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Worried about Tuitions

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Hi, so I'm kind of stressed out right now, and I haven't even applied to any schools yet. 
I have read previously to not take into consideration the tuition too much right now as you don't know what the final amount will be until you hear back from them their offers.

That being said, I'm struggling to do that. The schools that I'm planning on applying to are Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) , CaseWestern, UW Seattle, Chapel Hill, UofChicago, and UPenn. 
Chapel Hill and UW Seattle are both about $34k/yr, WashU is about $42k/yr, CaseWestern $45k/yr, and the big two UofC and UPenn about $50k+/yr.

I'm really interested in the schools that have programs that I can focus on youth through BOTH school social work and Non Profit Management as I want to be able to work with marginalized youth and I have desires working in both school social work and also through a non profit that supports these youth. 

WUSTL, Case, and UWSeattle have the best programs for me that I can do that (that I have found). At WUStL is can get a children youth and families concentration with a school social work track and a specialization in management. At Case I can get a school social work focus with a certification in non profit management (or dual degree)  and at UW I have a couple options.

The other three are not my top choices but I believe have good programs that i would benefit from....but especially UPenn and UofC are $$$ but offer great courses that I think are really interesting and would help me be better in social work. 

Am I being crazy? Should I be applying to UIC instead of UofC as it's $20k/yr less? Should I be applying to RIC? I live in Rhode Island currently and they have a non profit certification as well and it would only cost $9600/yr but that would mean I'd have to stay here two more years and both my wife and I are unhappy here.

Ultimately, I'm worrying too much about tuition when I keep hearing I shouldn't worry too much about it until I have my offers....but should I be applying to cheaper schools if I'm concerned about costs now? I don't want to apply to too many schools.

My GPA was okay. I received a 3.12 but progress is definitely noticeable. I received a 2.7 in community college and then a 3.4 at the University level and then took 4 courses afterwards for certifications and for personal growth, getting a 4.0 which would boost my GPA ultimately to about a 3.2. I do have transcripts for all of this.

Thoughts on any of this is appreciated.


 

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Where do you hope to live when you graduate?  Apply for schools in that region. You can do the work that you say interests you with a degree from anywhere, although some states require specific curriculum or license to for a school social worker. A school in the state you want to work will be most likely to offer the certificate toward licensure that the state requires.

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So, the biggest oddballs for me are Washington University in St Louis and Chapel Hill. I've never been to either place and it's hard to tell if I'd enjoy it, especially after graduation. I am planning on visiting both schools in the next few months though. At least with Chapel Hill, I can go to Charlotte after graduation. If I go to RIC, I have no interest in staying in Rhode Island after graduation. As for the other schools, I can see myself in Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Seattle for a number of years after graduation.

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I did decide that I will apply to RIC. Before any awards may be given it is by far the cheapest option for me because of in-state tuition. I can always decide after I receive award letters from other schools which school I will go to. There's the chance that after awards are given that there other schools might present as affordable or more affordable than RIC.

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I applied to UC (98k) - 3rd in the country for SW,  and UIC (31k for the program) - 25th in the country for SW.

 

I definitely think COST is a huge factor to be considered before accepting admission into graduate school, however should not stop you from at least applying. I applied to 9 schools and spent about $690 in application fees, but for me it was a small fee to pay in order to weigh out my options. Especially because Grad School is a one time decision for me. 

 

I think that everything you are looking for in grad school should be considered when making a decision and that finances alone should not be the only driver, but a prime one.

 

I think it's important to apply to state schools and "safe schools" to weigh out options and cost. There are a lot of state schools that have amazing programs and agencies they work with, for instance UIC is partnered with over 400 agencies in the Chicago area and has one of the best connections with the Chicago hospitals, for those interested in medical sw.

 

Rutgers University is a state school and is ranked number 17 in the country and has many certification programs in addition to the program to allow specialization in an area you may be super interested in (for me global social work).

 

I think personal factors need to be taken into consideration - how much debt can you afford to take on for grad school, how much of your savings can you use, how much in scholarships could you potentially receive? A MSW will not provide an a great internal rate of return on your investment (financially), so you have to consider how you will pay that debt off.

 

Also - I’ve researched this for months because I applied to UC and UIC , and from what I gathered in the Chicago area, graduates from both areas have been able to secure comparable jobs & salaries.

 

An MSW is not equivalent to a MBA. Agencies are look more toward your experience than education, there is a reason MSW programs are a lot easier to get into than other Graduate programs. It is about the professional experience you bring with you.

 

Anywho, just my humble opinion. Good Luck, hope it works out!

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Hey there! 

 

I am currently in my second year at Loyola Chicago which for just tuition is a little over 30k but with living expenses is more like 46 a year. My girlfriend is in her first year at UIC and her tuition bill honestly made me tear up in jealousy. I am very happy with my choice and I feel like I am very prepared for clinical work I also know that I would probably be just as prepared at UIC ( which also has a way more racially diverse student body, something that is often not found in social work programs). I think it really comes down to the kind of person you are. I like reading about and doing my own research into clinical work, I took it upon myself to read through the criteria in the DSM of the most common diagnoses, if I wasn't getting something in class I looked for it on my own. I think that you can make any school and any program great if you want it and are self motivated. I also think that advocating and pushing for the internship sites you want can make all the difference. As much as you learn in the class room, you learn 50x as much in your placements. 

If you are interested in children and family's I'd say UChicago is not worth all that money. It is a research and policy focused school and is not well known for its emphasis on the clinical side of things. University of Maryland Baltimore has a very strong emphasis on Children and family, gives a fair amount of aid, and is in a city with some great internship sites! 

Long story short, if I could go back I would think more about the debt that is now sitting, waiting for me. The experience is what you make it and you can do great things if you want no matter what program you are at. 

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@HannahRae Do you mind if PM you? You seem to have alot of insight and I have been scavanging these forums for information, but things are very disbursed. You make such great points and I agree with making the most of your experience. How is your GF like UIC?? It currently is a strong contender in my gradaute decision. Overall - the financials will most likely drive my decision. How ar you enjoying your program? Did you already come from a SW background?

 

I've also applied to UMD a month ago and they have not even started reviewing fall applications! The waiting is the hardest part. How long before your heard back from UMD?

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I lived in Rhode Island, and it charmed the pants off me. Plus, it is a very affordable place to live. I wouldn't right off RIC.

Edited by LisaOh

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On 11/15/2019 at 1:57 PM, The Finance Girl said:

@HannahRae Do you mind if PM you? You seem to have alot of insight and I have been scavanging these forums for information, but things are very disbursed. You make such great points and I agree with making the most of your experience. How is your GF like UIC?? It currently is a strong contender in my gradaute decision. Overall - the financials will most likely drive my decision. How ar you enjoying your program? Did you already come from a SW background?

 

I've also applied to UMD a month ago and they have not even started reviewing fall applications! The waiting is the hardest part. How long before your heard back from UMD?

Yeah you can definitely message me!! 

My girlfriend is really enjoying it! She doesn't have a background in social work and I think that is working on her favor there because it seems like a more generalized program. However some of my friends are amazing amazing social workers who went there with tons of experience beforehand and still got a lot out of it! 

 

I really love my program. I have made some great friends and I really love that Loyola is a very clinically focused program. I love that you can get your CADC while in school for no extra cost and Loyola is one of the few programs that offers a separate groups and advanced groups class. 

 

I heard from UMD in mid January! I really love the location and potential internship sites but their programs big emphasis on children and  familys didn't really fit what I wanted. 

And yeah! I was a housing case manager for several years and then the coordinator of an affordable housing program for a few more years before going to school. 

 

Also one random piece of advice for everyone. If you can, check out what kind of insurance the program offers and see what kind of mental health coverage they have. Having the ability to get your therapy covered while in school is really important. You gotta take of yourself through this whole process! 

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