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Family and Social Services MSW Applicant Statement of Purpose Sample

I hope to attend the MSW Program at XXXX for a variety of reasons including the location, where I would have the full support of family and my developing networks of colleagues and like-minded people also interested in the challenges that we face in Social Work here in California - where I was born and raised. This local support base will enable me to give my all 24/7 to the fullest immersion experience possible in Social Work as a graduate student. I am also extremely attracted to the creative and rigorous character of your program.

I hope to be selected as a mixed-race applicant, half African-American and half Mexican-American, and someone who faced numerous challenges growing up as a child of a single mother living in poverty. For this reason, I look forward to a long lifetime of helping many of America’s neediest children and families, with a focus on the enormous struggle faced by minorities in urban settings. I could not be more fully convinced that this is what will bring me the greatest joy and professional sense of fulfillment, serving as a helping hand to those left behind or at risk, those most in need of my help, those that have ‘fallen through the cracks’. I have especially enjoyed learning Spanish in school since much of my own heritage is Latina and the fact that people who speak mostly Spanish make up an enormous and steadily increasing share of those in need of social work services, especially in large urban areas here in California. I actively seek out opportunities to practice my Spanish and it is improving rapidly, but I do not yet consider myself fluent.

I long to contribute to society and feel very strongly that the greatest contribution that I could make would be to help the members of our society that are most vulnerable, at risk.  I wish to provide healing and serve as a source of hope, for one client at a time. I am especially engaged with the subject of human trafficking and particularly highly motivated to help victims of this most insidious of evils that remains entrenched worldwide, including the US. I look forward to a lifetime of engagement with this issue, serving as an advocate for victims of human trafficking and the progressive enhancement of our legal systems to address this issue in the future.

I hope to earn my MSW Degree in preparation for becoming a social worker for LA County’s Department of Family and Social Services. In this capacity, I plan to become a LCSW and to make constant progress in the department, giving my all, and advancing to the level of a Human Trafficking Social Work Manager.  My foremost inspiration for seeking a career in Social Work Counseling is my own positive experience with a social worker. In 2008, sitting on a maroon, tear-stained couch, across from a lady I had only known for a few minutes, I found myself pouring out my life story and my very soul at the tender age of only 14. I was suffering from depression and anxiety and didn't know how to cope with all that life was throwing at me. My counselor helped me to turn my life around and to overcome the depression and anxiety just when I needed this help the most, in my most formative and at-risk period in life. This was such a watershed experience for me that it became determinative in my choice of career. I want to make a similar kind of contribution to others on a professional level. Now, at 24, I am able to look back thankfully and most fondly to my counselor who set me on course at 14. She is the one who planted the seed and helped me to blossom, subsequently inspiring me to want to save others as well at critical points in their lives before they hit rock bottom. This lady empowered me to achieve a much more positive outlook on life, my family, and my future. If I hadn’t went to therapy to learn the tools to combat what was happening in my head on a daily basis, I may not have been inspired to become a social worker and decide to dedicate my life to wanting to help the vulnerable and disadvantaged. I appreciated the fact that a complete stranger cared enough to want to help me, be my advocate, and give me a full chance in life.

When I am not studying and giving my all to my professional position, I intend to give most of my time to my volunteer efforts. I already have significant amounts of experience as a volunteer and I look forward to continuing for a lifetime. As a volunteer with the Safe Routes to School Program National Partnership, for example, I assisted students by providing appropriate modeling, emotional support, a positive attitude, and general guidance; communicating student behavior, needs and progress with teachers and staff. I have delivered food to the elderly and disabled with Meals on Wheels Long Beach and recycled and organized trash pickups for Keep America Beautiful: Great American Clean Up. Setting up various booths for March of Dimes Walks, I registering runners and walkers alike. At El Caldito Soup Kitchen, I have helped to serve the hungry of the greater Las Cruces area with food, dessert, and also providing hygiene necessities. For Race Against Cancer, I organized and handed out shirts, prepared goodie bags, assisted runners with finding their bib numbers, and greeted participants with smiles, answering questions and providing race information. Finally, at the New Mexico Mission of Mercy, I registered volunteers as well as participants who needed dental care.

I grew up in poverty and it shaped my life; I know how grueling, demanding, and generally unforgiving it can be. The flip side of this, however, is that I also have vast experience in how poor people can be very resilient even relentless, never losing hope. I watched my mother struggle for many years to provide a better life for my sisters and I. Being a witness to her struggles helped me to understand the multifaceted aspects of human behavior during times of hunger, want, and when one if forced to struggle merely to survive. Thus, I see my childhood and adolescence as having given me much more than they have taken from me. I learned the importance of giving when you can and accepting help when you need it most.

MSW Statement on Left Continued

In my current position as an Intermediate Clerk for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, I work with people from all different walks of life. I remember what it was like sitting in the welfare office all day waiting and desperately needing help. To now come full circle and be the one providing the help is most fulfilling. I have experience working with children of different ages and my professional focus is centered on the wellbeing of young people. For a long time, I thought about becoming a teacher but soon began to crave a more personal, targeted impact on young people with special social and emotional needs, those who are at-risk; thus, social work. My desire to become a social worker is ground in my teaching experience, however, as a tutor at Hillside Elementary and Mountain View School Districts, both set in poverty-stricken communities. Here, with these disadvantaged children, I felt that I was able to make a significant improvement in their lives on a daily basis and making an enduring impression that would continue to inspire them. I would like to teach children and families alike that with the right choices, they have the power to live truly happy and fulfilling lives and make important contributions to their communities.

I feel that I am a good fit with the MSW Program at XXXX because of your declared mission to “address social problems.” By completing your program my problem-solving skills will grow enormously and I will become increasingly adept at working with people as a result of developing broader and more sophisticated perspectives on life, always practicing and cultivating empathy and compassion and learning how to be a good listener. Earning the MSW will be challenging, and I will always need to remember to maintain my own self-care as a priority for that is the foundation of all. Although challenges are sure to arise, every challenge comes with the chance to overcome and ultimately strengthen your personal growth. It is through challenging times that I believe that we are able to truly become who it is we were meant to be. A full immersion experience in Social Work theories, methodologies, and issues will help me to locate myself at my most productive center and focus on making my maximum lifetime contribution to Social Work. As an undergraduate student I was on the soccer team and this helped me early on to refine my time management skills, studying, working, and playing soccer all at the same time. My family is also very supportive of my dedication to earning a graduate degree and now is a very good time for me to return to school. 

I especially adore what I have done so far in preparation for my career as a social worker, serving as a mentor to children, almost all little Latinos, helping me to discover and savor what is for me an increasingly powerful and prominent aspect of my own racial identity.  I have found nothing that excites me as much as teaching children from low socio-economic backgrounds to learn how to read, write, and develop basic math - as well as social - skills. At Hillside Elementary in Las Cruces, I fell in love with teaching, mentoring, and ultimately helping at-risk children to be safe and to go on to live richer and fuller lives - on an everyday basis. The populations that I currently work with are disadvantaged teenage adolescents and adults from 18 to 80 years of age. I am proud of the fact that my current professional position entails assisting applicants and participants receiving public assistance, completing documents for Cal Fresh, Cal Works and/or Medi-Cal, etc. I see the difference that this support makes up close in the eyes of the children, driving my passion to do more in the future as an MSW professional.

One example of an ethical conflict that I have faced is when I was working as substitute instructional aide with the Head Start Program. Parents often helped out in the classrooms and I noticed one parent stealing craft supplies (from her own child’s classroom). This presented a dilemma since she was, after all, a volunteer and perhaps saw this as just compensation. After further reflection, however, I realized that what she was simply taking was needed by the children in the classroom; thus, I reported her to the teacher. The parent in question no longer came to the classroom, and she was missed, but I still feel that I made the right decision.

These days, in my free time, I increasingly find myself reading about NGOs that primarily work to prevent human trafficking, advocate against it, and bring awareness to this international epidemic. I plan to continue to cultivate this special interest as a graduate student. I want to engage with this area, helping victims to recover and get their lives back on track to the extent to which this is possible, helping them to set the stage for a lifetime of healing.

I thank you for considering my application to Social Work at XXXX.


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