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Everything posted by TheCrow

  1. There are probably not many alternative placements that would allow you to keep working full time. I would think about what your goals are here - pragmatically, you probably just want to finish the degree. Just make sure that you can get your supervisor to articulate some goals that will be used to assess you (or is just going to check off that you're doing fine).
  2. Last Year - When do I start applying for jobs?

    It also depends on where you're applying, and what level of position you're applying for. Government positions may have a very different timeline than nonprofits. More senior position (like if you went back for a degree after a lot of experience) may have a longer hiring time than entry level positions.
  3. Social Work Program with Statistics

    Yes, my degree was an MSW. Higher education financing is complicated and based on my experience, people in this forum seem to make blanket assumptions (like public schools are always more expensive). Columbia and USC seem to bury everyone in debt, but some of the other schools do have more money than they might admit. I got about 2/3rds from the school, and then I covered the rest with my research grant from my second year. I would apply to a number of fields and programs and see what the outcomes are. Also consider that you may be able to ask for more money at private schools based on other offers. I didn't realize your interests were clinical - economics and political science certainly make no sense then. I don't have any knowledge to comment on clinical psych hiring. I would be surprised if the market were worse for them, although I'm sure admissions is much more competitive. There's another thread somewhere hard about "Insights from a professor" that may address many of your questions, and that faculty member suggests going somewhere that's affordable even if it's not brand name. One of the caveats though is that even though you might be able to get a PhD in social work without a master's in social work, it will make it very, very difficult to get a faculty position because you won't meet CSWE's requirement to teach the practices courses (which is a master's in social work and two years of post-MSW experience). I would consider applying to other relevant field's PhD and integrating the MSW into the degree during your studies on a part-time or extended basis. If you go for an MSW first, you may find the debt and pay elsewhere to keep you from continuing along your path and the MSW will probably not be relevant to a PhD.
  4. Social Work Program with Statistics

    I also realized I didn't answer part of your question. MSW/PhD programs, for the most part, basically exist for a very small number of midcareer professionals in related fields with a master's in a related field.
  5. Social Work Program with Statistics

    A statistics PhD is for those who want to make original contributions to the field of statistics, such as developing new estimators and such. You will probably have a hard time convincing such programs that your research interests are a good fit. You might want to consider a PhD in economics, political science, or sociology depending on your research interests. Economics will certainly have the best chance at a good job and the best quantitative training, although it will have the most competitive admissions. Michigan has a joint PhD in social work and economics, but they are the only ones. I applied straight out of undergraduate and was not admitted to any joint MSW/PhD programs, although I attended a well-ranked master's program with a good amount of funding based on my research interests. What I realized was that there are vast epistemological differences across fields. Frankly, my experience was that certain fields like statistics and economics are based on quality of outcomes, while the individuals in those fields are more likely to have biases against traditionally disadvantaged groups. Fields like social work, education, and theology are basically about paying your dues, not making novel contributions. I don't think it's unfair to characterize my experience in my master's program as a bunch of busy work that constitutes a hazing process to make you feel like you got your money's worth and are part of the discipline. For the most part, it was going through the motions. There was very little opportunity to take advanced classes from other fields (apparently I was basically the first person to petition out of basic stats + basic research methods, and that was a real struggle by itself), and there was no time to devote to rigorous quantitative classes anyway. The classes we did take did not allow sufficient opportunity to integrate research. Outside of the top group of social work PhDs, it starts to look a lot like lower ranked programs in education and nursing that have begun to offer what can honestly be characterized as fake PhDs: programs that take your money in exchange for an inflated credential, while not actually teaching you to do research (which is the whole point of a PhD). This field, like education, basically requires a master's degree (read: debt) and having existed long enough in a related role to have paid your debts, regardless of whether you've learned anything. That means research ability is very unlikely to get you into an MSW/PhD program unless you have a master's (which, again, the master's in social work is not research focused). I was very clear when I came in that I was interested in policy and research. The faculty had not interest in what I was doing (many not being social workers and having been denied tenure from higher status fields, and others not having published in awhile). I ended up having to find a mentor outside of the program and was actually awarded an extraordinarily large research grant. This made some of the faculty in my program very jealous and upset. I left the program with several good publications - far exceeding the median number of peer-reviewed publications (roughly zero) of those who had finished their PhDs at this top-ranked programs. I realized that if I wanted to be the kind of scholar that I wanted to be, I would need to attend a PhD program in a different field. The opportunity cost of the PhD is very high, however, and there are increasingly fewer tenure-track positions. If you choose to pursue academia, remember that you don't need a PhD in social work (an MSW + a PhD in a field with better methodological training is probably preferable), and you don't need to be in a social work department to research social welfare or counseling. I finished the program and took a more quantitative public sector job with good work-life balance where I feel like I really get to have an impact on an everyday basis. Fairly soon my salary will exceed the average for associate professors at 4-year schools, and I plan to continue to publish without going back for the PhD. Really think about what your goals are and what you want to out of your career. (Disclaimer, of course, that I can't speak for other's experiences at my program or to what other programs are like.)
  6. Social Work Program with Statistics

    Honestly, you're probably better off getting a PhD in a different field and getting permission to earn the MSW as part of that PhD program.
  7. Struggling between Macro MSW & MPA

    I just graduated from a macro focused MSW program and had considered a joint MSW/MPA. For me, I already had many of the quantitative/technical skills that an MPP/MPA would teach from my undergraduate degree. I took mostly macro classes during my MSW and I didn't think they were very good because they assumed you knew so little. There's a big distinction between getting the skills you want, versus "signaling" to future employers that you're a good fit/part of the club for what they do. I took my MSW from a name-brand school and turned it into an amazing macro position. No one asked me anything about my degree during the interview and I couldn't have gotten the job if it wasn't for my undergraduate degree. On the other hand, you also have to balance those two factors with the cost. In my opinion, I think it might make sense to apply to a number of different types of programs so that you have many different options. My classes weren't the most relevant in my program, but the social work program at my school has infinitely more financial aid than our school of public policy. Especially if you are eligible for advance standing, that could be a great option to get the degree done (if you can do it in one year, you not only save a year of tuition, but gain back a whole additional year to make a salary). If you're comparing between programs are local, non-brand-name schools (which is a completely valid option!) I think I would definitely go with an MPA unless you want to manage direct service programs. Then they're might be an advantage to an MSW (since you can supervise students and eventually other social workers). I'm not convinced an MSW/MPA makes that much sense for many people - one master's is usually sufficient. The last comment I have is that I would give real consideration to evening or part-time programs in either vein that will let you keep working while you earn a degree. I think that doing that is definitely an underrated option and I wish I had been in a position to do it.
  8. Struggling between Macro MSW & MPA

    What are your goals? This is very specific to your goals.
  9. I started on this forum when I was looking through master's programs. I'm graduating next month and I just wanted to add a few things I've realized for those interested in policy. For background, I had a fairly quantitative undergrad and entered the MSW at a "top" school right after undergrad. I got good financial support and then a large research grant in my second year that wiped out most of my remaining debt, and was able to churn out a number of publications. I got a great summer internship after my first year in DC. I was able to turn that into a great full-time position, but in a quantitative role that is not traditional social work and which I would not have qualified for without my undergrad degree. 1. Most "policy" happens at the state or federal level. Other policy positions, as mentioned by the OP, are agency-level positions that are effectively based on experience. Getting a true entry level position in policy requires hard skills (such as econ, stats, research) that will likely be difficult to obtain during your MSW (and even if you do, you'll often be considered part of "the other"), unless it's a generalist "program coordinator" type role that you work your way up from. Federal positions are quite difficult to get at the entry level without veteran's preference, not even mentioning the present climate. 2. In general social work privileges experience for its own sake. There seems to be a lot of "dues paying" (waiting for it to be your turn to move up) and a lot of focus of people remaining in the area they graduated from, compared to many other fields. To that end, consider where you are. Many major cities have local policy, state policy, and regional offices of federal agencies. If you don't have strong skills in in-demand fields like I mentioned above and don't get them through a dual-degree or elsewhere, you're probably better off avoiding debt and working your way up through experience. 3. If you're interested in a PhD, please remember that the degree (and many of the positions you use it for) are about research, not teaching. You may be better off getting an MSW followed by a PhD in a different field that provides better methodological training for your research interests. And if you're not aiming for a full-time academic position, you may be better of just getting one research-based master's in something else (there's likely more funding for it too). 4. The highest ranked programs are the most likely to admit students with little experience, but the most likely to bury them in debt. Make sure to thoroughly consider all of your options. Recruiting is also a lot more siloed at the graduate level - so the school name may not carry you into positions that other professional schools get recruited for without a whole lot of hard work and luck. 5. I'm very happy with where I ended up, but I feel uniquely fortunate. Most of my classes were 30+ people squished around a table called a "graduate seminar" (when 30+ people is, by definition, not a graduate seminar). The focus was not at all on the master's students and little seemed to be gained by anyone from the classes - there was a lot of showing up and going through the motions. A large portion of the tenured faculty were not social workers at all and were hard to meet with due to field hours. Even being research focused at a school obsessed with research, I had to work with faculty elsewhere at the University. 6. "International social work" at the master's level, excluding wealthy students studying in the US from abroad, seems to be much less existent than prospective students seem to imagine.
  10. Funding in the US for International students

    Not for the master's.
  11. UChicago SSA Fall 2017 A.M. applicants

    I think professors try pretty hard not to use many textbooks, though in your first two quarters that may be less true. In terms of room and board, there's basically no graduate housing - you're gonna have to get somewhere "off campus" and you're not going to be at school enough to really be eating meals on campus. Housing costs depend a lot on where you live and at least my year SSA was really unhelpful with that. I would check UChicago's marketplace (which is like a UChicago-only version of craigslist). If you want a studio, you'll often pay $1000+ a month, but if you're okay with living with other people, you can bring that cost down quite reasonably. I spent $625 a month my first year and and $665 my second year a month to live with two roommates in Hyde Park. There are significant advantages and disadvantages to living in different places and it's hard as a first year since you don't know where you're field placement will be before you commit to housing. I lived in Hyde Park both years - the public transportation is just not that good in my opinion to be commuting in and out a ton every week. Hyde Park is also cheaper than many other neighborhoods.
  12. UChicago SSA Fall 2017 A.M. applicants

    Congrats on getting in! Just as a note, you can bring in up to $5000 in external funding a year before they reduce your SSA award.
  13. Questions tuition and programs

    Actually, private universities often engage in more tuition discounting (raising tuition only to then hand out a lot of scholarships), whereas public universities often have far fewer scholarships so most people pay sticker price. I'm always concerned when I see people applying to a ton of out-of-state public schools.
  14. MSW with a low GPA

    Also, from a 2011 article: "Top-ranked programs tended to be nonselective as regards MSW student admissions. Admissions rates of 70%, or even 80%, at our leading schools of social work raise serious concerns about the motivations and consequences of lax admissions standards, particularly when the universities housing these schools are known to have already accumulated mountainous endowments." "Our Best Schools of Social Work: How Good Are They?" in Social Work Research.
  15. Funding for MSW???

    The majority of MSW students just take large amounts of debt and with field placements, there often aren't many hours to work for money.
  16. MSW with a low GPA

    The most recent publication on this topic is "Picky, picky, picky: ranking graduate schools of social work by student selectivity" published in 2009. Recently, the Council on Social Work Education has intentionally denied access to acceptance rate information. As of that time, San Franscisco had the lowest admissions rate of any MSW program, at 17.4% with an 87% yield rate (87% of those admitted enrolled). Columbia, at that time, had an 63.2% admissions rate with a 69.2% yield rate. Hunter has a 37.1% acceptance rate with a 66.9% yield rate. New York University had a 70.4% admissions rate with a 39.4% yield rate. Basically, the "top ranked" US News schools have much higher admissions rates, but tend to bury graduates in huge amounts of debts that they tend to ignore. Of the "top" schools, UChicago and Case seem to have among the most financial aid.
  17. Primarily because professional schools want to take your money and then see you do really well (as a good representation of them and help in recruiting). It's easiest for them to just admit the people with likelihood of being successful (in terms of knowing people and having already gotten promotions), rather than take people who aren't in the field and hope they'll make it work. Law school admits people in such a way as to keep the rank high (LSAT and GPA), since that's what everyone in law seems to care about, and they really don't care whether that means you'll be a good lawyer because that's not their problem.
  18. I hate to say it, but I don't think it's unheard of for a social work student to get to a field placement the first day and know it's just not going to work out. Field offices then deflect any criticism, knowing they don't have enough resources or placements and honestly know very little about where they're sending students.
  19. Career Change to Social Work

    From other's postings here, students at Columbia and NYU report having the same field placements as students at Hunter. In terms of GRE, basing your decision on where to apply based on who doesn't require the GRE is very short-sighted. Graduate school--particularly at the cost of these programs and the expected earnings afterwards--is a huge life decision. A lot of decisions may seem reasonable because it feels like everyone else is doing it, but a huge number of people are buried in absurd amounts of debt.
  20. Career Change to Social Work

    Do you want to focus on policy or direct practice? It sounds like you're largely aiming for school based on their brand appeal. For direct practice, no one really cares where you went and many of the "top schools" just employ a large cadre of adjuncts to teach their practice classes. For policy-focused students, the name of your school matters more, but you might be better off in a different type of program, especially if you're not offered a lot of funding. I think you'll find that, in general, you don't have to worry about competitiveness for social work programs. The brand name schools are actually easier to get into than the lower-ranked program. The problems is that many of them (places like NYU, USC, and Columbia in particular) give very little need-based and merit aid, so the bigger struggle is getting into a program that is avoidable. While public service loan forgiveness is available, remember that you will have to still pay a lot toward the loans over that time period.
  21. MSW volunteer experience and admission

    It really depends a lot on the programs. The higher-ranked programs tend to be more forgiving of a lack of experience, but they often admit those students with little funding. The lower-ranked programs tend to be far more obsessed with experience.
  22. UChicago vs. UPenn

    JD admission at UChicago and UPenn is far, far more competitive than the MSW programs and is based primarily on LSAT score. Because of American Bar Association requirements (ABA), you will also not really be able to do a joint degree if you haven't already applied because you can't count courses toward a JD if they were taken before you started the JD program. You might consider asking UPenn if they're willing to match your SSA offer. I would also strongly encourage you to visit both programs - you're going to be living there for two years.
  23. MSW v. MPP/MPA: Social Policy/admin/leadership

    I applied to both public affairs and social work programs last year and ended up enrolling at UChicago's social work program. I think the program will get me where I need to go, but there are a number of downsides and I think one of the major reasons it will work for me is my quantitative undergrad. One of the advantages, however, is that many of the social work programs are more affordable. It really depends on what you want to do, however. Feel free to PM me.
  24. University of Chicago SSA - Fall 2016

    Just as a note, you can search for an apartment on uchicago's internal version of craigslist:
  25. It's a reputation survey to deans and other major people at social work schools.