire me. To my surprise, they did; in fact, I was the first male staff person to be hired by this institution. The director told me later that her primary reason for hiring me was to have a role model for the numerous little boys who stayed there with their mothers.

Soon, I found myself counseling women who had and continued to suffer severely from spousal abuse. I dispensed medications; I even answered the rape crises hotline (telling the woman that I could beep my supervisor if she would be more comfortable talking to a woman—some asked me to do so, others said that they would just talk to me). In addition to my graduate studies, this was the most formative experience of my life. I learned a lot about family dynamics, abuse, recovery, emotional and psychological redemption, etc. In fact, I went on to write my own doctoral dissertation on the history of the politics of violence against women in Latin America, which I have made my permanent home. 

Thus, about 15 years ago, when I began drafting statements of purpose for applicants to graduate school, I developed a special interest that remains to this day in the area of Social Work. I find profound fulfillment in helping applicants to BSW, MSW, and PHD programs because I am fascinated by, drawn to their stories. Only in Social Work is the applicant encouraged to write up to 5 double-spaced pages (in other fields it is almost always 3 or even 2 pages). I have often pondered why this is the case. The only answer that I have been able to come up with is that the Social Worker has a longer story: her past, her life story is more relevant to her application than in other fields. In other areas where space is more limited on the personal statement, I generally encourage applicants to talk more about their future and less about their past. In Social Work, however, the past explains the future in unique ways.

The most important thing that I have learned about applicants to social work programs is that they have all suffered themselves. They are all victims who have lived through some type of trial and tribulation, oppression, violence, abandonment, discrimination, etc. This is why they have chosen to be social workers. And it is their own historical suffering that drives them to succeed in helping others: their passion for helping victims is grounded in their own survival and redemption, escape from abuse in their own past, rejuvenation and determination to succeed in life despite the odds. Thus, the first paragraph of your statement should include this story. It should lay out the groundwork for what is to follow. Basically, it should lay out your long term plan to contribute to social work and humanity in a certain area and then indicate how this passion that you have is rooted in your own experience.

grad school personal statement examples social work

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Statements of Excellence in Social Work

grad school personal statement examples social work

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I want to help you get accepted to graduate school in social work..

grad school personal statement examples social work

I would be happy to provide you with a highly eloquent Statement that portrays you as someone with enormous potential to contribute to the advance of the social work field over the long term. After you fill out my  Online Interview Form , I will ask you some specific questions by email if I need any further information. Please also send your resume/CV and or rough draft if you have one.

Thank you very much.  I thought the draft was beautiful and concise and helps capture what I wanted to convey.  I did make some brief modifications and change some words.  Once again, thank you so much because I know this will increase my chance of getting the position.  I will keep you guys updated.  I truly appreciate your service. 

grad school personal statement examples social work

I help as many people as I can in the area of Social Work, usually the MSW Degree, because I find special joy working in this field. There is a lot of sadness in Social Work and occasionally it brings me to tears while drafting the statement; I have to stop and dry my eyes. Nevertheless, the sadness is in the past and the triumph is to overcome and process that sadness, as social workers and counselors do, and then turn their attention to helping others that suffer. Social workers tend to be noble people, not by birth or by station, but by the fact that they have been victims, have suffered, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, building new lives, overcoming their past histories of abuse or neglect, and are now helping others to do so as well.

Thank you so much!  I only had to make very minor changes, and felt that the statement was still very much me.  I knew what I wanted to say, and felt it came through in the final product.  After I sent the rough draft (rough may be an understatement) I thought of all of information I left out, but when read the amended draft, it was like you read my mind! Thank you so much for helping me to get one step closer to reaching my goals.

grad school personal statement examples social work

I have read statement and feel very excited about it.   Thank you for your time in processing this so quickly.


How we can work to provide better humanitarian aid.

grad school personal statement examples social work

Samples of My Work for Admission to Degree Programs in Social Work

The Humanitarian Side of Social Work

Ready to snag a job in international social work? As a social worker and Director of NGOabroad, Ann McLaughlin helps people get into international both paid and voluntary humanitarian work. The comments she made in a recent article in The New Social Worker pertain to humanitarian, not corporate, work in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Eastern Europe.

Lots of people are interested in getting paid work in this area. Let' start by defining the challenge and then address the steps to deal with that challenge.

The Challenge

There is a lot of competition for paid international humanitarian jobs. In fact, there is a huge bottleneck getting into paid international humanitarian work. The majority of the grassroots humanitarian organizations in Asia, Africa, and South America are run on the commitment of their members.

They do not have money to host volunteers or pay expatriates in many cases. In countries with 20-40% unemployment, the grassroots jobs rightfully belong to the people from those countries.

The niche for expatriates is with the international NGOs! Highly qualified candidates from all over the world apply for the jobs working with international NGOs. If you thought the competition was fierce when you applied for a job in your town, wait till you try competing on a global level. There are far more people applying for only a few positions.

However, don’t let that stop you!! Just know that it takes a lot to get your foot in the door.

So what does it take to get paid international social work? You´ll need:

Okay, so international experience is a must. If you look at most international job announcements, they specify how much international work experience is required for that position. They may say things like “five years’ experience in the Great Lakes necessary” (and they´ll probably be referring to the Great Lakes of Lake Kivu, Tanganyika, Victoria, and Nyasa, not Lake Michigan!) The Great Lakes is the tumultuous region that encompasses Rwanda, Burundi, and the Congo. There are milder places to begin to get your first international experience, but those are some good examples of destinations you might consider.

Volunteering is a great way to get international experience, of course. International volunteering that gives you relevant experience is a great way to build your foundation for international work.

You usually need to have worked in 2-3 posts as a volunteers to build a good foundation of experience. International experience it is essential, and it´s complex. You can’t just transplant your skills into another culture—you have to learn about that culture.

Employers are looking for people who “know the ropes” and understand how international work is different from work they would do locally. Because most international humanitarian work is funded by projects, you must be able to “hit the ground running” and be ready to work hard.

Cultural experience helps immensely: people who have cultural roots in the country where they wish to work are at a distinct advantage: they likely know the language, beliefs, and interaction patterns, so they know how to connect and get things done in that culture.

Class experience is also valuable. If you are going to work in a poor country, then studying poverty, hardship, and despair helps you “get” it. The biggest step that most North Americans and Europeans can make is learning about the class divide. One eighth of the world population consumes seven eighths of the world resources, leaving only one eighth of the resources for the rest. We live in a world of Have-Lots and Have-Nots.

It´s important to have lots of experience and something valuable to contribute. You can certainly get started with that in your own country, too. It´s much more of a challenge to learn professional skills in another country where you have to cope with cultural differences and snafus.

By bringing plenty of skills and savvy, you don’t end up being a drain on the organization, you contribute to it. Many international positions do not require you to carry out a task, they require you to teach others how to do that task. In the terms used in international work, you partner as equals in order to build capacity.

Many people think that international social work means that you do the same tasks that you might do in your home country, transplanting them into the region you´re working in. This is not true. The truth is that people are very capable all over the world. They can do things for themselves, and they may interpret your intentions as condescending.

Your job will often be to mentor. This is where it helps to have experience, especially supervisory experience. You will have to know your subject so well that you can see where the snags are for them, or how to apply a new innovation or approach into a very different cultural or religious context. This is where it gets tricky. You need resourcefulness and the ability to improvise.

To partner as equals, you need a tremendous amount of humility. To be honest, Americans often flunk this test. They have a reputation for being arrogant out there in the rest of the world.

Many Americans come in thinking that they are hot stuff. But capacity building is recognizing and building the skills of your team rather than show-boating what you can do. Canadians often come in much more gently and accomplish far more for this reason.

Study the cultures and countries that interest you, ascertain their needs and try to work out where you might fit in and be able to help. This will help not only when you are there, but when you approach people about paid or voluntary work.

Richard Bolles’ job strategy in What Color Is Your Parachute? Was to determine the unmet needs in an organization. If you can meet the unmet needs, you are so much more likely to be hired. Intuit what vexes, baffles, bewilders, and plagues them.

Consider the culture at large. For example, in countries that have no budget for health and education, there are few social services to meet human needs. Therefore, there are few jobs but lots of needs to fulfill. There may be lots of room to start programs in these countries.

Another strategy is to find burgeoning grassroots organizations. Social work has a role to play at all levels of a nation's social service infrastructure. Paid jobs in well-established organizations are available to those with the necessary qualifications, but those may not be the real plums. The most exciting jobs are often those on the cutting edge: assisting with the growth of the grassroots citizens organizations (often in a volunteer role, initally).

In poor countries, there is very usually little money for social services, but social services may be growing nonetheless. In the last 10 years, there has been an explosion of organizations started by citizens. The growth of infrastructure is from the ground up, not the top down, so you may like to take advantage of that.

So, what specific skills will you need? In the new grassroots organizations, community organization skills are incredibly valuable for organizational and program development.

Grant writing and fundraising skills are in demand. In paid positions, managerial skills are often required. You may wear the hats of both director and service provider, for example.

It may surprise you, but the clinical skills that you have acquired in North America may or may not be applicable! Psychotherapy is a very foreign notion in most of the world and counseling is often a luxury.

Your people skills, broadly speaking, will be treasured everywhere. Social work is one of the most important professions in international work because of the emphasis on poverty.

Getting Your Foot in the Door

First, identify prospective organizations and contact people. This is where much of the preparatory work happens. You could spend years researching possibilities, but getting in touch is the key.

Next, write a culturally-sensitive, compelling cover letter and résumé. In the industrial world, you impress people with your qualifications. But when writing to South America, Africa, Asia or Central Asia it is offensive to receive a letter with the sort of boasting tone that prevails in North America. You are going to help. Be humble.

During this process, outline how your skills will help meet their needs. For voluntary work, explain that you can help them set up their domestic violence program or a livelihoods program in a refugee camp. Suggest how you can help teach how a media campaign changes attitudes toward “gender based violence” or how you will work with the slum dwellers on advocacy programs.

Steer clear of the crowd—target organizations that no one else has heard of.

And then hang tough, keep at it, g into an international job search knowing it is a marathon. Take breaks along the way, pace yourself, persist. In the course of searching, you´ll learn a lot about how international work is “wired”, and that will help you eventually succeed.

Working in this field is likely to be one of the highlights of your life. The field is quickly changing as NGOs fill a niche that many governments have neglected. The world needs people contributing their skills to address humanity' problems, the needs are clearly there. And it is just a matter of finding your niche, which involves research! Good luck. And if you need any help with your admissions or work-related documents, let us know!

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