As you prepare to write your social work personal statement, remember that it’s not just about your personality. The goal of this statement is to offer insight into your skills and experiences. It’s your opportunity to demonstrate how well-prepared you are.
When crafting your social work personal statement, keep in mind several fundamental questions: What are you trying to accomplish? Who do you want to become? What is the population you want to serve, and how can you best communicate that to your audience?
What Are Social Work Personal Statements
Your social work personal statement typically takes the form of a personal essay that describes experiences and goals that are relevant to a social work program.
Key Components of a Personal Statement
This essay is usually part of the packet of information that you’re required to submit to an admissions department. Your social work personal statement typically includes the following information:
- Your Past Experiences: Have you already volunteered or worked in social work fields? What experiences have prepared and inspired you?
- Your Educational Goals: What have you accomplished so far, and what education goals do you plan to achieve?
- Your Career Goals: What do you want to do with your career? What role do you want to take on in social work?
- Your Challenges: What obstacles have you faced?
You’ll probably include any details pertinent to your admission into the program. Be sure to include the relevant information that the committee will need to know as they review your personal statement as part of your application packet.
Why Social Work Personal Statements Are Important
A social work personal statement is a meaningful way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants. What will set you apart and make the committee remember you?
Social work is a growing field, and the job outlook for social workers is promising. There were more than 700,000 social worker jobs in the United States in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Jobs in the industry are projected to increase by 12% through 2030, which is faster than average.
Who Needs To Write Social Work Personal Statements?
You’ll probably write a social work personal statement if you’re applying for a master’s program in social work. In some cases, you might need it for a bachelor’s program as well. Of course, once you’ve spent the time to write this statement, you can repurpose it for scholarship and grant applications, cover letters, and a range of other needs in your career and future life.
In other words, the work you do here and the time you spend will not be wasted. You can also reuse what you create here for your future applications and endeavors at work, as part of your academic career, and beyond.
Steps for Writing a Social Work Personal Statement
Your process for writing your social work personal statement will probably be the same as what you’ll follow for any other essay or college paper. Here are the basic steps you’ll probably take as you create your social work personal statement.
Assess the Audience
Think about who you’re writing for, what they are looking for, and what specific details you should include. You’re probably writing for a committee but think about their academic background. Work to fulfill their expectations.
Prepare an Outline and Conduct Research
Create an outline of the points you want to include. Fill in your points with relevant research and examples from your personal and professional experience. Don’t worry about having too much research or too many points in your outline. You can always cut it down later.
Write a Draft
Start writing based on your outline, filling in additional details as you go along. Don’t get too tied to making it perfect at this point. Make sure you’ve covered all the guidelines for the social work personal statement. Is it on-topic and relevant to the topic and course of study?
You should have multiple revisions of your social work personal statement as you add further details to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Let the essay sit for a few days if you have time. You’ll see areas of confusion, but you’ll also be more open to changing the work if you’ve given it time to sit and stew.
As part of the revision process, make sure to read your social work personal statement out loud. Run the paper through spelling and grammar checkers to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes.
Reach out to friends and professors who might be willing to help you in the review process. You’re not alone on this path, and you can gain great insight when you ask for input from others.
Social Work Personal Statement Examples
You’ll find quite a few examples of social work personal statements online, but they’re not all high-quality examples. Most of the best examples are available from universities or social work organizations. Here are a few you can use to get your mental gears turning.
- Studential – Social Work Personal Statement Examples
- Social Work Haven – Examples of Social Work Personal Statement
- Acrosophy – Social Work Personal Statement Examples
While these examples can offer great inspiration and ideas, be sure that your final essay is completely original. If you copy and paste any of these examples, you run the risk of setting off red flags for plagiarism, which typically results in the rejection of your application.
Where To Find Prompts for Social Work Personal Statements
You may be surprised by how many places you can find prompts for social work personal statements online. Even as you follow those guidelines, be sure that you read your essay. It should reflect who you are and what you want from social work. Here are just a few prompts:
- MSW Personal Statement Prompt
- My Perfect Words – Personal Statement Prompts
- The University of Buffalo – Application Essay Guidelines
- Shepherd University – Personal Statement Writing Prompts
These prompts can offer great insight as you write your social work personal statement, but make sure you keep the precise guidelines for the program you’re applying for. It’s easy to get caught up in unrelated topics and directions that have nothing to do with what they have asked you to write about.
Tips for Crafting the Perfect Social Work Personal Statement
When you’re writing your social work personal statement, you need to maintain a laser focus on what you’re writing and how your succinct work will further back up your other materials. Here are a few other tips you should rely on when you’re writing the perfect social work personal statement.
Don’t get distracted by other topics or the total amount of information you can include. Focus on making sure you highlight why everything in your personal and professional life has brought you to this point, where you’re ready to commit to social work.
Your writing process might be slightly different, but don’t forget the importance of planning and researching for your essay. Then write everything you think to include. Remember that your pre-writing phase is not the final copy.
Make sure you have enough time in this process to let your social work personal statement sit for at least a few days before you proofread it. You need to have a fresh approach to your writing, so you won’t be so attached to what you wrote before.
You’re not doing this alone, even though it might feel like it sometimes. There are lots of other people who are willing and able to help you if you just ask. If you’re taking a college class, you could reach out to the professor for input or even visit the school’s Writing Center.
Your social work personal statement may be one of the most important documents you create in your career. The good news is that you’re not alone in your effort to craft your social work personal statement and move forward with your education and career. Here are a few additional resources that will help you along the way:
- Social Work Advocates magazine
- Social Work Journal
- Choices: Careers in Social Work
- Encyclopedia of Social Work Online
- Social Work Career Development: A Handbook for Job Hunting and Career Planning
As you immerse yourself in these resources, you can and should use what you learn as jumping-off points for future growth and development in your field. Keep track of the areas of study and research that interest you the most.
Be aware of those instances where you feel inspired and passionate. Tap into those areas of interest when you write your social work personal statement. Help the reading committee to understand why you care so much about social work and how you want to make a difference.