M.S.W. Essay Questions


The NASW Code of Ethics (2008) states that service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity and competence are the core values of the social work profession. Faculty will be evaluating your response for content and the quality and organization of your writing.

Please answer each of the following questions separately. The essays as a group should not exceed 8-10 pages, double-spaced.

  1. Discuss your educational history (undergraduate and/or post undergraduate) and the ways in which it has prepared you for graduate education in clinical social work. What are your academic strengths? What are areas you can identify for further growth?
  2. The capacity to understand the experience and perspectives of other individuals or groups and use this empathic connection as a basis for productive professional relationships is a necessary component of effective social work practice. Describe a significant interpersonal interaction you have experienced in an academic, volunteer, or work setting. Discuss your interaction and the ways in which your actions reflect your capacity to work empathically and effectively.
  3. The capacity for self-reflection and self-management in situations that challenge one’s values and beliefs is a necessary component of a professional social work practice that supports the dignity and worth of others. Describe an experience you have had in an academic, volunteer or professional setting that required you to demonstrate the capacity for self-reflection and self-management in a role that placed you in service to others.
  4. Social workers are called to enhance the well-being of populations that are vulnerable, face forces of historical and structural oppression, and live in poverty. Describe any experiences you have had serving members of such populations or addressing issues pertaining to such populations. Discuss what you learned about yourself, others, and society from those experiences.
  5. The Smith MSW programs offers a single concentration: clinical social work, which prepares students to address the biopsychosocial needs of individuals, families, couples, and groups affected by life changes and challenges. Why do you believe that the Smith MSW program is a good fit for you? What skills and attributes do you bring to clinical social work?

 Please be sure to put your name on your essay questions.