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BackNSchool83

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About BackNSchool83

  • Rank
    Double Shot
  • Birthday 01/01/1983

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  • Gender
    Man
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    Him, he, his
  • Location
    California
  • Interests
    Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder, Micro SW & Licensure
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    UCLA Master of Social Welfare

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  1. Hey everyone, wanted to do a post here about choosing grad schools for licensure very carefully. If you are thinking about going for a PhD or masters in the mental health field please give this a read! I use California examples but this information translates to other states as well. All states have their own licensing boards for masters level and doctoral level practice. Accreditation organizations for professionals like COAMFTE for MFTs or CSWE for MSWs and the APA for Psychologists are the same across all states, so that said, lets begin. Many people seem to sign up for PhD and masters programs without doing enough research into them, and it costs them a fortune and wastes their time because they can't practice with the degree they got. For example, I know someone who got a masters in clinical psychology who thought that could lead to a career in therapy. There are also many online programs that offer degrees like this which are not actually accredited programs. Don't just jump into a grad program, be careful, do your research! Another common mistake is thinking a masters degree one earns while working on a PhD could lead to licensure, this is also often wrong. For example, I'm in an MSW program at UCLA, we have a PhD in social work as well. The PhD is a totally different curriculum than the MSW, and it's not accredited. So if I got a "masters" as part of that PhD it would not be something I could get a license with because it's not CSWE accredited and it's not the same as an "MSW." In fact, the MSW is actually called a "professional degree" it's not a "masters" in reality, it just uses the term "master of" in the title, similar to how a law degree is known as a "Juris Doctor" JD - they aren't doctors, it's a 3 year professional degree. So don't make the mistake of thinking there are 2 birds with one stone deals, or loopholes, where you get a PhD in something and pick up your masters along the way and get a masters level clinical license, do your research. Another mistake is getting into a masters degree program like masters of clinical psychology and thinking, I'll just do this now and it will save me time later when I "finish" the PhD in clinical psychology at some other school or another time. This isn't like transferring from community college, many classes may not count, and you join into a cohort usually, it's not often the case that you get a masters and then merge into a PhD program for the last few years of the PhD, that's not how it works. You either go for the PhD in full or you go for the masters in full. If you want to be a "therapist," you need a license to practice therapy or any other interventions with people, you will need to first go on the state's website for licensure. In California that is the BBS board of behavioral sciences website https://www.bbs.ca.gov/ for masters level degrees like the MFT master of marriage and family therapy, MCP master of counseling psychology, and MSW master of social work and a few others. The MFT leads to the LMFT license, the MCP leads to the LPCC license, and the MSW leads to the LCSW license. When you go on the BBS website or the licensing board of whatever state you are interested in working in, they explain what the educational requirements are and part of that is that the university you earn the degree from must be "regionally accredited" in most universities in the Western U.S. that's WASC, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges https://www.acswasc.org/. Furthermore, the program "masters program or doctoral program" itself must be accredited by an "accrediting organization." For MFT programs that's COAMFTE https://www.coamfte.org/ for MCP programs thats CACREP https://www.cacrep.org/ and for MSW programs thats CSWE https://www.cswe.org/. To sum it all up, for example: I go to UCLA's MSW program. UCLA is a university that is regionally accredited by WASC. The MSW program itself is accredited by the CSWE. UCLA's MSW program is on the list of approved schools by the California BBS which issues licenses. Because everything is accredited, I can earn the LCSW in California to practice in private practice or advance my career, and all these accreditations also mean I can get licensed in other states outside of California if I decide to move. For those interested in a PhD or PsyD or who wish to become "licensed psychologists" California and other states have licensing boards for this as well. In California that would be the California Board of Psychology https://www.psychology.ca.gov/. They explain the requirements in this state. Like the masters degrees, the title of the doctorate is important. They say the degree name must fall under this description which you can access here https://www.psychology.ca.gov/applicants/license.shtml"Section 2914 of the Business and Professions Code (Code) provides that individuals who possess an earned doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology, education with a field of specialization in counseling psychology or education with a field of specialization in educational psychology from an approved or accredited educational institution meet the educational requirements for licensure." Here is what the California Board of Psychology says about accreditation https://www.psychology.ca.gov/applicants/schools.shtml"Applicants for licensure that apply after on or January 1, 2020, must possess an earned doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology, or education with the field of specialization in counseling psychology or educational psychology from a college or institution of higher education that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education." Doctoral programs that lead to licensure in the U.S. are generally PhD in psychology or clinical psychology or a PsyD degree, and it must be from a regionally accredited university and an "APA" accredited university program. https://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/programs/ Beware of online programs, many are not properly accredited here is an article about that https://www.geteducated.com/careers/534-apa-accredited-online-psychology-programs Any programs you research, always look into their accreditation status, make sure they are regionally accredited and that the program itself is approved for licensure in your state AND that it is accredited by the accrediting organization for the profession that degree is associated with. If you don't make sure your program is legit, or if it's not properly accredited and approved by your state, you get a very very expensive degree you can't do anything with. This happens ALL THE TIME. Don't let it happen to you, do your research!!!
  2. Hey everyone, wanted to do a post here about choosing grad schools for licensure very carefully. If you are thinking about going for a PhD or masters in the mental health field please give this a read! I use California examples but this information translates to other states as well. All states have their own licensing boards for masters level and doctoral level practice. Accreditation organizations for professionals like COAMFTE for MFTs or CSWE for MSWs and the APA for Psychologists are the same across all states, so that said, lets begin. Many people seem to sign up for PhD and masters programs without doing enough research into them, and it costs them a fortune and wastes their time because they can't practice with the degree they got. For example, I know someone who got a masters in clinical psychology who thought that could lead to a career in therapy. There are also many online programs that offer degrees like this which are not actually accredited programs. Don't just jump into a grad program, be careful, do your research! Another common mistake is thinking a masters degree one earns while working on a PhD could lead to licensure, this is also often wrong. For example, I'm in an MSW program at UCLA, we have a PhD in social work as well. The PhD is a totally different curriculum than the MSW, and it's not accredited. So if I got a "masters" as part of that PhD it would not be something I could get a license with because it's not CSWE accredited and it's not the same as an "MSW." In fact, the MSW is actually called a "professional degree" it's not a "masters" in reality, it just uses the term "master of" in the title, similar to how a law degree is known as a "Juris Doctor" JD - they aren't doctors, it's a 3 year professional degree. So don't make the mistake of thinking there are 2 birds with one stone deals, or loopholes, where you get a PhD in something and pick up your masters along the way and get a masters level clinical license, do your research. Another mistake is getting into a masters degree program like masters of clinical psychology and thinking, I'll just do this now and it will save me time later when I "finish" the PhD in clinical psychology at some other school or another time. This isn't like transferring from community college, many classes may not count, and you join into a cohort usually, it's not often the case that you get a masters and then merge into a PhD program for the last few years of the PhD, that's not how it works. You either go for the PhD in full or you go for the masters in full. If you want to be a "therapist," you need a license to practice therapy or any other interventions with people, you will need to first go on the state's website for licensure. In California that is the BBS board of behavioral sciences website https://www.bbs.ca.gov/ for masters level degrees like the MFT master of marriage and family therapy, MCP master of counseling psychology, and MSW master of social work and a few others. The MFT leads to the LMFT license, the MCP leads to the LPCC license, and the MSW leads to the LCSW license. When you go on the BBS website or the licensing board of whatever state you are interested in working in, they explain what the educational requirements are and part of that is that the university you earn the degree from must be "regionally accredited" in most universities in the Western U.S. that's WASC, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges https://www.acswasc.org/. Furthermore, the program "masters program or doctoral program" itself must be accredited by an "accrediting organization." For MFT programs that's COAMFTE https://www.coamfte.org/ for MCP programs thats CACREP https://www.cacrep.org/ and for MSW programs thats CSWE https://www.cswe.org/. To sum it all up, for example: I go to UCLA's MSW program. UCLA is a university that is regionally accredited by WASC. The MSW program itself is accredited by the CSWE. UCLA's MSW program is on the list of approved schools by the California BBS which issues licenses. Because everything is accredited, I can earn the LCSW in California to practice in private practice or advance my career, and all these accreditations also mean I can get licensed in other states outside of California if I decide to move. For those interested in a PhD or PsyD or who wish to become "licensed psychologists" California and other states have licensing boards for this as well. In California that would be the California Board of Psychology https://www.psychology.ca.gov/. They explain the requirements in this state. Like the masters degrees, the title of the doctorate is important. They say the degree name must fall under this description which you can access here https://www.psychology.ca.gov/applicants/license.shtml"Section 2914 of the Business and Professions Code (Code) provides that individuals who possess an earned doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology, education with a field of specialization in counseling psychology or education with a field of specialization in educational psychology from an approved or accredited educational institution meet the educational requirements for licensure." Here is what the California Board of Psychology says about accreditation https://www.psychology.ca.gov/applicants/schools.shtml"Applicants for licensure that apply after on or January 1, 2020, must possess an earned doctorate degree in psychology, educational psychology, or education with the field of specialization in counseling psychology or educational psychology from a college or institution of higher education that is accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education." Doctoral programs that lead to licensure in the U.S. are generally PhD in psychology or clinical psychology or a PsyD degree, and it must be from a regionally accredited university and an "APA" accredited university program. https://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/programs/ Beware of online programs, many are not properly accredited here is an article about that https://www.geteducated.com/careers/534-apa-accredited-online-psychology-programs Any programs you research, always look into their accreditation status, make sure they are regionally accredited and that the program itself is approved for licensure in your state AND that it is accredited by the accrediting organization for the profession that degree is associated with. If you don't make sure your program is legit, or if it's not properly accredited and approved by your state, you get a very very expensive degree you can't do anything with. This happens ALL THE TIME. Don't let it happen to you, do your research!!!
  3. Hey consider joining our FB page "California Schools of Social Work MSW Applicant Support Group" there are others in your same boat and we all help each other with stuff like this. I think it's a big deal that you are getting your BSW. That means you could apply for advanced standing with some programs potentially. Even though you may not have as much field experience as SOME others, you have a BSW and that's going to count for something. I think letters of recommendation are going to be important for you in addition to the hours. So those places you interned, do you have an MSW or LCSW supervisor who could write you a glowing letter of rec? How about a social work professor? As for your specific number of hours, most schools suggest people apply with a year or two of experience, but people get in with less than that all the time. Do the majority of people with less than that get in? Not sure but that's why it's smart to apply to multiple programs like you are, and I'd also encourage you to get an early start and to apply and submit everything as close to the opening of apps as possible. CSULB is highly competitive and does admission on a rolling basis, meaning those who apply first have a better shot of getting in. I heard they had basically their whole cohort figured out within that first month. I personally applied there a year ago and dropped my packet off the first week, and got in. I believe CSUN is that way as well, but they aren't as competitive as CSULB. CSUF takes forever, they don't interview till like April and start releasing admission decisions in May usually. Anyhow the best thing you can do is to make a strong resume that highlights leadership and distinguishes you, that shows that in the short time you had those roles you described as your experience, you really got all you could out of that time and did great. I hope something in here helps, consider joining our group for additional support.
  4. Hey there! Everyone who is applying to MSW programs in California at private universities or the CSU and UC system, come on down and join this facebook group of current applicants, newly admitted students, and alumni for help in the application process. It's summer time so it's really time to work on your stuff so you can get your apps in at the start of the season and gain the advantage in rolling admission MSW programs and others that care about timeliness. I'm an MSW student at UCLA currently, starting my second year in this full time program and love it. I know the process of getting into grad school is intimidating and confusing, and thank god for Grad Cafe. There's no place like it, but for some additional support, please consider joining our group of over 500 members and posting your stats! Thanks and good luck!!!
  5. MSW is job ready without a license and would remain that way, so even if you somehow lost your license, you would still have your MSW and you could still work, not so with an MFT, the MFT degree is worthless in all reality without licensure. With a license, MSW (LCSW) can do anything an LMFT can do, and much more because the scope of practice is much larger. Just cause one CAN do anything doesn't mean they SHOULD though, and everyone should operate within their scope of competence. Most people say that whether you were LMFT LCSW LPCC you will all be about the same by 5 years post licensure in terms of capability and competence, you could spend the rest of your career studying and earning marriage and family therapy CEUs or training or psychodynamic or whatever, you can even have an LMFT supervisor for a lot of your clinical hours, so you can become the kind of therapist you want to be no matter your degree. MSW is good anywhere in the US. If you get burned out on therapy, as an MSW you can do many other jobs, anything an MFT can do and more. I also hear MFTs really struggling with finding supervision post grad, and having to pay a lot for it, and this isn't something I hear about with MSWs very often. Many jobs you would get post degree would include supervision and honestly none of us should take a job that doesn't if you want a license. Now, the catch is, you have to be smart about where you get your MSW make sure it has faculty and a concentration that suits your interests, and you have to be smart about where you do your 2nd year practicum and where you work post grad, and that includes where in the country you work. You are going to make just as much as any other therapist in your area once licensed, it's usually around $125-200 per session. The coastal states pay the most in terms of agency jobs. Lastly, the MFTs I worked with, prior to settling on the MSW, all said to get the MSW over the MFT. Now that's of course not what everyone will say but that's what I've heard. The only thing is, yes it's not as psychologyish as your undergrad. I was a psych undergrad too, but it's still a part of direct practice social work. It's person IN environment, with social work, and clinical social work is really focused on person and family or group. You will still be using psychology stuff, but you will gain in a greater understanding of culture, how people's social identities impact their lives, and will also end up being strong in your ability to connect clients to resources and case management light if need be. In the end, if you ask me, a well experienced LCSW is probably most capable. As for GPA it depends on the school, but generally speaking if you have around a 3.0 or greater GPA and about a years worth of social workish field experience you will get into some MSW school in your region, so long as you can write a good SOP and show you are ready. For more competitive schools it's probably closer to 3.5GPA and 1-2 years experience. Still though, they really aren't like clinical psych programs where GPA and your involvement in Psi Chi is important, and honestly research experience isn't as important either. Now that said some schools get a ton of applicants and the competition can be even higher. Like where I live in Los Angeles, it's CSU Long Beach, UCLA, and USC that have the most applied to programs. USC has a massive program, hundreds of students so they have plenty of room if you got the $$$ and good grades. CSULB gets thousands of applicants for a small 300 cohort group of students between their part time and FT program. UCLA I don't know how many applicants but probably close to CSULB, and it's an 80 person cohort, so the competition is intense. If you lived out here though, I could tell you 6 other MSW programs in the LA area you could probably get into if you did your part as an applicent and had a GPA around a 3.0-3.5 and a bit of field experience 1 year ish and could write up a good SOP, resume, and good letters of rec.
  6. Those applying to UCLA looking for program reveals or who have questions, let me know ❤️ Go Bruins
  7. @Bodhicaryavatara In social work school are grades based mostly on final exams, or on final research papers? Or is it a mix? Also, are there usually assignments periodically throughout the semester or are the grades 100% based on one thing? I've talked with students going to MSW programs in the Los Angeles region at the big schools in the area. It seems pretty similar across schools, but there are likely differences so I don't know that any of us can say what it will be like for sure. I'm at UCLA, I have friends at USC, CSULB, CSUF, CSULA, APU, and CSUDH, all are MSW all are CSWE accredited and all are accredited by the BBS which is California's regulatory board for licensing LCSWs which is important. Anyways, I was in 4 academic classes and 1 field study "class" which met periodically, while I went to practicum aka internship 16 hours a week as a 1st year MSW student. I had to do 3 powerpoint presentations, 3 group papers (10-20 pages) 3 individual papers (10-15 pages) and pass 2 exams which were in vignette form where you apply direct practice skills to a story about a pretend client, and make a case formulation and what not. These big papers and exams were typically due around midterms and finals time, there were a few presentations and papers due earlier though but the bulk seems to be due in the middle and the end. I also had to do weekly 1 page reading reflections for one of the classes which might not sound hard, but it was because it was a theory class and it wasn't easy to cram everything into one page, to be really succinct and break down 2-3 20 page articles. We also had weekly "process recordings" which are done at your field site and they are a rather lengthy analysis of your own engagement with a client, like an individual session, breaking down every little detail and explaining every single thing you did, at least that's the ideal. Then you review that once a week with your field supervisor who is your boss basically at the internship site who is supposed to train you and help you apply your academic skills as well. Keep in mind you will have to document everything you do with your clients as well just as though you worked at whatever agency you are placed at, and so that takes a lot of time each day. Beyond the above assignments, what's really maddening is all the reading, endless articles, some just make your eyes want to bleed for one reason or another. I'm pretty sure, well I know, most people didn't read more than like 75% of the readings, there simply isn't time. You then feel bad the whole time like you're a bad student and not doing your part, but in reality, there is just so much time in a day/week and you only have so much energy. As for how the grading goes, I don't think these schools are out to fail people, I think they are pretty forgiving with grading overall, but if you don't do your part and put in an effort I'd be worried about what could result. I mean if you aren't doing your work, or just bombing everything, I don't know but I'd wonder if they might excuse someone from the program or encourage them to re apply some time in the future. I know we are all required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, which I think is a CSWE requirement as well. What is the typical length of papers that you have to write? Kind of answered above but for us, this quarter, most papers were 10-15 or so pages. Now the thing is there are larger projects that will result in larger papers, one of our papers was like 18 pages but it was a group paper. There is also your 2nd year where you have to write either a Thesis, a giant individual research paper, or often a group type thesis, and for us it's called a cap stone project. These take a year to put together, it's basically a full blown full throttle all out effort research project/paper but since it's divided up as a group project usually, or that's at least an option in most programs, at least you can have your own areas of focus to some extent, for some parts of the paper, and it has to be sponsored by a faculty member. Are social work programs typically graded on a forced curve? I don't think so, I know ours isn't. Most students earn As and Bs. Keep in mind too, these are competitive programs, when people get here they know how to do college, they are all good students already, so the quality of their work even if they aren't giving it 100% is still going to be good. Outside of fieldwork/classes, how many hours do you spend a week on coursework? Ok so most of it is reading, and there is enough to read that you could probably just keep going till the next week lol I mean if you are like me and not the fastest reader. It depends if there are big projects going on that you need to work on or not. I'll put it this way, you can probably carve out one day on the weekend to take off, Saturday or Sunday, the rest of the week you will have things to work on in your free time. Here's the thing though, I was like the schedule master back in undergrad and didn't have to commute so I was able to plan all these hours to focus on my work. In grad school I'm commuting super early because driving across LA is awful and takes a long time, and I'm needing to go to bed extra early. That right there takes up time. On top of that it's the fact that I've had blocks of time set up to work on X project, but when I get to that time slot, I'm totally out of energy and ready to fall asleep, and there were times where that's exactly what I did. There is only so much you can do, especially as a new student. I can see how in time I'll get faster and better, but it's a rough first semester or quarter for everyone, no one is skipping through it like it's no big deal, it's hard work and it's hard on your body and mind. Not to mention you are doing practicum at an agency that probably has you face to face with people going through all sorts of unimaginable problems that you are supposed to help them solve, sometimes it gets very serious and you have to make mandated reports which utterly blows up your rapport with the client most the time, once they figure out you did it. Then there are things like suicide assessments and not really knowing what to do in the face of all sorts of really serious and for you, new situations. What's amazing though, for example, and I'll end with this, when you really need something your memory may just surprise you. I had never done a suicide assessment, but when my teenage client was seriously going down that path, I remembered everything and even applied those questions in a calm way that was authentic and in a language the client would understand, and was able to support the client. I'm a cis guy who generally does not get too emotional about stuff, but once I was alone in my car, I cried on the way home that day, it was rough, not cause I was thinking my client would die, but just the intensity of that whole situation, of that session. It's like walking away from bad car accident unhurt, or going through a really scary natural disaster, where once it's over, you are just fine, and then the weight of that whole thing hits square on your shoulders, that's what true responsibility feels like for me. There is a sense of responsibility that arises that is unlike anything I've ever felt before, and it's not like it's "cool" or "I feel important" "I'm an authority in mental health" No, no, it's OMG I need to shape the hell up, suit up, show up, and do the best I can and learn how to help because this is serious now, it's not a game.
  8. If interested, in addition to Grad Cafe, if you have facebook, consider joining the group "UC and CSU MSW Applicant Resource and Support Group," to link up with fellow applicants and grads.
  9. For anyone applying to the UCs and CSUs please join our Facebook group called UC and CSU MSW Applicant Resource and Support Group in addition to posting here. There are a little over 200 of us on there, some are applying now and getting advice and helping each other, some are currently in MSW programs, and some are graduated. I'm a first year at UCLA right now, so any questions please ask, good luck to all of you, knock out a good SOP that shows your writing skills, clean up and polish that resume to reflect your social work experience, and get some good recommenders with some credibility, ideally social workers or people in professional capacity who supervised you besides professors.
  10. So please join our facebook group called UC and CSU MSW Applicant Resource and Support Group in addition to posting here, there a little over 200 of us and some have already gotten into programs and some are applying now, we help each other out. I applied to UCLA, CSULB, and CSUF last year, got in all 3 and chose to go to UCLA where I am now as a first year MSW. CSUs and UCLA will only care about the last 60 semester or 90 quarter units in terms of your GPA, so that may help boost your odds, but it's not all about GPA obviously. You have a great background for these programs, and I'm sure you will get in at least one if you do your part and write up good SOPs, make your resume good and slick, and choose good recommenders. You can have a great background but if you turn in a poorly written SOP it's going to hurt you, I mean most of grad school is writing long papers, thinking critically about research articles, and then a ton of field work. I'm sure you will do great, you sound like a motivated future MSW student to me, please consider joining our facebook group and that goes for anyone interested in the UCs or CSUs.
  11. So I'm at UCLA, I can share a bit about it if you like, but I'm a first year so I have not taken the advanced courses yet, I'm in the general CSWE curriculum right now. 1) Yes, but it's up to you and how you use your time. This is a quarter based program, it is a lot of work and most of us can only manage to read so much, and at least in my case I tend to focus where I need to focus to pass classes, and not as much where I'd like to focus. It is probably like this in any program though, it's just a lot of work and time management. They do a good job of connecting the classes to your placement experiences and basically tie in direct practice into all the other classes like policy focused classes, theory focused, and others. Supervision is done at my placement and it's fine, I have a liaison at UCLA who also works with me and about 8 other students and we meet as a group every 3 weeks or so. I like my direct practice class, almost all the professors are PhD LCSWs, all are at least LCSWs, and have a good amount of private practice or agency direct practice under their belts. I think it's good training and a good program with a good amount of clinical emphasis and good placement options. 2) Field education is there if I need them, and I just have not had a lot of contact with them beyond required training modules and my field seminars. At first I saw my liaison weekly, then every few weeks and it just varies how often we meet depending on other events going on. My field faculty's office is always open, other faculty are also welcoming to students to talk with them, I feel very supported. The only thing I don't like is that sometimes they schedule events at times that I don't really prefer, but that's because I'm a commuter. 3) My learning for sure is more like national scope, in terms of applicability, but obviously placements are in the greater Los Angeles region including Orange and Ventura Counties. Primarily UCLA is a Los Angeles County focused school, and there is no online option so it's full time only, in person classes and field practicum throughout. If I was going to take this degree and go to another state, I'd need to learn that state's laws and whatnot, but the actual skills would be the same. Primarily I you will learn California based social work profession policies and laws, in addition to federal or national laws that everyone learns, and that's just common sense because we are in California. I'm planning to get licensed in California, and most everyone in our cohort who is getting licensed, is planning to work here as far as I know, but I do know of people who relocate and they seem to do fine. I'm interested in mental health and direct practice, I'd say about half the cohort is as well, and half the cohort is more social justice, policy focused. The MSW can be taken concurrently with some other masters programs like JD Law, MPub Policy, M Pub Health, so we get some students who are cross trained in those fields who bring that into the cohort and conversation. The school used to be known for it's "clinical" or direct practice focus, but is moving more toward a strong direct practice program, but also a strong policy, social justice curriculum for those who wish to focus there as well. As far as classes go in the 2nd year, there are a big variety, and they are considered advanced practice classes focused on your concentration. There are also more specific classes like child psychotherapy, CBT, DSM 5 and psychopathology, substance use disorders which is expanding to a certificate program, and classes for things like family therapy, and others that are probably exactly what you are talking about. I have not seen any specific psychodynamic based classes in terms of their titles, but all the LCSWs who teach direct practice classes have backgrounds in psychodynamic studies as well as the other theoretical approaches so you end up being exposed to that informally. I think it can be hard to tell which schools have programs with the most focus on how to do good direct practice and psychotherapy. I think at the end of the day, we truly do need to understand the other aspects of social work well to do the best job possible in direct practice, we bring something unique to the table that MFTs and LPCs and Psych's don't. The school is actually smaller than it might seem, we have 80 people in our cohort, and maybe 20-30 faculty. We are part of the larger Luskin School of Public Affairs which has the department of Social Welfare, and also Urban Planning and Public Policy departments. The MSW we earn is CSWE accredited, so in a legal sense it is like any other MSW earned, however the actual title of the degree is Master of Social Welfare. Again, it means the same thing. I know cost wise it's pretty pricey for out of state, but still cheaper than USC, and it's the best ranked MSW program in Southern California, and UCLA overall has just been ranked above Berkeley. Now that's overall undergraduate ranking lol, I do think the MSW program at Berkeley is probably a bit bigger since it's the flagship campus for the UCs. I know it's ranked higher as well, but I don't know how well they prepare you for direct practice versus more policy based SW, but I'd wager they are also strong in both sides of the field, and it would be a good choice. Check out our website and look at the faculty, the curriculum, and the application process and see what you think https://luskin.ucla.edu/social-welfare/. I also have a facebook group I admin that is for all UC and CSU MSW applicants called "UC and CSU MSW Applicant Resource and Support Group" and there are a little over 200 of us communicating about the application process going on there as well, and that includes UCLA and Berkeley. I wouldn't change my decision to go to UCLA. Any questions about UCLA specifically let me know.
  12. Hey if you are looking at CSUs join our FB page "UC and CSU MSW applicant support group" in addition to talking to people on here. What is your bachelors in, if it's a BSW that would be an advantage. The lower GPA because of addiction recovery is understandable, I'm in recovery too so right on. I think if you have an interest in policy that your background will help you. I have no idea how competitive CSUSB is though or how policy applicants establish a strong application, I was more of a micro applicant. Again I say join our FB group, and consider just calling CSUSB and the other schools MSW programs that you are interested in and see if they will talk with you or meet with you, attend their information sessions, and join their facebook pages and stuff and see what info you can gather. Generally speaking, to be a competitive applicant for MSW programs I'd say 3.0+ GPA is preferred, some programs may require you to take the GRE if your GPA is below a certain amount. Like some it's pretty high, those with a GPA under a 3.3 are required to take it, but not all MSW CSUs are like that. Sounds like if you are looking at APU or Loma Linda you did your homework on which programs are CSWE and BBS approved so that's good, I have no idea on applicants for those private schools. I'd aim for programs that have a strong policy side. I think CSUDH and CSULA do. UCLA has a strong policy side as well, so would be good to reach out to them if interested. In terms of waiting for next season I say give it a shot now, but try and get your apps in early on, because earlier applications are sometimes given preference, especially if it's a rolling admissions type admissions process.
  13. Also I think the OP asking about experience has enough experience to get in most places, but to max your chances I would do a good job on your resume and SOPs, good LORs and apply as close to the start of the application season as you can.
  14. Hi la et al, so I hear you, I would struggle with that being my placement as well at first, if I had something else in mind. You know how first year placements go, they place you somewhere you have zero experience intentionally. Now here is the thing, you can glean a lot out of this if you think about it, but at first glance it's not very obvious. First of all I say join the reddit forum for social work and talk about this there as well, you will get lots of great insight, and an account is free, also there is a psychotherapy reddit. I'll link them at the bottom of this post. There is no reason that your second year can't be at a school district or doing some other kind of youth social work that is clinical and up your alley, so don't panic yet, most people get weird placements their first year that they wouldn't choose themselves. An immigrant nursing home... well for one thing you are going to encounter kids and teens who are visiting their grandparent and may need some support. You will be working with families I'd imagine, not just the elderly members of those families. Old people were once young, many may have issues come of from their own childhood and youth that you might help them with. There is also going to be the chance I think to really learn from families in this setting, in an intimate way. You will be talking to middle aged adult children, who are with their elderly parents, the stories they talk about are often going to be from the past, as will be some of the conflicts, and you will see first hand how the struggles and imprints of childhood and adolescence grow and develop in time in the lives of those you will work with. So your training will begin at the Omega, the end of life, where the cumulative effects of childhood on life finally end. After this, you will have a deeper appreciation for the work you do for the young, a deeper understanding of what is to come, of the struggles of families, and you will delve deep into the Alpha, the beginning of life. I think you will get the exposure you desire, but maybe right now this is absolutely necessary for your complete development professionally, as well as spiritually. Social Work Sub Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/socialwork/ Psychotherapy Sub Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/psychotherapy/
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