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Posts posted by paigesparky

  1. On April 8, 2016 at 5:47 AM, KatieJaiYen said:

    @paigesparky It really depends on you. Are you studying social work in undergrad? I had different experience in that, I studied natural sciences and I knew coming out of undergrad that I didn't want to to continue and had NO idea what I wanted to be doing. I launched into work and it felt necessary for me to explore many different things before I knew that social work was for me. This might not be the case for you so follow your intuition!

    I think in general it is never a bad idea to enter the workforce for a bit. It could set you up to even establish residency in a new place outside of Michigan.

    In short, there is no right answer! You shouldn't feel intimidated by other people though as you bring your own unique, background to programs. It's just a matter of communicating your readiness and vision for how your background connects to the social work profession.

    Thank you so much @KatieJaiYen I honestly think this is exactly what I needed to hear. This site brings so many positive connections but the downfall is you can really start comparing yourself to other applicants when in reality everyone is different and like you said brings something different to the table. 

    For undergrad, up until recently I had been pursuing a degree in Elementary Ed. until I realized that although I want to advocate for education and be a voice and resource to students, the classroom is not the place for me. I hope to specialize in School Social Work. I just recently switched my major to Sociology in purpose of going down a path to Social Work (MSW in mind). 

    Thanks for all of your feedback! Best of luck with everything in the future :) 

  2. 17 hours ago, KatieJaiYen said:

    @paigesparky my understanding of PSU is that they put more weight on the amount of experience. I actually have a natural sciences background and a relatively low GPA (3.1). Not below the 3.0 mark, but obviously nothing that communicates I rocked undergrad. 

    I am 30 now and in the last 8 years have gained diverse experience in more macro level community outreach and program management. I have been living and working in Thailand and China for the last 5 years as well which (might?) be a unique addition to my application. It's easy for me to answer those, "tell us about a time you've worked in a multi-cultural setting?" questions. At the same time, I don't have traditional socialwork/human services experience in the US. I thought this was going to set me back from the pool, but I have gotten into PSU, UW-Seattle, Michigan and Denver so I can only assume my experience got me there. I played that up a lot in my application.


    WOW KATIE! That is literally what my list of schools looks like right now. I am from Michigan and love the U of M campus and program, but would love to experience a new place. I feel it would help me grow as a person and professional. By the way... CONGRATS ON ALL OF THOSE ACCEPTANCES! Each of those are wonderful programs.  

    My concern is that I will be graduating right out of undergrad and aside from a few part-time jobs working with youth, and some volunteering I don't have any real professional experiences. After reading about other peoples backgrounds I'm starting to think it might be best for me to take a year or two to gain these experiences before applying but in reality it is my goal to go right away. I feel I am already in the groove of being a student and I can't imagine having an income for a few years and then going back to being a full-time student. I guess it doesn't hurt to apply but when comparing yourself to everyone on this website the whole process becomes even more intimidating. 

    Thanks so much for your feedback and I wish you the best of luck with your future goals! 


  3. On April 7, 2016 at 8:07 PM, AmandaN said:


    I was admitted to Portland State for fall 2016, it was the only program I applied to as I work in the field in Portland and did not want to relocate or leave my job :) I would like to think that I was a well rounded candidate but honestly I think it had everything to do with my experience in the field. My undergrad major was Political Science from a second tier state university with a 3.78 undergrad gpa, university and departmental honors. I started working in domestic violence intervention after graduation and had 2.5 years as a victim advocate at two different nonprofits when I applied. My statement of purpose focused on my commitment to working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and highlighted the things I hope to gain from my MSW studies to improve my capacity to make change. I'm doing the Practice and Leadership of Communities and Organizations track so I kept things fairly macro in my statement even though my experience is mostly micro. 

    Are you doing a BSW? I can't speak to the advanced standing admissions process but I know that their standard MSW admissions put an emphasis on experience. My advice would be to get your volunteer hours and focus on clearly articulating what you want out of the program and how your education/work/volunteer experience illustrates your commitment to your goals.  Best of luck on all of your applications and I hope to see you at PSU :) 

    Thanks so much, Amanda! This was so incredibly helpful. CONGRATS ON YOUR ACCEPTANCE! 
    I will be graduating next april with a BA in Sociology. I just recently switched from Elementary Education after realizing that although I have a passion for working with student, a classroom setting didn't fit the description of what I hoped to do for children in my field of work. I turned to sociology with the main purpose of deciding I definitely would like to go on to get my MSW and aside from a BSW this degree seemed to align most closely to what I would be pursuing in the future in a graduate program. My plan with an MSW is to pursue a specialization in School Social Work - but I am also interested in global social work, but still with a focus on working with children.

    As someone who started out in education I have had many experiences in schools, which I feel would support my application if I am declaring that School Social Work is where I would like to end up. I have worked as a mentor for low-income, first generation students applying to college, as a literacy tutor for an America Reads program, a substitute teacher in Detroit Public Schools, and I have also worked as a camp counselor for two consecutive summers. At my school, I am the Vice President of a student organization that provides professional development opportunities to future educators and other school personnel. In this position I have worked one-on-one with school administrators and teachers to create different events in underserved districts (things like literacy nights, Family Fun Nights, and tutoring services). My concern is that these experiences don't exactly align with the "Social Service" description. Is it bad that I have put most of my eggs in a single subgroup. Are schools looking for someone who has the best idea of where they want to end up (For me in a school working with students, or something more globally centered - advocating for educational equity) OR do they want someone who is more well-rounded, with a variety of experiences in a handful of settings?


    I love that with PSU you can specialize in the more "Macro" concentration but still add the School Social Work Licensure. Many other schools only offer School Social Work with the interpersonal option (I too am interested in the Practice and Leadership of Communities and Organizations track) . I've never been to Portland but the city as a whole seems like a great fit for who I am. I think that it is a city I could truly see myself growing in. As for PSU campus - is it built up completely into the downtown area or does it have it's own central campus within the city? Even with reading and pictures it's hard to tell. I plan to talk to an admissions counselor over the next couple of weeks to see if I would be a strong enough applicant for the program - if they feel I have a good shot, I plan to visit the school and city by the end of the summer! I'm so excited to learn more about it and see where this journey takes me.

    Thanks again for all of your feedback :):):) 

  4. On February 24, 2014 at 3:58 PM, jamiefrantz said:

    Hello! I am a junior at Louisiana State University studying Child & Family Studies. My intent was to go to grad school and receive my Masters degree in School Counseling. After some research I have been slowly realizing how difficult it is to nail a job as a school counselor and have been leaning more towards getting my masters in Education. I just have slim to no education experience in my current major.


    Is this a good idea? Will I go on to grad school and be completely behind? I'm too far into my current program to switch out now. I just feel like I will be missing out because everyone my age is going through student teaching, etc. which obviously I will receive in masters school but I feel it puts me at a disadvantage. Anyone have any knowledge on this and can fill me in?

    Hi Jamie! I may be a bit too late to respond. Have you made any decisions? Applied to any schools?

    A background about me: I spent my first three years of undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Teaching, so that I could ultimately go on to get my Masters for School Counseling since this has always been my long term goal. I'm not sure if it's different in Louisiana, but a lot of teachers and counselors i've talked to in Michigan said it's practically impossible to get a school counseling job without a teaching background because they select people from within the district who want the position FIRST. Even though a teaching degree isn't required for the position that's just how it tends to end up. So if a position is opening up, it may be filled by someone who is already teaching in the school district before it's even posted for us outsiders... SUPER discouraging.  After much consideration, I realized that I am a bit too worried about how narrow the school counseling field is. I have began looking at other options like school psychology and school social work (Might not hurt to explore these options as well)! Another piece of advice I have is to explore Linkedin. Do the advanced search and just type in "School Counselor" for Keyword and then the area in which you would hope to end up living or really any city at all. You can then see from peoples profiles what type of backgrounds they have :) 

    I think if it's something you really truly want you should go for it! As long as you have the passion for it and it shines through, I think things truly will fall into place because public schools need someone who is passionate about helping students (especially in urban areas!!!). 



  5. I completely understand where you are coming from. I have one year left until I graduate and am in the process of looking at MSW programs and MA School Counseling programs. My main concern with an MA in School Counseling like you said is that it is a little bit too narrow. I've also heard that in many states, even though it isn't required to have a background in teaching many states prefer that in their counselors so that they know whoever ends up in the position is familiar with schools, classrooms ,etc.  I originally was doing a teaching degree for undergrad FOR this reason but then decided that the programs were too long for something that wasn't my real long-term goal. 

    I am now thinking that I am going to end up the MSW route because the field is so broad. I love that I can specialize in School Social Work that has a lot of overlaps with School Counseling, but if I am unable to find a job for a little while within a school, at least I have other options. 

    I hope this gave a little insight! I know it's such an intimidating decision!! 

    Have you made any decisions? 

  6. @pickfights @Sbjj0701 Thanks so much for your responses! This is really helpful. I have been thinking I might want to do a year in-between undergrad and MSW but at the same time I would like to have a steady income as soon as possible, the idea of going back to school full-time after having a steady flow of money for a year or two also makes the whole process sound more difficult. It's nice already being in the college student groove. 

    I've also heard mixed reviews about spending the money for a top school if you are on the clinical track, hearing that it is more vital for people focused on policy where as for someone who is interested in interpersonal/ clinical a state school would be just fine for a much smaller ticket price. This is also something i'm torn on because I want to have as many opportunities from my program as possible!  

  7. Hey everyone! I am currently in my undergrad with 1 more year to go. In a few more months I will be starting the application process. I have done quiet a bit of research and so far the schools i'm interested in are:

    Portland State University 

    UC Berkeley

    Smith College

    University of Michigan

    University of Denver

    University of Washington


    If you don't mind me asking, those of you that have been accepted to PSU what are your stats? What do you feel helped you stand out? 


    Thanks so so much :):):) 

  8. Hey everyone! I am currently in my undergrad with 1 more year to go. In a few more months I will be starting the application process. I have done quiet a bit of research and so far the schools i'm interested in are:

    UC Berkeley

    Smith College

    University of Michigan

    University of Denver

    University of Washington

    Portland state University


    If you don't mind me asking, those of you that have been accepted to UC Berkeley what are your stats? What do you feel helped you stand out? 


    Thanks so so much :):):) 


  9. Hello everyone! I am new to The Grad Cafe. I am an undergraduate student from Michigan currently pursuing a degree in Sociology. I will graduate in April 2017 (1 year away)! 

    I plan to attend an MSW program straight out of undergrad and am curious to get some insight from those who have already gone through the process. I have been researching for a few months and right now I am most interested in:

    University of Michigan

    University of Washington

    University of Denver

    Portland State University

    UC Berkeley

    Smith College

    My path would be clinical. I am most interested in working with Children/youth but am interested in a variety of settings (schools, hospitals, nonprofits) at home and even abroad. 

    For those that have been accepted to one or more of these programs, what are your stats? What type of experiences did you have? What do you think made you stand out? When did you start applying to MSW programs? Do you have any tips? How far in advance of application deadlines did you start preparing?

    Did anyone else go straight out of undergrad? Do you think that this put you at an advantage or disadvantage? Is applying as an out of state applicant an advantage or disadvantage to most of these programs? 


    My current stats:

    GPA: 3.6
    America Reads Corp Member - (reading tutor in public elementary school)
    Substitute teacher in Detroit Public Schools
    Alternative Spring Break Volunteer (2 years in a row)
    Vice President of Student Organization - Have been involved in lots of event planning, volunteering/ and volunteer project creation, professional development, fundraising, etc. 



    Thanks so much for any information you can share with me! I am so excited for my future in this field and to speak with some of you who share similar aspirations! 


    Thanks everyone :):):) 

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