Application Essay Guidelines

Your personal statement essay is an important component of your application. The essay must include critically reflective responses to the below four (or five, if applicable) questions. 

Required Essay Questions

  1. Briefly, yet critically, discuss a social issue or problem that is important to you and motivates your decision to pursue an MSW degree.
  2. A key part of the UB School of Social Work’s mission is promoting social justice as one of the six core social work values outlined in the Code of Ethics. Please discuss how your lived experience has contributed to your understanding of social justice. In your response, you may include how race or other factors have impacted your life, whether through discrimination, inspiration or otherwise.
  3. Tell us why you are pursuing the profession of social work at this time, and why the UB School of Social Work's MSW degree program is a good match for you.
  4. What personal skills and knowledge, and/or professional and academic experiences have prepared you for a graduate level social work degree program?
  5. Supplemental Required Information (if applicable): If you experienced any of the following academic challenges:
    • Undergraduate GPA below 3.0; 
    • Low or failing grades (for example, D, F, U); 
    • Been on academic probation; 
    • Dismissed from, or denied readmission to any college or department major,

    Please explain the issue(s) and be specific as to how you have addressed it and your readiness to move into graduate level study.

Formatting your Essay

  • DO NOT use a question and answer format. Write a full essay answering ALL questions above.
  • Questions may be answered in any order to fit the narrative of your essay. 
  • Your essay should be double spaced, in 12-point font. 
  • Please keep your answers to the first four questions to no more than 7 pages double-spaced.
Questions updated September 11, 2023

Question 2 is optional for spring 2024 applicants. All current questions are required for applicants for summer and fall 2024 and beyond. 

(updated tips video coming soon)