A bad social work personal statement can ruin your chances of gaining admission to a UK university to pursue a social work degree programme.
It can make or break your application so you need to make it perfect!
Research shows that a common problem with writing social work personal statements is poor structure and failure to highlight relevant skills/experience. So,
What is a Social Work Personal Statement?
A social work personal statement entails writing a personal essay about yourself, educational, and career goals.
Your social work personal statement should include experiences and anything else relevant to application for admission into a social work programme.
The statement is part of a larger, more comprehensive application requirement.
Therefore, a social worker uses the personal statement to communicate to the admission board.
The social work personal statement for university admission is a chance for you to explain why you want to study social work, your experience and skills that show you will commit to the programme.
In the UK, when applying for a place at a university to study social work, you submit your personal statement alongside the university application via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
How Should I Structure my Social Work Personal Statement?
Your personal statement should follow a methodical structure where there is a flow in your presentation.
You can use headings to break up the text in each section if you prefer.
Paragraphs should follow seamlessly using the following structure.
- Middle Content
What Should a Social Work Personal Statement Include?
A social work, personal statement should contain the standard application information such as;
- Your name
- Contact number
- Relevant qualifications
- Standardised test scores
- Any information on a higher education taster course that you may have taken part in
- Personal circumstances that may have affected your educational performance.
- Whether you encountered any financial hardships during your studies or whether you received a bursary to cover the cost of your education
- Clubs and societies that you belong to which may sport or creative, etc
- Reasons for applying for social work and include any of your ambitions and interests
- Employment experiences or any volunteering work that you may have done.
- Why you are suitable or deserve a place i.e. this may be due to experience gained from work or achievements on work.
- Any skills and qualities that you may have – include essential social work skills such as organisation, communication, critical thinking, time management and multi-tasking.
- Your preparation – highlight courses you may have taken to prepare you for the social work programme.
- Add any volunteering work you may have done to prepare for your application.
- Give examples where possible to evidence relevant skills and knowledge that will enable you to make an impact in the social work department.
What Should you Put on a Personal Statement?
A personal statement summarises who you are and therefore it should have your strengths and any relevant work experience.
A personal statement should include the education you’ve got and any skills that you may have gained.
The skills gained may be teamwork, time management, or organisational skills.
Include hobbies and interests that show skills relevant to what you are applying for e.g. being a team leader in a care home shows leadership skills.
How Do You Introduce Yourself in a Personal Statement?
A perfect introduction on a personal statement is one that helps your reader to learn essential details about you.
When writing the introduction part of your social worker’s personal statement, ensure the section portrays a positive image of yourself.
Your introduction should be enthusiastic and should highlight why you want to pursue a social work degree programme.
Otherwise, the reader may not be interested to read further if there is any negativity in the introduction.
Therefore, while introducing yourself in a personal statement,
- Explain who you are
- What you do, and all the positive information the reader needs to know about you.
- Be logical and use brief paragraphs.
- Be succinct and clear.
What Should You Put in the Middle Paragraphs of a Personal Statement
Your middle paragraphs should be engaging.
Go in-depth about yourself, your experiences and aspirations.
These may include:
- Any of your own experience with social work.
- Any volunteering experience or relevant work in social work
- A summary of why you are interested in social work
- Mention the precise area of interest within social work you want to pursue example children or adult.
- Include your career aspirations
- Any reasons you think you will perform well in the social work program.
- Why you choose social work program
- Your strengths
- Whether you understand the demands, a career in social work will put in your life and emotions.
- How you plan on managing such demands.
Do not forget to mention why the program is right for you and how you intend to use skills learnt from it in the future.
What Should You Put in the Conclusion of a Personal Statement?
So how do you end a social work personal statement?
The conclusion of your personal statement should;
- Concentrate on the fundamental idea in a brief style.
- It should have the summary of the key ideas in short form and your plans.
- Brief and remember to summarise why you are the ideal candidate.
- Overall, aim for three or five paragraphs.
- Thank the admission team for considering your application and bring it to a close.
What Not to Talk About in a Personal statement.
- Any personal exploits which may be unrelated to your educational and professional goals should not be in the personal statement. This is because they may shine an unflattering light on you.
- You should not include the application information in the personal statement. This is to avoid a repetition of answers requested on application forms.
- Don’t lie or exaggerate in a personal statement because they may discover the falsifications during the interview process.
- Don’t complain about past educational experiences or circumstances that have caused difficulties. This is because evaluators are likely to respond to positive personal statements.
- Avoid irrelevant digression in your personal statement since it’s an opportunity to write about your educational and professional goals.
- Avoid mentioning other people – this means you should only focus on yourself and not what others who may have worked with have achieved.
Top Tips For Writing a Strong Personal Statement
1. Stay focused while writing the personal statement
You should keep in mind the core purpose of the personal statement.
The personal statement should just provide information to help others understand who you are.
2. Structure your personal statement
A personal statement with too much text makes a reader bored, and a little one makes you look lazy.
Your paragraphs should also flow effortlessly and logically.
3. Be original
Be creative and detailed in your personal statement without losing focus to avoid stereotyped sentences.
4. Think of what you want to gain
Linking your ambitions towards what you want to gain shows your drive and passion and also ensures your application is unique.
5. Be positive
You should talk positively about the course and yourself.
This will help in conveying your passion and enthusiasm.
6. Proofread your personal statement
Proofreading your work is a vital last step because you correct spelling and grammatical errors.
Asking help from friends and family members will help.
This is because a sloppy personal statement may cost you your place for admission.
Draft your personal statement and ask a family member or friend to proofread it.
7. Give yourself plenty of time
Try to give yourself ample time for writing your social work personal statement.
If your reader identifies an unstructured, poorly constructed personal statement, it will immediately put you at a disadvantage.
That is why giving yourself time to proofread is important to avoid mistakes.
In addition, familiarise yourself with what you’ve written before any interviews.
Tips To Write a Killer Personal Statement
- Give yourself enough time
- Organise your thoughts so that you have a plan before you write the personal statement.
- Know what they expect of you
- Don’t use the same personal statement for every university application – you may have the same interview panel!
- Let our personality shine through the application by making your personal statement interesting
- Show genuine interest and passion in your application as this is the key to standing out
- Tell them the reasons they should choose you by presenting yourself in a positive light.
- Use excellent grammar and punctuation
- Proofread your writing
- Use a professional tone of voice
- Be clear
What is the Good Length for a Personal Statement
Before writing your personal statement, check the application guidelines for word count.
If they don’t specify the word count, keep it short between 250-500 words, which is equivalent to one side of A4.
Some universities require two sides of the A4, which is 500-900 words.
By following all the above tips your social work personal statement will surely stand out among all the others.
You should include the standard application information and an overview of who you are in the social work personal statement.
Demonstrable interest in social work practice, perhaps including some references of books you have read.
Evidence your commitment, skills and desire to pursue a social work degree qualification.
An excellent social work personal statement will create a positive impression.
It will help you show the admissions board that you are right for the social work course.
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