Graduate education and advanced social work practice 5
his submission requirement is an academic essay which helps the admissions committee to evaluate your capacity and readiness for graduate education and advanced social work practice.
The admissions essay is a critical part of your admission application and will be the basis for evaluation of your writing and critical thinking skills and your capacity for self-awareness and personal growth. Be sure to include all required elements in an academic essay, using academic sources where appropriate (your ability to use and cite appropriate sources is an indicator of critical thinking) and follow APA style. (Here is a website that may be useful as you prepare your essay: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/10/). While some personal information is required in the essay (e.g., your strengths), you should be judicious in the use of self-disclosure. You are not expected to disclose intimate details of your life; however, if you choose to do so, you should do so only briefly and make it clear how the issue has been resolved so that you may now succeed in the program and the profession.
The maximum length of the entire essay is no more than five pages (12 pt-font, double spaced, title page does not count towards page limit). This is not short answer and should not be bullet-pointed; you should arrange the required information in a coherent, well-structured essay.
Your essay should incorporate the following information: (a) the alignment of your personal philosophy and values with that of the profession (b) your understanding of diversity and social justice; (c) your professional experiences; (d) your career plans and focus in the field of social work versus another helping profession (i.e., why social work?); (e) your strengths and weaknesses that are relevant to the social work profession; (f) describe a time you were given critical feedback; what was your reaction?; (g) how the MSU Denver MSW program is best suited for your educational and professional goals; and (h) how you will manage the rigorous demands of graduate education. The arrangement of this information is up to you; all must be addressed but the order in which you do so should be guided by your writing style. Overall, we are looking that you understand the profession, are committed to it, and are ready for graduate-level work.
Due to the large number of applications the MSW Program receives, we regrettably cannot provide feedback on your admissions essay prior to submission.
You must proofread your paper. But do not strictly rely on your computer’s spell-checker and grammar-checker; failure to do so indicates a lack of effort on your part and you can expect your grade to suffer accordingly. Papers with numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes will be penalized. Read over your paper – in silence and then aloud – before handing it in and make corrections as necessary. Often it is advantageous to have a friend proofread your paper for obvious errors. Handwritten corrections are preferable to uncorrected mistakes.
Use a standard 10 to 12 point (10 to 12 characters per inch) typeface. Smaller or compressed type and papers with small margins or single-spacing are hard to read. It is better to let your essay run over the recommended number of pages than to try to compress it into fewer pages.
Likewise, large type, large margins, large indentations, triple-spacing, increased leading (space between lines), increased kerning (space between letters), and any other such attempts at “padding” to increase the length of a paper are unacceptable, wasteful of trees, and will not fool your professor.
The paper must be neatly formatted, double-spaced with a one-inch margin on the top, bottom, and sides of each page. When submitting hard copy, be sure to use white paper and print out using dark ink. If it is hard to read your essay, it will also be hard to follow your argument
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