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Merit-Based Scholarship Application in Social Work

January 3, 2013

The prospect of attending the XXXX School of Social Work is incredibly exciting for me, my family, and the professionals who have given support in all of my educational and volunteer endeavors.  However, the realities of financial ability are all-too-real for my family and me.  Upon being accepted to XXXX, I entered into a discussion with my parents about financial aid and concluded that I would need significant aid due to my mother and father’s immediate obligations to my brothers and sisters who also are in higher education.  When contacting XXXX regarding financial aid, we were shocked to discover an oversight, namely, my not having checked a box on my application materials to be considered for merit-based scholarships.  Speaking with one of your Committee members, we were encouraged to provide the following narrative for your consideration.

 From the time I was very young, I have understood the importance of giving all I am to education, and this is evident in my scholastic performance.  Growing up with a brother who suffered from ADHD, I was sympathetic to his own struggles with education and this laid a foundation for the work I was to be involved in, but more than this my passion for helping others at all costs.  To my mind, though, practical experiences, especially those that I have actively sought out, procured and brought to fruition have increased my understanding of classroom theory.  For instance, I saw a need in my community, an elementary school struggling to build a relevant collection of books for its media center.  I turned this need into a creative endeavor, free carwashes for the public in exchange for a donation of books.  Building on the success of this effort, I turned to women and children in need, particularly those fleeing abusive homes, not unlike the flight of people in my own Jewish heritage, escaping deadly oppression.  To their memory, and the people in my community, I will not let my heritage, the sacrifices made, to have been in vain.  To forget would be a greater tragedy.  Social work is more than a natural or logical progression for my education and career; it is everything I am and do.

 Reaching out to the community is only as good as the application of theoretical understanding that has been earned through relevant academic research.  To this end, I have been involved as a research assistant for the Associate Chair of Pediatrics, Dr. Armstrong, at University of XXXX School of Medicine, on a research project and pediatric neuropsychology clinic activities.  More importantly, and further convincing me I am on exactly the right path, a social worker observed me working at the hospital where I was conducting my research assistant work.  She remarked on how well I worked with an 8-year-old autistic boy receiving cancer treatment.  Upon hearing of my graduate education plans, she was thrilled, saying that I had that rare quality, the innate heart, soul and spirit, and kind nature to gently reach people and to comfort.

 My ability to reach out to people is a reflection of my cultural competency, and coming from a rich heritage, my father from Israel, grandmother from Morocco and grandfather from Egypt.  But interning in London, Paris, Prague, Barcelona and sleeping over with a Bedouin family in the mountains of Israel have brought me a worldview no classroom could ever provide, and an increased appreciation of who I am and where I have come from.  Moreover, it has given me the ability to communicate effectively with people of myriad cultures and creeds, an invaluable skill for any burgeoning Social Worker.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.

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