academicbirb Posted October 31, 2016 Share Posted October 31, 2016 (edited) I'm applying to counseling psychology PhD programs, MSW programs, MPH programs, and one combo MSW/PhD program. I'm interested in a lot of the things I do research on because of personal experiences but I'm not sure how much is too much to disclose in a SOP. Last year, I explicitly disclosed my disability and asked someone that sits on the adcomm for one of the programs I was applying to if he thought it hurt my app but he said it probably didn't (he's also very blunt and I don't think he'd lie even though we work together). He did say that my age WAS a big turnoff for a lot of people (I'm only 22, was 21 at time of last app). When I was in HS, I was told constantly by school administrators that I'd never graduate high school because of my disability and that I'd never get into college, but I'm a really stubborn person and once I set my mind to something, I don't stop until it's done. I graduated college with a 3.986 GPA and was on Dean's List at the summa cum laude level every semester I was enrolled; and I've been dead set on getting a PhD since my first semester of undergrad. I'm not super concerned about my chances of getting into just regular MSW programs because my grades are good and the places I'm applying to are my "safety" schools. But, with the other programs, I'm a little worried about how to craft an SOP. Right now, I work in two labs: one deals with mentoring relationships for adolescents and positive youth development, and the other focuses on LGBTQIA+ issues, typically surrounding mental and physical health with a focus on HIV risk/prevention. As an adolescent, I developed a disability that went untreated for a long time and my experiences within the medical community and my school system weren't exactly the greatest, which is what spurred my interest in health psychology and adolescence as a specific age group to focus on (chronic absenteeism is also why I'm terrible at math-- I had to teach myself!). I'm also bisexual and apparently have a very trustworthy air because everyone else that was closeted in my high school would come to me for advice about dealing with their identity, their parents, and what to do about safe sex (thanks public school for the lack of safe, same-sex sex ed!). A lot of them were suicidal which is what made me want to pursue counseling with a focus on LGBTQIA+ youth -- when I was a senior in high school, I just wanted to just go for a master's in counseling after undergrad. But, after enrolling in research methods I knew that I wanted to go for a PhD and do research as well. I was offered a job in a research lab during undergrad because I kept getting 100s on all of my exams in that professor's class, which is where I found my passion for research and studying youth mentoring, especially within niche hobbyist communities (because those were some of the only places where I felt accepted as an adolescent & still have a big impact on my life today). So through that experience, I learned that research is something that I want to continue to pursue because I can have a broader impact on people, and after doing a clinical internship, I'm still confident that counseling is something that I want to do because I like to help individuals directly. I know framing things this way is probably WAY too ancecdote-y for a lot of adcomms but I also want to be able to convey why I'm especially passionate and determined to pursue studying these topics... Edited October 31, 2016 by fancyduckie hit submit too soon! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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