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Deciding between CSU's


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Hey all! Questions for Fall 2014 CSU MSW applicants, or anybody who has helpful input, opinions or advice: 


Do any of the CSU MSW programs stand out for any reason?  

Do you give much weight to the US News & World Report rankings?  

Besides location, what criteria are you using to decide which school to attend? 


I have considered the fit of each program, and while there are some differences, I don't see a significant difference in the coursework or emphasis of the overarching programs or concentration areas offered. (With the exception of CSUN, which has a "generalist" focus, so there are no concentration areas.)


I have applied to several CSU's, and have been accepted by SDSU and CSUF so far, still waiting on the rest.  I have an academic advisor (he's an lcsw and psy-d) who believes that the difference between programs is negligible, that the USNWR rankings are meaningless, and that desired location alone is an adequate deciding factor between programs.


What do you think?  

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Have you read the mission statements of the different CSU programs you applied for? That might be the best way to get a feel for the differences between the goals of the programs. As for CSUs, I applied to SJSU and SFSU. From what I gather it seems like SJSU has a trans-cultural focus, which stuck out to me as a little different from the rest of the CSUs. My top choice is SFSU (still painstaking waiting to hear from them), and I applied to their Individuals, Families and Groups concentration. Part of my desire to go to SFSU has to do with cost of the program and location, as a bunch of the other programs I applied to are really expensive.


I plan to work in mental health in the Bay Area, and the IFG concentration (combined with the opportunity for the CalSWEC Mental Health Stipend Program) seems to be a good fit for me personally, but their selectivity worries me.


My understanding is that location is really important when choosing a school in this field because of the networking opportunities for employment after graduation. A social worker I know at UCSC who attended USC told me that the fieldwork component of these degrees is what lands you a job when your classwork is finished.

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Thanks for the response inatcup!   I applied to SFSU's IFG concentration as well, but that 5% acceptance rate has my hopes low.  Did you get into Cal's MSW? (...the UC referenced in your footer?)  If so, that's wonderful!  Would you choose SFSU over UCB?


I have definitely spent time reading each program's mission statement, but for the most part my understanding is that they all emphasize turning out culturally-competent, urban setting practitioners who approach social justice from a ecological and strengths-based pov. Wonderful values!  But based on that I didn't feel like there would be a huge difference, program to program. 


I've had the same advice given to me on fieldwork. Making solid professional connections and having a great placement are key to employment post-degree.  


I guess since I'm open to relocating, I was hoping for another factor to help me tip towards one program or another.  


Thanks for your time and best of luck for SFSU! 

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I actually didn't apply to Cal because of their research based program/GRE requirement. I'm still finishing my undergrad and won't be done until June, and at the time when I was applying, taking the GRE wasn't really an option.


SFSU has my hopes low too, and the wait is making me super anxious. It sounds like if you're open to relocating, you should check out some of the faculty profiles and start exploring professor's interests. Maybe that will give you more of an idea of who you'd be working with at each program and help your decision.

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  • 2 years later...



Thanks for all of this wonderful info. I'm actually relocating from South Carolina to California...I'm going to start on at least one application tonight, just to get the process started, but I have no idea what the locations of each of these schools mean or what that would mean for my career. What I do know is that policy-wise, when things happen in California or New York, it tends to reverberate throughout the country. I want to be a part of that change and I've already lived in New York for 13 years. I want to spend the next 10+ years of my life in California and traveling, working in/for the communities I serve.


Any insight into LOCATIONS would be helpful! Cost of living of moderate to mild would be good. I'm not looking to live in the priciest places. I want the most bang for my buck because now that I'm 32, my standards for living are much higher than when I was 22! I'm feeling like San Diego's weather is calling me and I felt that L.A. might be a distraction but I'm not going to rule it out.


Also, I want to learn to speak Spanish fluently. I should note that I'm an African American woman...diversity is important to me (as I know it is to many others.) I like the fact that there's a trans cultural mission at these schools. I want to live in a place that is diverse as well as study at one.


The only school I know that I want to apply to is San Diego State University. I liked their LMFT program but as I read that California is FLOODED with this credential, I'm looking to do Social Work instead. Plus, I want the flexibility that Social Work brings. 

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