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Application Essay

Please upload your application essay.

MSW Program Application Essay Guidelines
The application essay provides faculty with insight and understanding of you, your interests, and goals. Please respond to EACH of the following questions as you develop your essay.

HUSSW Mission Statement
University School of Social Work is committed to educating advanced social work practitioners and future leaders for the purpose of enhancing human, organizational, social, and economic conditions which impact the quality of life of African Americans, other people of color, and people throughout the world. Consistent with the mission of University, the School of Social Work is dedicated to the pursuit and advancement of knowledge through discovery, research, partnership, innovative practices, and other scholarly and educational endeavors of its faculty, students, and graduates. The School of Social Work places a high priority on advocacy for social justice and commitment to life-long learning through community service, international linkages, public policy and utilization of technology. The School’s mission is an expression of the Black Perspective which evolved from the experiences of African Americans and African people throughout the Diaspora.

1. Which experiences (employment, community service, social, educational, personal or others) have significantly influenced your interest in social work?

2. Once you graduate, what are your career goals? How do you envision your field of practice influencing the outcome?

3. The profession of social work provides support to the most vulnerable populations. Classroom topics can be emotionally triggering for students. What strategies would you use to manage your own emotions, and to respond to the emotional reactions of others during challenging conversations?

4. Provide a candid discussion of your strengths and weaknesses. Which qualities do you consider essential for the social work profession?

5. Discuss what you consider to be the most important social justice issue(s) today. What is the role of a social worker within the social justice movement?

6. Read carefully the Mission Statement above. How will your interests and career goals be met at the University School of Social Work?

7. First year students are not guaranteed funding from Howard University. State specifically your plan for financing your education.

Please upload your personal essay.


The Autobiographical Sketch
The purpose of this section is twofold: to get to know you as an individual and your journey toward the social work profession and to evaluate your writing skills. This is a sample guideline; I Goggled the article below, you may choose to write using a different outline or style. The choice is yours. I look forward to reading your application – Sandra Gammons, LGSW Director of Admissions& Enrollment Management

A traditional autobiography may be hundreds of pages and can cover dozens of mundane interactions in minute detail. A graduate school autobiographical essay, however, should be much shorter and to the point, highlighting achievements and life events that are relevant to your studies or display an important aspect of your character.1

Grabbing Their Attention
You need to grab the attention of your readers in the first sentence or two, so steer clear of platitudes, truisms or statements any student could make such as, “XYZ school is the school of my dreams.” Instead, try telling a compelling story, introducing an interesting quote or presenting the ideas of a philosopher, writer or politician. The theme in this hook should tie into your essay in some way. If, for example, you’re applying to grad school in political science, you might introduce a quote from Thomas Jefferson or present a scene rife with political conflict.

The Thesis Statement
Because you’re not writing an argumentative paper, it’s easy to forget the importance of a thesis statement. A thesis helps define the scope of your autobiographical essay and makes it easier for you to remain focused on your primary point. Try a thesis such as, “My life experiences have prepared me for graduate school by….” or “I know that I can contribute to the XYZ school community because…” Sometimes the thesis in these essays actually fits better at the end, as a conclusion, but it’s typically easiest to put the thesis at the end of the first paragraph.

Elements to Include
Outline relevant information that’s not already in your application packet. You might mention charitable work, any hardships you’ve overcome, lessons you’ve learned in your job or ways your life has caused you to choose a particular career path.

Completing the Essay
Meticulous proofreading can save you the embarrassment of a typo or misspelling, so read through your essay several times and have another person do the same. Conclude your essay by thanking your readers for their attention, emphasizing the ways in which the ideas you’ve outlined make you an ideal fit for the school you’ve chosen and — if appropriate and if space permits — including a brief sentence or two about why you’re excited to attend the school you’ve chosen.

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