I would appreciate feedback on my letter of intent for my application for a MSW. This is a very rough draft but my head has been in it for so long I need feedback from someone else. In the following I will post the essay instructions, followed by my rough draft. I specifically need to know if I have satisfactorily met the requirements of the essay, and which points I need to expand on. All feedback is welcome. Thanks
Instructions: Please prepare a statement of no more than 3 double-spaced pages. In your statement, address the following
1. Why have you chosen social work as a profession? What social values and beliefs inform your interest in
social work? In what areas do you see the MSW Program helping you to grow?
2. Discuss a social problem that is significant to you and why.
3. Please discuss your experience(s) with diverse individuals and/or communities. (Differences can include
age, social location, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation, etc.)
How have these experiences:
Shaped your identity and self-awareness
Broadened your understanding of the role of social work in society
Influenced your understanding of and commitment to social justice
Social work aims at attuning and guiding individuals to a sense of security and safety; inevitably a sense of purpose presents itself, as well. I appreciate Mark Twain's words about purpose: "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you figure out why". This quote resonates with my life as I have experienced barriers to a positive quality of life; drug use, its effects on families, abusive relationships and various types of hardships.
My struggles are like so many others and therefore I offer empathy naturally: making my knowledge valuable. Yet, what sets me apart from others is the solid direction of my family. They were not deterred by my choices but allowed me the freedom to understand life from the aspect of my decisions.
It is within this experience I identify with social work: the individual is allowed to make their own choices and the social worker guides her while remaining a solid, nonjudgmental reinforcement. In this way I ensure a relationship with my client that communicates the client's worth and dignity. The gift of relationship, worth and dignity transcend all situations and circumstances and allow the client to comprehend herself as something unique.
The Masters of Social Work Program equips me with the tools to guide clients to places of security and safety. It gives me the education I desire to make an impact on an individual who yearns for connection, worth, and dignity. It is within the confines of this program that would allow me to expand what I know about people and apply it to the difference I am making in this world.
During my employment with the XXX I have witnessed the impact I have on the young lives there. Broken families, drug abuse, and anxieties are universal qualities within each of these youth's lives. Most of these young men come from broken families, drug using parents, and scarce resources. Yet, their deepest longing is for connection: a relationship.
A relationship with these young men alter their sense of their community and themselves. They are able to trust, listen, and thrive when they consider my belief in them. There is no other remedy more powerful than the impact of a connection; especially with those who have none.
The XXX and my work with the youth has opened my eyes to the challenges they and their families face. Many of the young men come from families with mental health issues and they, themselves, are challenged by mental health matters and/or the repercussions of these issues. Their resources are slim and their future is greatly challenged.
I spend a great amount of time with these young men, as they live and develop in this facility. Within these intimate moments of their lives I have become accustom to lifestyles of young men within a diverse population. These twelve to twenty-four year old men classify themselves as bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, Hispanic, African American, Native American, Bi-polar, ADHD, Schizophrenic, addicted, homeless, a member of a gang, etc.. Yet, the labels they create for themselves say little about their desires and characteristics.
Social work understands what a label communicates to our community but does not use that label as a stereotypical identification of him. Social workers comprehend the power and limitations of a label and seeks to perceive him from all angles of his life: family, development, education, interpersonal beliefs, and mental health issues, just to name a few.
These young men have a difficult road ahead of them. During their transitions I discuss with them the options available to them. Some of the discussions are centered on the way in which society will view them.
The main problem that I see with your letter of intent is that you have a generalized rather than centralized take on the problem that you wish to make an impact upon. Granted that your exposure to these diverse communities through XXX has exposed you to their multifaceted world of problems, surely that is one problem in particular that afflicts their community which you believe you can help them resolve. The best approach to that part of the essay would be to draw upon your personal experience with one of the boys you worked with in particular. Choose the boy whom you saw change before your very eyes. What his situation? How did you help him resolve it? What is he like as a member of society today? Those are factors that you have to consider when looking for the cause that is close to your heart and your desire to help those who are immersed in the situation. Don't generalize the problems of their community as you have done so now. It is important that you show an empathy for a very specific problem in order to create a driving force and purpose for your desire to complete these masters studies. Your conclusion should be filled with hope and plans for the future regarding the cause you are aiming to help resolve. Anything from individualized care as their SW officer or as the head of a foundation set up to help them through their rough patches, projects such as these will help you present yourself as a focused individual with a solid desire to help those whom at this point, cannot help themselves.