Personal Statement Guidelines

Your personal statement is an important component of your application.

The faculty of the School of Social Work have the responsibility of evaluating your application. You will be submitting a variety of evidence concerning your ability to undertake a graduate program in social work.

Use the questions that follow to complete your personal statement. DO NOT use a question and answer format. Write a full essay answering ALL questions below. Your essay should be double spaced, in 12-point font. There is no specific min/max page requirement for the personal statement essay. We highly recommend you keep to 5-6 pages double-spaced.

ALL of the following items must be addressed in your personal statement.

The Profession of Social Work as a Career Goal

  • Why does social work appeal to you?
  • What particular aspects or special fields of social work interest you most?
  • What contributions will you make to the school and to your fellow students?
  • Why are you seeking professional education at this time?
  • What are your career goals in social work for the five years following graduation?

Experience as a Student

  • How do you expect your performance in graduate school to compare with your performance as an undergraduate student?
  • Give reasons for any differences you may anticipate.
  • Have you ever received low (D's) or failing grades, been on probation, or been dismissed from or denied readmission to any college? If so, explain. Be specific.
  • A fully online graduate program can create unique challenges and opportunities for students. If you are applying to our online program, describe the prior experiences you have had with online learning. Additionally, briefly describe your strategies for academic success, to include personal time-management, interactions with faculty and other students, and faculty advisement.

Work Experience

  • Describe any social work experience in which you were supervised by an MSW professional.
  • With what social problems, ethnic groups, clients, types of agencies, or systems have you had experience?
  • Give an example of a work-related problem you experienced and how you were able to resolve it.

Other Experience

  • Describe your experience/participation in school and community activities.
  • Describe your experience in the helping role, such as family or other social or work experiences, in which you gave or received help.

Other Commitments

  • Describe any anticipated work or community commitments that bear on the time demands of a graduate program that includes class and field placements.
  • Field placements, or internships, are required for completion of an MSW and are a central part of your learning experience. Discuss specifically how you will plan for and accommodate the required hours per week needed to complete the field hours while in the program. If you are expecting to be employed while in the program, discuss how you will ensure your availability for field placement hours.


  • What information or experience influenced your choice in making an application to this school?
  • Have you been dismissed or been asked to resign from a position as a result of an infraction? If so, discuss each situation in detail, focusing on how you overcame it and the relevance it has to your desire to become a social worker.
  • Discuss examples of your ability to express yourself orally.
  • What languages other than English do you know sufficiently well to use in a field instruction assignment?