Samples of My Work on Behalf of Applicants for Education Programs in School Counseling

Master's in School Psychology and Pupil Personnel Services, Gay, Hispanic

XXXX University at XXXX's Master's Degree Program in Psychology and Pupil Personnel Services, in preparation for earning the School Psychology Credential in California is my first choice for graduate school. A diligent and hardworking student, community activist, and volunteer, I come from two special and somewhat marginalized populations, both of which are well represented in California, refugees and immigrants from Central America as well as the LGBT community. As a gay, Hispanic man, I suffered a great deal from bullying in school because of my feminine characteristics and disposition. Fundamental to my choice of career is my desire to protect children from the kind of abuse that I endured in school.

I look forward to a complete immersion experience in assessment for intervention, mental health counseling, behavior management and consultation: principles, ethics, and strategies, especially as concerns teachers and parents. I seek a cutting-edge education in how to best ensure that the school promotes educationally and psychologically healthy environments for all children and youth by implementing research-based, highly effective programs that prevent problems, enhance independence, and promote optimal learning. I am drawn to the vast diversity that characterizes academic community at XXXX and, in addition to my multicultural and multilingual competence, I always stay positive and creative, often making the most of my cultivated sense of humor. 

I was raised by a single mother, an immigrant from Guatemala who worked as a housekeeper while I was growing up in urban southern California environment. My school life was difficult from the beginning, Spanish being my first language, my mother working long hours, lonely; by the fifth or sixth grade I was certain that I was different and somehow the bullying to which I was subjected – which had a devastating effect on my academic performance – was somehow my own fault, because I was different from the other boys, more feminine. Each day at school was a battle because I had to endure the constant bullying physically and mentally. It was not until well into adolescence that I realized that I was gay and that being gay was also normal. From 3rd grade through high school, I was called terrible names, spat upon, and sometimes physically and even sexually assaulted. A school psychologist would have been very beneficial for me, someone to talk to about my problems; and someone who could have advocated on my behalf with the teachers, to let them know how I was struggling. By my junior year, I had dropped out of high school disenchanted with education, I just wanted a paycheck and to be able to help my mom. If I had of had someone to turn to for support in school, my destiny might have been different and I might have excelled academically much earlier on. As it was, after leaving high school, I spent 10 years sorting and folding clothes in a store, cleaning, etc. While I did in time become a supervisor, it would have been much better for me to have entered college sooner.

I was studying again by 2015, however, and earned my Associates Degree in Psychology in 2017. During this period, I spent a lot of time on the National Association of School Psychology website learning about the day-to-day activities, challenges, and triumphs of school psychologists, especially as related to diversity issues. Soon, I felt called to and determined to build a career as a school counselor so that I might experience the profound fulfillment of uplifting, inspiring, and protecting vulnerable children and young people in our school system.

Now working towards the completion of my BA in Psychology and Social Behavior at XXXX, I will be graduating this coming May of 2019. I hope to begin graduate school at XXXX for the coming fall semester. I received the Chancellors of Excellence Scholarship when I transferred to the University of California Irvine and I have become a diligent, hardworking, and creative student. Beginning with summer school, I have learned a great deal about social, emotional, and cognitive development in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly; behavioral disorders and developmental psychopathology; counseling and therapy; cultural, social, and personality influences on behavior; attitude formation and change; cognition and emotion; health psychology; stress and coping. I now much better understand the complexity of social problems in education, the context of child development, and the importance of public policy and its development. I have also assisted with several research projects at UC Irvine, most notably with respect to the use of Live Ink vs. traditional text and its relationship to instructional strategies and achievements, working alongside graduate students as well as professors, learning everything that I can, especially about instructional strategies involving advanced technology. This fall, 2018 I will by studying abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where my worldviews, multilingual capacity and celebration of diversity and multicultural competence will be heightened still further. In addition to studying intensively, I also look forward to teaching Spanish as well as English on a voluntary basis.  

I have been volunteering for some time now with Kid-works, an after-school program in Santa Ana for students from low-income families. This faith-based program is located in the exact area where I grew up and went to school, and the memories have come flooding in. Thus, it has been sheer joy for me to help students with their homework from kinder garden all the way through 12th grade. All of the students are Hispanic/Latinx.  I also help with daily living skills, counsel students and serve as a responsible role model. With the 9th-12th graders, I help them to focus on college and complete applications. I have also assisted with literacy practice assessment for children in pre-k-6th grade. Frequently, I talk to parents whose only language is Spanish and respond to all of their concerns. I have worked with kids who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, Neurodevelopment problems, Autism spectrum, and students who show symptoms of anxiety, as well as receiving special training for gifted students.

My ultimate goal is to give back to our urban communities where I grew up and help students academically, emotionally, and behaviorally, and to do all that I can to uplift and protect children and young people, especially those who are risk as a result of a broad variety of factors. I look forward to giving my all for the balance of my professional lifetime to observation, assessment and counseling, especially crisis counseling and conflict resolution, helping parents and children with unresolved issues to find the right answers.

I thank you for considering my application to your unique program at UXXX.

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