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❶Persistent cookies remain on your personal computer or mobile device when you go offline, while session cookies are deleted as soon as you close your web browser. The best essays will also be clear, concise, and graceful.

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What events in her total life experiences have led the applicant to the field of social work? What is her story, and how did it lead her to apply to this specific school?

This is the opportunity to show the link between what may appear on the surface to be disparate life experiences. It is the chance for the applicant to narrate her story and come alive to the faculty reviewer and become a living, thinking, feeling human being with a life full of meaningful experiences.

An applicant might present her life and professional experiences using the language and terminology consistent with the values of the stated mission of the School. A paragraph in the personal statement, then, might read as follows:. The values that the School presents in its mission statement are not just words for me. As a lesbian, I have lived the oppression of a society grounded in heterosexist patriarchy, and have experienced firsthand the social and economic injustices suffered by my women and lesbians friends, as well as the working poor.

A quiet person by nature, I have discovered a voice that I did not know I had. I have added my voice to those seeking equal rights for same sex partners and continue my struggle to receive health care benefits for my partner of 15 years. I have come to recognize and value the strengths and resiliencies I have developed by necessity to survive the neglect and abuse of my childhood and use these in my ongoing struggle against the discrimination and societal injustices that I experience as a woman and as a lesbian.

Notice how this excerpt from a fictional applicant allows the applicant to come alive to the reader in a passionate, enthusiastic manner while clearly using the language and the values presented in the mission statement of the School. It should be clear that the values of the School and those of the student appear compatible and that there might be a good match here. In the following fictional excerpt, note the apparent incongruence between the values and goals of the applicant and those of the School, suggesting a poor fit between the School and applicant.

In conclusion, I have always been intrigued by psychological issues, and have actually done quite a lot of reading in the field. I feel that I am an excellent communicator and that I would be able to help clients deal with their problems.

My ultimate goal is to become part of a group private practice, and although I am concerned about the current insurance problems and third party reimbursement concerns, I believe that there continues to be a need for MSWs to help people with their psychological and social problems.

I believe that the MSW is the most powerful degree to have to provide psychotherapy to clients, and that we will become increasingly recognized by HMOs and managed care companies as the most effective providers. This is the degree that will most aptly enable me, as a psychotherapist in private practice, to help those afflicted with mental illness to become more productive members of society.

Either of these excerpts may be acceptable and, perhaps, even appropriate, depending on the School to which the applicant is applying; however, given the summary of the values of the above School, the first excerpt clearly represents a better fit than the second.

In the first we experience a strengths-based perspective and a genuine sense of the struggles and of the "voice" of the applicant-the person behind the words; in the second, we see a more traditional pathology-based perspective and an emphasis on the career ambitions of the applicant. Four general recommendations are offered to applicants.

First, they need to come to a clear understanding of their own values and career goals, and how these are informed by their total life experiences. Second they should come to a clear understanding of the values and goals of the School of Social Work to which they plan to apply. This may be accomplished through faculty, field instructor, and alumni interviews, review of mission statements, review of past core curriculum syllabi, and a library search and review of the literature produced by current faculty.

Third, they need to determine which Schools have values that are compatible with their own. Fourth, they need to develop personal statements that reflect the influences in their lives that contributed to an interest in the profession of social work. These statements should reflect a clear understanding of the mission statement of the particular school. In summary, the purpose of the application process is to give the applicant and the school the chance to screen one another.

Applications should be completed only after careful examination of the mission and goals of particular schools, and personal statements need to show a clear understanding of and connection to the values and goals of the school and its curriculum.

Perhaps the most useful recommendation for potential applicants is to take the time to reflect on and write out the values and beliefs that guide their lives, inform their behavior, and provide meaning to their life experiences, and to seek out schools that are compatible to these.

This done, the personal statement should flow naturally and genuinely, because it will be based on the knowledge, truth, wisdom, and authenticity of personal life experience. But it seems funny to use this a means of enhancing your personal statement. It feels a bit like someone using a sob story to win the X Factor. Sorry to be so critical, I just feel uneasy about being so personal in an application.

Lawrence more than 1 year ago. Although they are sometimes called "personal statements," the instructions for what to include in your application essay will vary from school to school. Common Words that Sound Alike Numbers: Text Elements Visual Rhetoric: Process and Materials Overview: An Introduction Researching Programs: Practical Considerations Researching Programs: Drafting Your Statement Statements of Purpose: The Basics In-Text Citations: Basic Rules Reference List: Articles in Periodicals Reference List: Other Print Sources Reference List: Electronic Sources Reference List: Organization and Structure Graduate Writing Workshops: Introductions Graduate Writing Workshops: Literature Reviews Graduate Writing Workshops: Style Graduate Writing Workshops:

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