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Writing a personal statement for social work? We asked social work admissions tutors how you can convince them that you are right for the course.

Social work personal statement basics

According to one of the top online social work tutors, Thiago, talking about your personality should not be the dominant feature of your personal statement. The way you reflect on your experiences, skills, and prior reading, as well as how you understand social work, will tell you whether you are sufficiently well-prepared.

One of the hardest things to do is to convince someone that you’re an excellent candidate. From mid October to May of every academic year, there is no question that a great deal of skepticism pervades many admissions offices at many universities. To make a great impression on admissions tutors, students should show passion, enthusiasm, intelligence, and interest in their subject. How can you make yourself seem different from the rest? Here are some key points to consider.

First things first, honesty. Staying true to what you know is much more effective than trying to embellish a lie. Whenever you write about something in which you are genuinely interested, it reflects that. I recommend reading over your answers and thinking, ‘Would I really believe what I am reading?’’’ A genuine interest and the ability to talk about what you love, regardless of the subject, is always going to be the most engaging.

The second point is structure. As obvious as it may seem, it is a common mistake to begin writing a personal statement without planning it beforehand. 

Last but not least, be meticulously careful with your spelling, grammar, and other elements of your statement. Misplaced apostrophes and uses of the wrong form of “your” and “you’re” automatically put you on the scrap heap.

Spires online tutors have provided some extra tips. It will not be possible to cover all of these things, but they will help you focus your application, or can show you how to strengthen it.

Your knowledge of social work

  • As you write your statement, make sure you demonstrate a thorough understanding of social work and the skills, knowledge, and experience you bring to it.
  • Those who are interested in literature would probably benefit from discussing what they’ve learned from relevant books, magazines, websites, documentaries, or social issues reported in the media rather than popular literature.
  • Talking to students and tutors at university open days will give you an insight into the course.
  • If you’re older and an applicant who’s interested in the degree, you’re welcome to mention personal experiences that shaped your interest. However, be prepared to talk about them openly during an interview.
  • Consider issues that span the entire spectrum of society, including the elderly, rather than just focusing on a narrow or specialist area of social work.

Relevant work and extra-curricular experience

  • You can gain experience in support programs by taking part in care homes, community schemes, youth clubs, play schemes, after-school clubs, nurseries, mentoring, anti-bullying initiatives, or by working with the elderly or disabled.
  • It is imperative that you show what you learned from your experience and how it has helped you develop the skills or qualities needed.
  • Reflect on what recent developments have impacted social workers’ work by asking them about their work and what they like about it.
  • You could also consider the transferrable skills you have developed through employment or extracurricular activities.

The right skills and qualities for social work

  • Show you are resilient and capable of analysing situations critically.
  • As well as being able to demonstrate non-discriminatory behavior, you should demonstrate an understanding of disadvantage in society.
  • If it’s relevant to you, please also take the time to reflect on what your academic learning has taught you about social work, or any appropriate skills you have gained.
  • Identify solid examples of how you’ve demonstrated your skills, in particular if those skills relate to social work, such as organization, dedication, motivation, and the ability to collaborate with others.
  • Don’t rely on clichés – demonstrate your passion for helping others beyond saying that you are a people person by describing how you do it. You must work objectively within professional boundaries to succeed in this career.