Carleton Social Work Application Example

The BSW application at Carleton is one of the most intense applications in Canada.

That’s why we’ve provided some examples to help you out. Below are Carleton Social Work application examples that should be used for guidance, but cannot be copied or re-used in any way.

As part of the admissions application process, please provide a 500-word response to each of the following three questions/requests. Each response must be no longer than 500 words, with a 12-point font.

You must answer all three of the questions/requests and they must be prepared and written solely by you, the applicant.

On the last page of your response statements, you must include the following statement: “I, (add your name here), confirm that the above responses were prepared, and written, solely by me.”

1. How have your life, work and educational experiences contributed to your understanding of yourself and others in relation to the society in which we live? (You may wish to reflect on various aspects of your identity such as gender, sexual orientation, economic/class status, life as an Aboriginal person, racial or cultural background, disabilities or abilities).

My experiences have had a profound impact on my understanding of myself and others in relation to society. Having grown up in an affluent family, I was very fortunate to have had access to top notch education, numerous job opportunities and an abundance of travel opportunities. In particular, having been to sixty-one countries, I have been able to see a wide range of cultures and societies and have subsequently been able to get a better appreciation and understanding of our own society. Despite all of us being very fortunate in living in Canada, there are still problems we face that are not unlike problems faced in other countries. Although this may distance ourselves from each other in Canada, it also connects us with others from around the world. As such, it was always clear to me that we have many challenges we must address globally, and specifically in Canada.

The fact that I was able to receive private education was appreciated and not taken for granted, but it also made it concerning that not everybody in Canada has access to the same quality of education. This presented a clear class divide in our country, not unlike in other countries. Although I am grateful for my education, I could never help but feel remorseful that I was so fortunate because I myself never did anything to earn such an education.

Similarly, my travels exposed me to some of the poorest and remote areas in the world, from the slums of Johannesburg to the remote villages of Vanuatu. This further helped me be grateful for what I had, but also made it obvious that everybody has to work together to solve societal problems, poverty and inequality being just two of the many.

Having never had to work hard to get a job, I recognize I was contributing to a societal issue of unemployment and poverty. For every job I was offered without interview, I was stealing it from somebody who perhaps wanted it or deserved it more than I.

Perhaps unexpectedly, this privileged upbringing made me want to live a life of less privilege in order to help others work towards making their life a privileged one. I do believe class and cultural divides exist, but these divides may actually present the perfect opportunity to close them, me being an example. I most likely would not have been as inspired and motivated to live a fulfilling life had I not had such a privileged upbringing, and I certainly would not have had the means and access to turn my motivation into actual progress.

Thus, my life experiences have undoubtedly impacted my understanding of myself and others in our society, but this understanding provides me with the motivation and will to make a positive change in society, a track that begins at Carleton.

2. Identify a social problem that you might want to address as a social worker. Discuss the factors that contribute to or cause this problem. What role would you like to play in resolving this problem?

A social problem that I would like to help address as a social worker is the problem of homelessness, specifically concerning those with mental health issues.

So often, people look at the homeless and don’t think twice about them and just assume they are responsible for their own fate. However, we seldom think about how the person actually wound up on the street. Perhaps they simply did not ever want to work, perhaps they lost everything they had, and perhaps they wasted their money on things most people would not approve of. However, we rarely think about the possibility that these people have mental health issues that present a significant barrier in getting off and staying off the street.

Take the situation where a soldier was fired from the Canadian Forces due to inappropriate behaviour, and as such lost all their savings from their pension. This may seem like a fair consequence had it been the fault of the soldier, but frequently these soldiers have severe cases of PTSD and are unable to perform their duties or even live their lives properly. This mental health issue not only cost the person their job, but also their savings, resulting in them ending up homeless with little hope. Without treatment, support and funds, it can be remarkably difficult to get back on their feet.

This is just one of the many examples where a mental health issue can have a profound impact on one’s life. Along with the vast examples, I believe there are vast causes. However, I believe there is one contributing cause across the board; lack of support, guidance and understanding. Without understanding the issue, it’s difficult for people to support these people, let alone guide them. That’s where I would like to come in.

As a social worker, I would like to really get to know these people and treat them as people, not as homeless people or a city eyesore. I would listen to them and really understand the core of their issues in order to provide and coordinate the appropriate support that these people need to get good guidance. I most likely won’t be able to directly help and provide guidance, but I can absolutely understand the issue and seek out or refer the person for guidance. The process I just described is something that would come a long way in solving this social problem, but unfortunately we are still a long ways away.  Nevertheless, I am a firm believer that, just like a disease, progress has to start somewhere before it really starts spreading and begins to make an impact. However, unlike a disease, this spread of hope and care will be welcomed and cannot be defeated.

3. What interests you in applying to a structural school of social work? How does studying social work at Carleton fit with your career goals?

I want to be a successful social worker, as simple as that. By success, I do not mean financially or in terms of widespread attention, but rather in terms of successfully assist society. Attending a structural school of social work, particularly at Carleton, will most definitely be my best path and opportunity to achieving that goal.

I completely agree with Carleton’s approach to social work education, particularly its strong emphasis on the development of strategies for working sensitively with people. Moreover, I am a huge proponent of the need for a critical analysis of the social policies and administrative practices that affect the lives of people from diverse populations in our society. The strong focus of practical education through the Practicum is also something I believe is a tremendous advantage of Carleton’s BSW.

Therefore, the education I would receive from Carleton would inevitably not only help me land a great entry-level position, but would also help me succeed. From there, I would like to specialize in either Community Social Work or Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Work, both areas that I feel Carleton would prepare me well for. As part of my career in social work, I would put an emphasis as working as much as possible at client sites rather than the conventional office setting as I believe it is a more effective form of social work.

Ultimately, it is my passion to work towards opening my own Social Work practice focusing on all the aforementioned issues and concepts. This would provide me with the means of really making the impact that I want to make while focusing on the things I want to focus on.

I believe that Carleton is no doubt the start of this journey and is the perfect fit for my ambitious and significant career goals. 


Once again, this Carleton Social Work Application example is cannot be copied or duplicated in any way. Good luck with your own application!

Alex Dorward

Alex Dorward

Alex is the co-founder of UniversityHub (now CampusRankings) and current Technical Director for CampusRankings. Alex grew up in Ottawa before attending St FX in Antigonish, NS. After graduating, he joined Accenture and is currently a Manager in Accenture Digital.

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