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Getting accepted to USC MSW Program


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Hello all,

I'm looking for a little bit of career couseling. I am a active duty military person stationed in CA who plans on retiring in 4 years after 24 years of service. I am currently 6 classes from finishing my BA in Psychology from American Military University (AMU). I would like to continue my studies at the University of Southern California (USC) in pursuit of a MSW with a concentration on services for military personnel.

I have searched high and low for a good program that would meet my goals and have to admitt that USC's program appears to meet all of my expectations and more. My major concern would be the selection process. Do you think I would still have a fair shot at acceptance even though I am still on active duty? I know it is a very demanding program which is what I prefer. I have achieved my goals in the military by rising to the rank of E-9 and would like to now concentrate on setting myself up for a new career after retirement. The program that I do apply for and hopefully get accepted to has to be offered online in order for me to complete due to my military service. I was looking at the Sonoma State and California State-Long Beach partnership program but the next time they will be accepting students will be in 2013.

I'm kinda lost because I know what I want to do after the military but am at a lost on how to get the ball rolling. I have been a counselor for numerous years in the military and really enjoy what I do. Now I would like to find a way to apply those same ethics and service outside of my uniform. I think I would be a asset working in a VA Hospital due to my experience and my combat experience. What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think I have a good shot at getting accepted at USC? Have you seen any other active duty members get accepted to USCs MSW program?

I currently have a GPA of 3.3 which I plan on raising to a 3.5 or 3.6 upon graduation in January. I have looked at all of the accrediation of the different courses and programs, college ratings, students review and so forth but cannot get USC out of my head. It offers a program that presents the challenge that I want and thrive on. Yes the program is expensive but the way I look at it... where there is a will there is a way. I have a quote that I try to apply to everything that I do and it fits what I'm trying to do now perfectly.

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." General Colin L. Powell.

I look forward to hearing your opinions and advice. Thank you in advance.

Striving for a new career...smile.gif

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sergent Major,

I too, was very interested in the USC program, it clearly seems to be the best for military social work. I would not recommend beginning the online MSW while you are still on active duty. There will be field placements that you must complete that are 16-24 hours a week. How you can fit that in while being active duty? Many field placements don't have night or weekend hours. I would talk to the admissions counselors at USC, they will be able to give you the best information. For example, I wanted to start the online program while I was deployed and they told me that it would be possible to participate but that you MUST be available to do a video classroom during certain times. The time might be in the middle night where I am because of the time difference, I know the online MSW from USC has a part time to full time option where you take a few classes and then you ramp up with the field work. This would be possible to do in the last 6-9 months of your career because once you are retired you can jump into the field placement and finish the degree. Once again, I urge you to call USC to get the details and figure out what is logistically possible due to your current career.


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