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About louise86

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  1. My advice would be to look at the curriculum of programs you are interested in to better understand the differences in degrees. The MSW is very social and economic justice oriented. I encourage you to read the NASW Code of Ethics and browse around the website. In general an MHC or MFT is going to narrow your career focus and options. You will be trained to provide therapy. An MSW will train you in therapy, community organizing, advanced case management, policy, leadership, etc. The MSW is more broad because social workers work in many different types of organizations and in many different roles. That is why the degree is considered more flexible. You can be a therapist, you can be a case manager, you can work in policy, you can work in program development, you can work in advocacy... the possibilities are vast. You can work in nonprofits, government agencies, hospitals, private companies, managed care organizations, private practice, etc. If you start out as a therapist and decide that's not for you or 5, 10, 15+ years from now want to do something else, you can transition more easily with an MSW in my opinion. I started out as an outpatient therapist in community mental health then transitioned to medical social work, which is more on the case management side. In my experience MSWs are the ones typically promoted into leadership and management roles. There are fewer LMFTs and LPCs so it can be more difficult to find supervision. You will want to research the area you plan to live and practice in to assess how difficult this may be. I'm not sure if this has changed, but years ago LCSWs were the only ones that could bill Medicare and therefore are preferred by a lot of agencies. This may have changed so that's something to look into and consider. I would also encourage you to look into licensing requirements for the state you want to live in to gain insight into what will be expected of you for an independent license. If you plan to move around, LCSW requirements vary widely from state-to-state, whereas LPC is more transferable (pretty sure I'm remembering correctly, but double check this). I'm unsure how the LMFT transfers. Hopefully this has provided some helpful information.
  2. I did distance education at the University of Tennessee and highly recommend it. I don't know anything about Case Western or Simmons so I can't help there. I will say that don't assume that because it's distance education that you won't spend just as much time on the program or that it won't be as rigorous as on campus. One woman worked full time the first year of our program (only because she was able to get an internship that allowed her to do her hours overnight which is hard to find) but was not able to the second year because of the amount of required field hours and not being able to find another site with overnight hours. You will spend considerable time reading, studying, doing assignments, probably have at least some required synchronous sessions, and of course field hours. Distance education can provide some flexibility but it's just as much if not more work as on campus. Good luck!
  3. I completed the distance education program at The University of Tennessee. I highly recommend it. They also have a gerontology graduate certificate you can obtain along side the MSSW. http://www.csw.utk.edu/certificates/gerontology.htm
  4. It's been many years ago and I don't recall the schools, but when I was looking at programs some had the option of a thesis instead of a comprehensive exam to graduate. The University of Tennessee is the only one I recall off hand because that's where I attended. I did the comprehensive exam, but knew a couple of students who did a thesis instead because they were considering a PhD later. I don't particularly recall seeing any programs that I would call "research-intensive" because the MSW is a professional degree. You would probably want to consider a PhD after your MSW. Having said that, one option could be to make sure you attend a school that offers an MSW and a PhD as that might increase the likelihood you would be able to contribute to research. Get to know the professors and express interest in research early on.
  5. I'm not in MA, but what about professors? Did you have any classes where you had to demonstrate skills? For instance, in my MSW program we had to record ourselves doing a mock session using motivational interviewing and then CBT. If not, think about significant projects (presentations, papers, etc.) you completed that would demonstrate knowledge of social work skills. Also have you done any volunteer work where a social worker was on staff? That could be an option. It could be worth reaching out to other students in your program to see what they are doing or a professor.
  6. Your undergraduate GPA will not affect your graduate GPA. They are separate.
  7. I don't think it hurts to apply this year. The worst that can happen is you are not accepted and then you just reapply next year. If you are not accepted this year you can request feedback on your applications and work to strengthen for the following year. If you are set on starting a program next fall then you might want to broaden your school list with a couple of safety schools that aren't so competitive. Working with undeserved populations is good and strengthens your application, but it's important to understand that tutoring/teaching kids is not social work or social services related experience. It's tutoring/teaching experience. Teaching English in Cambodia may not be looked at in a favorable light. The assisted living facility volunteering and internship is great, but it's the only social services experience you have. What are "one on one chats"? The TA experience also looks nice especially if you plan on applying for one in your MSW program. The research experience is nice, but what does "interaction with the moms and babies" mean? Like greeting them? General chit chat? Or something that actually contributed to the research? Data entry and stat analysis is enough so if your interactions with the subjects wasn't meaningful I probably wouldn't mention it. Many refugees and immigrants are children so that's not a problem. I think the bigger hurdle to overcome is explaining why you chose social work and why you want to be a social worker. Your undergrad is in psychology so why not a graduate program in psychology? Most of your experience is tutoring/teaching so why not a career in that area? Why social work specifically?
  8. Choose the cheapest option. A degree in social work is not really something you want to go into major debt for considering salaries.
  9. Yes, events in your personal life that may have contributed to you choosing the social problem you chose to discuss in your statement. Social work is a bit different from a lot of fields because it's generally ok to discuss your personal experiences with mental/physical health and/or social problems. My suggestion to people is to briefly discuss the personal experiences and if relevant mention how you cope with or overcame those difficulties so it's clear it won't impact your academic or professional life.
  10. Yes, I think I was well prepared for licensing. I passed the LMSW exam the first time with very little studying. I accepted a job at one of the organizations I interned with a month before graduation and started working the day after the graduation ceremony. The other organization I interned with also offered me a job at that time. I only know of a handful of students that graduated and did not already have a job offer. Of course this can vary with what area of social work you plan to pursue and where you plan to live. Your internships (field placements) are very important because many students end up working for one of the places they interned at or their supervisor or someone they met while there helped them get a job elsewhere. The MSW is a very versatile degree, though. I did my field placements in mental health and worked in mental health for a couple of years, but recently transitioned into medical social work (dialysis).
  11. I graduated from the online program in 2016. The online program shares the same faculty as the on-campus program in Nashville. Online students complete all the same classes and coursework as on-campus students. Some classes will require live online meetings via Zoom or Skype. Some classes require group work so that will also help you connect with your fellow students. I started a Facebook page for my graduating class so we could all get to know each other better and I think that helped a lot! If you're in Nashville then you'll be able to schedule meetings with professors if needed and join a couple of the social work organizations/clubs they have. Online students typically attend the Nashville graduation ceremony instead of the one in Knoxville. I live in the Knoxville area and had all the same field placement options as on-campus students in the area and was able to get to know several on-campus students by interning beside them. My field placements were at top community mental health organizations and no one was concerned about me completing the program online. It's also never been an issue when looking for a job. UTK has a solid reputation. Getting into the online or on-campus program is really not that competitive. Put a lot of effort into your statement which weighs heavily in the application process and you have a good shot! There are not a lot of scholarships. There are also not a lot of assistantships or fellowship opportunities (not sure if online students are even eligible for these). Overall, it's a good program and I highly recommend it.
  12. Is it Madonna University? ETA: Madonna University was granted candidacy status in Oct 2016. From the CSWE website I found: "Candidacy for a baccalaureate or master’s social work program by the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation indicates that it has made progress toward meeting criteria for the assessment of program quality evaluated through a peer review process. A program that has attained Candidacy has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the compliance standards set by the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, but has not yet demonstrated full compliance. Students who enter programs that attain Candidacy in or before the academic year in which they begin their program of study will be retroactively recognized as having graduated from a CSWE-accredited program once the program attains Initial Accreditation. Candidacy is typically a three-year process and attaining Candidacy does not guarantee that a program will eventually attain Initial Accreditation. Candidacy applies to all program sites and program delivery methods of an accredited program. Accreditation provides reasonable assurance about the quality of the program and the competence of students graduating from the program." https://www.cswe.org/Kentico82/Accreditation/Standards-and-Policies/EPAS-Handbook.aspx Unfortunately, I cannot find information on what happens to students if the program fails to attain accreditation. However, if they are expecting a final decision in Oct of this year then it appears they are pretty far along in the accreditation process which is probably a good sign.
  13. It would be helpful to know what school it is so we can dig around for more information. I would ask how confident they are accreditation will be granted. I would also ask what their plan is if accreditation does not come through because tuition for an MSW is not cheap anywhere. I would also get information about the amount and quality of their field placement sites. You could apply and then drop from the program in October if accreditation doesn't happen with hopefully a full refund of tuition/fees.
  14. You'll be fine. Most MSW programs are not super competitive. Having said that, CA schools probably are more competitive than most simply based on population and availability. Look to see which schools may favor in-state students and those which are out-of-state friendly. I think it's better to attend a program in a state you want to live in simply because of the connections you make during field placements. My biggest advice, and I cannot stress this enough, is do not spend a lot of money on an MSW especially if you are taking out loans for it.
  15. Knoxville and the surrounding areas are generally family friendly. Should be able to find a house or apartment for rent fairly affordably depending on the area you plan to live. I would think renting a house in West Knoxville would be more expensive than other areas, but that's where the better public schools are. You might also consider a few cities right outside of Knoxville like Oak Ridge (excellent public schools and lots of outdoor activities) although housing can be limited depending on what you are looking for. Oak Ridge is about a 20-30 minute drive to campus. Several daycare options for younger kids including a new 24-hour facility that recently opened. Maryville might also be a good possibility. Great public schools. I'm not as familiar with the housing or daycare options in the city, but it's also about a 20-30 minute drive to campus.
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