Advocacy in Action

Through the stories we share, the Admissions Team at Baylor University hopes to inspire and educate future leaders in the field of social work.

7 Tips for Your Best Graduate School Application

Written by Baylor School of Social Work Team on 09.22.20

If you are looking to advance your career, then pursuing a graduate degree seems like the logical next best step. After all, a master’s degree can help you stand out from other job candidates, equip you with valuable skills, and set you up for greater career success. In particular, individuals interested in a career in social work can benefit from the hands-on experience and dedicated support a high-quality MSW program offers.

The Benefits of Earning a Master’s in Social Work

Social work professionals help to bring about healing, justice, protection, and empowerment and to equip their clients with the tools they need to advocate for themselves. They strive on a daily basis to establish trusting relationships with individuals and groups in order to make a difference in their lives. To be a successful social worker, it's important to develop the critical skills and knowledge needed to establish relationships, build trust, and provide help to those who are vulnerable. 

Earning a master’s in social work can set you up for a lifelong career that focuses on positively impacting the lives of people in your community. A Master of Social Work (MSW) degree provides the education, training, and field experience necessary to hold clinical or supervisory roles, allowing graduates to work across a number of different fields including the medical, mental health, and education fields. It also enables individuals to work at the macro level, engaging in policy work within government and nonprofit agencies.

Thinking about earning an MSW and need more information? Check out our virtual  events!

To get started, or to advance, in this rewarding and fulfilling field — your journey begins with an application.

How to submit your best graduate school application

When it comes to applying to graduate school the process might seem intimidating at first, but keeping a few important things in mind can help alleviate many concerns. By accurately representing your unique qualifications and showcasing what you have to offer the field, you can set yourself apart as a competitive candidate for acceptance. 

Here are the top seven tips to help you build your best graduate school application:

1. Know your graduate school goals and why you’re applying

Spend some time considering what your goals are and why you’re applying to grad school. Where do you hope this program will take you? What do you hope to gain from the experience? When you have a clear understanding of the reason behind this journey, you’ll be able to articulate it better so others can understand it as well. 

2. Know the program's mission

Being familiar with the program, its mission, and its outcomes can help you as you craft your application. Knowing the mission of a program and highlighting how you identify with that mission can help those reviewing your application understand what you would bring into the program.

Pro tip: Baylor University’s MSWS program offers two specializations: Clinical Practice and Community Practice. Be sure to review the program options to see if they may align with your future goals! 

3. Review, revise, and review again

When it comes to putting your best foot forward, grammar, punctuation, and editing matter. Your graduate school application should be free from any typos or errors that might distract readers or leave the wrong kind of first impression. 

4. Enlist the help of others

Having a support system throughout graduate school will be an important part of your journey. Start building your support system today by securing letters of recommendation from trusted references who can speak on your preparedness for graduate school. Have a friend or mentor review your application materials to check for errors or inconsistencies, and to offer you feedback on how you can be more clear and convincing.

5. Answer the question

It can be tempting to elaborate and be extra thorough when completing your application but, as a graduate student, you will need to learn how to write concisely. Use your application as a chance to highlight this skill by clearly answering the question asked of you and avoid rambling.

6. Make it personal

Don’t be afraid to share a personal story or a meaningful experience that drew you to graduate school and highlights your interest in social work. Showcase what makes you an ideal candidate for the program and the value you will add to the field.

7. Apply early

Waiting until a few days before a deadline may lead to technical issues or delayed processing. Applying early can ease any last-minute stress and sets you apart from the applications that pour in just before the deadline. Another benefit of applying early is ensuring that you will receive the most competitive financial aid award.


Join the community of social workers at Baylor University — begin your application today!

To help you better understand the application process, we’ve put together a one-stop-shop guide that covers the entire MSW application from start to finish. If you are looking for tips, advice, and instruction on how to submit your most convincing application for graduate school, we invite you to download this free resource: How to Apply 101: A Comprehensive Application Guide to Baylor’s MSW Program.

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In the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work at Baylor University, we want to help you achieve your goals of serving others through trust and support. The Master of Social Work program prepares professional social workers who can assess and build on strengths of persons, families, and communities so that they can serve as social work clinicians and counselors, program planners, administrators, and community developers within diverse public and private sectors.

Social work is anything but a one-size-fits-all profession. With your MSW, the possibilities are endless! If you’re ready to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those around you, we invite you to begin your application today.

To help make the application process as simple and easy as possible, we're offering a downloadable resource, How to Apply 101: A Comprehensive Application Guide to Baylor’s MSW Program! 


Posted by Baylor School of Social Work Team

We are the admissions team at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, at Baylor University. We believe social work is about service and justice; it is about the dignity of individuals and the power of relationships; it is about integrity and competence, and our mission here is preparing social workers to do these things well. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a degree in social work!