Step 4 – Program Application
After submitting the graduate admission application (Step 1), you will complete the Social Work program application. You can access the program application by logging into your application account, clicking “View Application” and selecting the “Social Work Online Program” orange link in the left menu. The program application includes the following elements:
A personal essay
Your personal essay will address how your experiences, perspective and distinguishable qualities can positively contribute to the Master of Social Work program and the field of social work. Your essay should reflect your best professional writing. You need to answer all three (3) prompts below in no more than six (6) double-spaced pages with 1-inch margins on all sides. You must begin each section of your essay with the required heading. Your essay will assist the Admissions Committee in evaluating your capacity and readiness for graduate social work education. In essence, this is an opportunity for the Admissions Committee to get to know more about you and your previous experience and why you want to pursue an MSW.
Your essay must follow the format provided below.
Heading for section 1: Pursuing an MSW
What has led you to seek a graduate degree in social work? Why do you want to be a social worker? How have your personal experiences, including education, work and/or volunteering contributed to this desire? What specifically led you to apply to a social work program rather than programs for other helping professionals such as psychology, counseling or healthcare? Do you have specific career goals within social work? (1-2 pages).
Additional question for Advanced Standing students ONLY: How has your BSW education prepared you for graduate work and influenced your decision to pursue your graduate degree?
Heading for section 2: Case Review
Read the following case study and reflect on your personal beliefs and values. Write a short essay (1-2 pages) using the questions that are provided as a guide.
You are a social worker in a community health clinic and you will be seeing a new client today, named River, who is 52 years old and lives with their long-time partner. The clinic where you work serves people who are uninsured and come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. It is a common part of your job to give out bus passes, referrals to the food bank, and help your client navigate the application process for various needs-based programs, such as food stamps. River has set up this appointment to address some of these tasks, but the doctor at the clinic felt they would benefit from counseling as well, as they have been experiencing some depressive symptoms. As you begin the meeting with River, they note to you that the intake forms that they completed prior to your visit only included binary gender options (i.e. female/male), and River identifies as genderqueer. They found this troubling and non-inclusive, especially for a clinic that seeks to serve a wide range of underserved populations.
- How might you address River’s concern during the session? After the session? What values and ethics guide your decisions?
- What issues of difference and diversity were raised for you? How do your personal philosophy, values and worldview align with social work as it relates to diversity and difference? How will you approach human differences as a practicing social worker?
- After reviewing the Code of Ethics, discuss the professional values and ethics that would be applicable for this case.
Heading for section 3: Social Issue
Pick a social issue where you have a strong opinion, such as abortion, marital equality for the LGBTQ+ community or the Black Lives Matter movement. In two sentences identify the issue and your opinion. Next, imagine you are leading a group with another clinician from your agency. After the group ends, while clients are still in the room, the other clinician expresses their opinion about the issue. Their opinion is exactly opposite yours, and the clinician finishes by denigrating people who hold the opposite opinion. In a brief essay (1-2 pages), explain what you would say or do? Why?
A Current Resume
While you are in the online admissions application, you will be asked to upload your resume or CV. The document must include any paid or unpaid social work experience – including volunteering – shown in chronological order, with the most recent activity listed first. We recommend you compose your resume as if you are applying for a position in social work.
List each paid or unpaid social work experience. Include the following details:
- Agency/Company name
- City and State where Agency/Company is located
- Start and End dates (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Position title
- Major responsibilities of this position
Answering a question about the NASW Code of Ethics
The NASW Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the professional conduct of social workers.
In the online application, we ask for a confirmation that you have read the NASW Code of Ethics and are aware that violation of the code may result in the termination from the program.
Signed and notarized disclosure form
At the time you are in the online admissions application, you will be asked to upload a signed and notarized form covering criminal and substantiated abuse history, verification of candor and accuracy, and licensing certification and program disclosure. The form is available for download below.
Download Form (pdf)
Licensing Certification and Program Disclosure
If you answer “Yes” to certain questions within the Licensing Certification and Professional Program History Disclosure portion of the form you are also required to upload additional documentation. Detailed instructions for this documentation is available within the form.
A “Yes” answer to question(s) on the Licensing Certification and Professional Program History Disclosure form does not necessarily mean you will be denied admission to the School of Social Work program. Additional documentation and/or information may be requested if the submission with your application is deemed insufficient.
Criminal and Substantiated Abuse History Disclosure
If you answer “Yes” to any of the questions within the Criminal and Substantiated Abuse History Disclosure section of the form, you are also required to upload a separate statement with complete information with respect to all circumstances and the final result, if such has been reached. You must submit a complete narrative of the circumstances that occurred for each and every criminal action, conviction, plea-in-abeyance and/or deferred sentence, including the year of disposition, and also an explanation of your plans to cope with potential post-MSW limitations on your practice of social work. You must also enclose copies of all applicable police report(s), court record(s), and probation/parole officer report(s). If you are unable to obtain any of the required records, you must submit documentation on official letterhead from the police department and/or court indicating that the documentation is no longer available.
A “Yes” answer to question(s) on the Criminal and Substantiated Abuse History Disclosure portion of the form does not necessarily mean you will be denied admission to the School of Social Work program. Additional documentation and/or information may be requested if the submission with your application is deemed insufficient.
Applicant’s Verification of Candor and Accuracy
The Applicant’s Verification of Candor and Accuracy portion of the form verifies that your application is a complete and accurate representation of your application materials.
For additional support accessing the form, locating a notary or uploading the signed and notarized form to your application, contact a Student Success Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208)426-5921.