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So I found myself having a year off to do AmeriCorps, so I'm hoping to apply to more schools this fall since I have the opportunity. I have deferred my admission to NYU until Fall 2013 but was looking at more affordable options, so far I've been looking at: University of Washington, University of Pittsburgh, VCU, Hunter, Maryland, Albany and Rutgers. Could anyone give me insight into any of these schools? I've been looking strictly based on price (even though I would be out of state most of these schools would still be significantly less expensive than NYU). I would really appreciate it :) Anything helps!

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Hi Sarah. I'd love to offer you some insight on Pitt's programs. I work at the university, finished my undergrad here, and will be attending the Direct Practice MSW program in the fall. The MSW program has a strong focus on diverse populations and research-based methodology. They require two field placements - a generalized one your first year and one in your specialty the second. You also have two options for choosing your focus, direct practice with individuals, families, and small groups with optional specializations and certificates (health care, gerontology, mental health, school SW, child and family), and COSA (community organization and social admin) which is the more macro-focused choice. I don't know a ton about COSA, since I chose direct practice. Because of the huge presence of academia, medicine, and its city location, there is an abundance of field placement opportunities to be had. Pitt's Center for Race & Social Problems is highly active in the community and in research internationally. Class sizes are small, never more than 25. And faculty are great from what I understand - most are either involved clinically or in research with collaborations across campus (psychiatry, public health, aging, etc). Also, Pitt SW was just ranked 11th in the nation, for what it's worth, and the city is often ranked the #1 most liveable city year after year. Well, hope that helps. :)

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I don't think it matters if an MSW program is highly ranked or not unless you plan on getting a PhD. Organizations that hire MSW's usually do not consider the school of the potential employee as part of the consideration.

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Thank you PittMSW12 :) That really helps! Right now I am thinking of doing more macro work, and working for a non-profit somewhere down the line (possibly doing some international work). I do plan on getting my PhD Zorah, (after a couple of years out working) which is why I am looking at these higher ranked programs, but also why I'm looking at more affordable options. I've heard Pitt has a great reputation as a whole, which is why I am excited to look into it further, and it will definitely be one I will be applying to! Thank you!

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I know these aren't the schools you're asking about, but I would recommend looking into San Francisco State University's MSW program. I've heard nothing but great things about their program. They're one of the few state schools (Hunter would be another one) that's located smack dab in an urban city, which offers a unique perspective into urban social issues, diverse populations, diverse cohort, faculty, etc. SFSU and Hunter are also ridiculously affordable. If I were to apply again, I would definitely apply to Hunter. I've heard it compared to UCLA (the UCLA of NY/east coast). I chose not to apply to SFSU only because I wanted to move out of the bay area to get a different perspective (then come back); otherwise, it would have been a good option.

UC Berkeley's MSW is also really great and more affordable than NYU (although I don't know how much out of state tuition is). My previous supervisor graduated from Cal and loved it. She did the nonprofit admin. route. The bay area in general is a fantastic place for social work as it's completely saturated with nonprofits - LOTS of interesting field education placement options. I feel like there's at least one organization addressing pretty much any social issue you're interested in. It's also a pretty darn great place to live, but it definitely comes at a price. It isn't the cheapest place to live, but totally doable! I do it on a nonprofit salary and also managed to get by in San Francisco when I was living off of the AmeriCorps stipend!

Good luck with everything!

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