marina415 Posted October 16, 2013 Share Posted October 16, 2013 Hello friends, I'd love to get some guidance on how to determine one's competitiveness when it comes to choosing and applying to MSW programs. This would be a career switch for me, and I don't have direct experience in social work, but I have international experience with social justice issues, and am really passionate about pursuing direct practice (individual or community level) with refugees and immigrants, or working internationally in post-conflict areas. Long term I could see myself in an advocacy or policy-making role but I would like to start out working directly with people in a more hands-on way; I will therefore probably go the clinical route though I am not ruling out the macro track. So how can you gauge the likelihood of getting into certain schools without an obvious background in social work? I am really interested in Columbia, UW-Seattle and Boston College. However, I am not sure if it would be a better strategy to apply to less sought-after programs, because my primary aim is to gain the core skills of an MSW program and work as a social worker as soon as possible. I suspect I would also be quite happy working with non-international populations, and/or I could integrate my international background into my career down the line. Some background: I have been out of college about 5 years, working full-time in the non-profit sector supporting social justice/environmental campaigns in Africa, in a program administration capacity (I am based in DC but have traveled extensively to West Africa and am bilingual in French/English). Prior to that job I was an organizer in the 2008 presidential campaign in a rural part of the US. I do not have strong volunteer work to point to in an application. I majored in anthropology at a very well regarded department at a top US university. To be honest my overall GPA was not fantastic, but definitely above the 3.0 cut-off, and I am hoping that my undergrad university's reputation will help offset the OK but basically unimpressive grades. I have not taken the GRE. I would love to apply to the dream schools, but if it is too much of a long shot, I'd rather apply somewhere where I have a higher chance of getting in. I recognize that the importance of name-brand prestige is pretty moot with MSW programs, so I don't feel "Harvard or bust" about it in any way, but I would like to be somewhere that offers strong course and placement options in my core interest areas. I'd love to hear about: 1. how you went about assessing your own competitiveness (especially those of you coming to social work from another track); 2. if you have any thoughts about my particular competitiveness; 3. any schools I should consider either as good "safeties" or "reaches" (I've ruled out Michigan despite its strong global focus - too expensive imho). Thanks much for reading this long post! Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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