College of Health Sciences and Human Services


MSW Personal Statement

Guidelines for preparing the Social Work Interest and Background Statement also known as a Personal Statement

The MSW Admissions Committee is interested in knowing more about you. Your response to the questions below will help the reviewers better understand your background, interests, goals, and suitability for the MSW program. Please take time to examine these questions and critically reflect on your experiences within the context of social work practice. Two to three paragraphs are expected for each question with a complete statement of five to seven pages (12 pt font and double spaced).

Factors to be considered in the evaluation of applicants' statement:

  • Personal qualities such as the capacity for self-awareness, maturity, genuine interest in addressing social problems and helping people in need, respect for human dignity, sensitivity, and responsiveness in relationships, openness to cultural and ethnic diversity, the potential for cultural humility, commitment to promoting social and economic justice, and work ethic.
  • Potential for professional competence; genuine interest in and a strong commitment to the social work profession.
  • Strong academic commitment to perform successfully in the MSW program.
  • An ability to engage in abstract reasoning, to think analytically and conceptually, to demonstrate critical thinking skills, and to formulate well-reasoned mature judgments.
  • Strong writing skills- the statement is cohesive, clear, well-organized, free of grammatical errors, and formatted correctly.

Questions to be answered in paragraph form to build a personal statement

  1. What does social work mean to you? Why do you want to be a social worker? When you think about yourself as a professional social worker, what do you see as your strengths and areas for development?
  2. How have your personal background and experiences, and your undergraduate academic work prepared you for a career in social work?
  3. Describe how your personal experiences with diverse populations have contributed to your interest and readiness for social work practice. What were you taught from your family of origin about people different from yourself? What have you chosen to keep and what have you chosen to discard from this learning as you have developed your own current personal values and beliefs about people racially or ethnically different from yourself?
  4. Describe a specific experience (personal or work-related) that raised ethical, legal, or value-related issues. Discuss your thoughts, underlying values, and what steps you took to resolve the situation.
  5. How have you been engaged in advocating and promoting social and economic justice? Please provide an example. What kind of unmet needs did you observe? Did you try to tackle these unmet needs? What worked, what did not, and why? What would you do differently?
  6. Tell us the ways you are connected to your community. What do you expect to give back to your community following the completion of your MSW degree?
  7. Why is the MSW program at CSUMB a good fit for your academic and career goals? What knowledge and skills are you hoping to gain by attending our MSW program (e.g. Practice, policy, research, clinical, advocacy, etc.?).
  8. Additionally, what are your strategies for success in graduate school? The social work program is rigorous, requiring 60 units of coursework and 960 hours (16 hours a week for 4 semesters) of field internships at human services agencies. How will you meet these challenges? How will you juggle the educational demands and other responsibilities in your life?

PPSC: School Social Work & Child Welfare Attendance Applicants - be certain to incorporate the following in your personal statement

  1. Tell us about your interest in school social work and your long-term career goals.
  2. Please describe your professional experience in a K-12 setting.
  3. Reflecting on your personal K-12 experience, what was the relationship that your family had with your school? What were the messages you received at school early on?
  4. Touch upon your personal and/or professional experiences with English Learners (ELs), Migrant students, and students with disabilities. Please share your experience with all three groups.