My parents are immigrants from the Dominican Republic and we spoke only Spanish at home as I was growing up. When I entered kindergarten, I was placed in a bilingual, mostly-Spanish classroom. My mother wanted me to learn English quickly, however, and put me into a first-grade classroom that was monolingual. It was terrifying at first because I was generally confused, almost to the point of tears, for a sustained period of time. I am not suggesting that the decision made by mother was or was not correct. What I do know is that this most difficult of experiences and the great challenge that it represented on many levels is the foundational experience behind my intense desire to become a bilingual school counselor Spanish/English. I have chosen this career path because I have firsthand familiarity with many of the issues.
I hope to be selected to begin study in XXU’s Master of Arts in Counseling and Guidance Program for the fullest immersion experience possible in Bilingual School Counseling for Grades Pre-K-12. Born and raised in NYC, I cannot imagine wanting to live anywhere else on a permanent basis. Thus, XXXX University’s location is a major factor in why it is my first choice for graduate study, since I consider it basically to be the epicenter of the world. Still, that is not the only reason, nor is the extremely distinguished and prestigious nature and reputation of NYU. Rather, first and foremost, earning my Master’s Degree at XXU would be a special dream come true because of the high priority placed on social justice and equality as an inherent part of the educational mission of your program and your university.
This coming May, 2018, I will be graduating with a degree in Sociology and a central focus on Education, Social Inequality and Urban Studies. It was in courses like “Education and Inequality” and “Global and Cross-Cultural Perspectives” where I learned to think in increasingly sophisticated ways about the experiences of different groups as resulting from educational processes. One of the courses that I am especially looking forward to taking at NYU is “Cross- Cultural Counseling and Development of Immigrant Origin Youth.” This course typifies the directions in which I want to pursue advanced study and the ways in which I have prepared for graduate school thus far, through my choices as an undergraduate student in Sociology.
After working as a special education paraprofessional in Pennsylvania, I became all the more convinced that educational counseling was my calling. I enjoyed everything about my job: interacting with the students in small group settings, or building one-on-one connections. I was eager to get to work each day, and especially to bond with those students that seemed to me to be in the greatest need of forming emotional ties. Now, I want to train for a lifetime of positive impact on student’s lives—academically, socially, and personally. I believe that I possess the necessary personal qualities, characteristics and skill-set, together with the academic experience, to excel in the MA Program in Counseling and Guidance at NYU.
As a bilingual school counselor, I will be able to serve as a most important asset for students for whom English is not their first language. I want to be accessible to this specific population because I want to help those who find themselves in similar situations as I once faced as a young child, with respect to language barriers, helping them to thrive in and out of the classroom. Although I was born in New York City, I did not learn English until the age of six. I still remember raising my tiny hand in the first grade with a facial expression of total confusion. Being a daughter of recent immigrants from the Dominican Republic, I know the struggles that many students face, entering what is for many a very strange new world where they are under great pressure to grasp the complexities of a new language and culture.
Since serving others has always been my passion, during my last year of my undergraduate studies, I decided to begin volunteering as a mentor for children who are in the foster care system. Through my experience at New Alternatives for Children, I have very much enjoyed the profound privilege of helping children ages nine through twelve who have been diagnosed with physical, mental or emotional disabilities. My experience as a mentor to these children in need has been very gratifying. I have learned a great deal from all of them, especially because they come from such a broad variety of social, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds. I am convinced that this experience, in particular, will help me to hit the ground running in your program and make valuable contributions to discussions.
I thank you for your consideration of my application to Counseling and Guidance at XXU.