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Canadian MSW Applicants 2018


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Congrats to those who received good news today!! I tear up just thinking about getting an offer so I can’t imagine how you must feel right now :P

I know a lot of us are probably pretty disappointed right now, but remember a few things:

1) No call does not necessarily mean a rejection, it could be a wait list. 

2) We are still waiting to hear from more schools!

3) You are NOT your admissions decision. It can be very easy to accidentally equate ourselves with our success in this process (I know I’ve done it). I’ve found that being cognizant of this and making a conscious choice to separate the two really helps me bounce back quicker ^_^

We will all get where we are meant to be when we are meant to be there. 

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I just got off  the  U of T waitlist today!!!  Feel super excited and I literally cried for a hour ! I had been rejected by the university THREE TIMES and I finally made it into this year!!

Y'ALL  Congratulations! On behalf of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, we are very pleased to offer you admission to the Master of Social Work Program at the University of Calgary. Attached to thi

OMG I JUST GOT AN E-MAIL FROM LAURIER! I GOT INTO THE 2-YEAR MSW PROGRAM!   I also appear to have gotten a 10k entrance scholarship too

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1 hour ago, smntoronto said:

Does anyone have any insight or opinions to offer on why York would be a good choice for an MSW? 

You mean other than the sweeeeet funding package they've offered you? ;)

York is actually my best-fit school given its focus on critical social work (though I was horrified to hear about them failing to enact these values when it comes to trans issues, as detailed by Monoo a few pages back). But, as I also said a few MORE pages back (clearly I post too much), since I have a solidly established critical theoretical and applied framework, I chose U of T in order to round out my competencies. The foundation year will give me an opportunity to actively engage with aspects of the field that I will likely spend a great deal of my career critiquing; the specialisation year in the Social Justice and Diversity Stream will allow me to further develop my critical research and practice skills – best of both worlds, hopefully.

I've copied in a post from a 2016 forum member, @serendipitous22, below (can't find their original post, so had to grab the text from another poster's reply). Again, just want to emphasise that I didn't write this and it doesn't reflect my own experiences or opinions (though I do agree with the general takeaway that U of T has a clinical focus and York is an excellent critical social work school). It's a super-detailed post from a student with firsthand experience in the program, though, so I thought it was worth sharing. Obviously, read it with a grain of salt: things may have changed over the past couple of years, this particular cohort might have had fit issues with the program, etc. I've heard from other folks who LOVED the program, as I believe I probably would. Your first choice, Carleton, is a critical school, no?

Perhaps @Monoo could weigh in with additional feedback?

***

(Posted March 16, 2016)

"Hi everyone. I'm currently in the MSW program at York University. I remember very well what it was like to repeatedly check my email and the various online application systems, and my mailbox... for those of you who are still waiting, hang in there! I wanted to share some information about my program that I wish I had known when I was applying, and when I was making my decision.

To be completely fair, here is a brief overview of the type of person that I think would be a good fit for the York MSW program:
- You are very interested in critical social work theories, including Marxism, critical race theory, feminism, queer theory, critical disability studies, etc. (*York does not yet have a strong Indigenous component to the program. UVic is excellent at this if that's what you're looking for. Arguably we should all be looking for this, but I digress.)
- You did a BSW that heavily focussed on clinical skills OR somehow have clinical skills already. In this instance, I actually think York would be a really good complement to your existing skills.
- You want to do macro or meso level social work practice, such as: community work, grassroots activism/organizing, research, group work, programming. York is a good choice for this as it focuses on critical social work practice, which translates well into macro/meso social work practice.
- You want to do a PhD and are very interested in theory and want to write a major research paper. U of T limits the number of students who can do a thesis, so York would be a good choice for you as every student needs to write a practice-based research paper (same as a major research paper; note that a PRP is shorter than a Master's thesis) and this is a requirement for many PhD programs.

Unfortunately for me, I don't fall into any of these categories and I have been disappointed with the program. I'm writing this in the hopes that you will have a bit more information than I did when making an admissions decision. There are a total of 20 students in my cohort/class, and we have had many extensive discussions as a group about our shared frustration and disappointment with the curriculum, faculty, and department. I would estimate that: 3-4 students have seriously considered dropping out or transferring (including me), 10-12 actively and vocally dislike/resent/are disappointed with the program, and 5-6 aren't happy or satisfied but are committed to just getting it over with. There isn't a single person in my cohort that has expressed basic satisfaction - let alone enthusiasm - for any aspect of the program, aside from the funding package (more on that later).

There were some 'rumours' that went around the forum during my application year that I can now comment on based on my own experience. York does not have established relationships with key clinical practicum agencies in the GTA. York has good relationships with a lot of agencies that would interest you if you're interested in community work, policy, research, or activism/organizing. U of T has exclusivity agreements with many clinical agencies, meaning that the agency agrees to only take on U of T students. These include many hospitals or clinical facilities such as Hincks-Dellcrest, CAMH, and the University Hospital Network. Aside from these exclusivity agreements, many clinical/counselling agencies will not accept placement applications from York students. There ARE some exceptions to this rule, but everyone at York who wants to go into clinical/counselling work then has to compete against each other (and students from other schools) to get those limited placement positions. Generally speaking it is true that U of T has a lockdown on key clinical placement sites.

If you have ANY interest in doing clinical work (counselling, working in a hospital, crisis work, trauma work, individual/family/couples/group therapy), and you are seriously considering attending another program, go there instead of York. This is the bottom line.

Secondly, even if you feel optimistic about securing one of the few clinical placements available, you should know that York does not teach any clinical or practical skills. I knew this when I was applying, but I didn't REALLY understand it. Examples of skills or clinical topics that you will not learn at York include:  developing a therapeutic alliance (this term is never used at York), building trust and rapport, phases or stages of a counselling relationship, communication skills (open-ended questions, active listening, reframing, summarizing), assessment skills, documentation skills, treatment planning, crisis intervention, counselling theories, counselling methods, ANYTHING related to mental health conditions (signs, symptoms, therapies).... you get it. There is one class on group facilitation and one class on narrative therapy (the only counselling course); both are electives.

This is because York's MSW programs draw on a wholly different knowledge base than U of T, or other clinical programs. Critical social work draws on critical social theories, like Marxism, feminism, critical race theory, queer theory, critical disability studies, etc. U of T's social work program primarily draws on psychology, the medical model, and psychotherapy as a knowledge base. This is why York's mission statement and admissions process emphasis anti-oppression and social justice, and U of T's mission statement and admissions process emphasize research, "clinical" practice, and evidence-based treatment.

To illustrate this difference, U of T offers classes on Social Work Practice in Mental Health, Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Advanced Social Work Practice in Mental Health, and electives related to trauma, counselling theories, cyber-counselling, child and adolescent trauma.... etc. York offers classes called Critical Perspectives in Mental Health and Critical Social Work Theories and Practice Skills. In the latter, you will learn about how and why various therapies (e.g. CBT, solution-focussed, strengths approach) are inherently problematic. You will not learn how to practice any of these therapies, OR even learn how they are done. You will also not learn how to practice any alternative treatments (in fact, you would never ever say 'treatment' at York). York focuses on critical and structural social work, so their critique of CBT, for example, would be that CBT individualizes a person's symptoms (let's say anxiety) instead of looking at the structural and contextual factors (e.g. the person who feels anxious is a racialized person living in poverty and on the brink of homelessness, so York might say that instead of medication and CBT, we should advocate for affordable housing and a guaranteed annual income). This is IMPORTANT and I have valued this, but I am not better prepared to work with someone with anxiety (meaning I still have no clue what to do). (This is why I imagine that a clinical BSW + a York MSW could be a good combination).

So, many of us are stuck and eager to wrap up the program. Some students are doing external training - which, by the way, is incredibly expensive (a one day workshop ranges from $300-$500 and a certificate course in CBT could be $2000). Don't bother thinking, "Oh I'll just take electives at U of T", because there is only a very, very, very miniscule chance that you will be allowed to do so.

One redeeming aspect of the York MSW program is its generous funding package. If finances are an issue for you, then it's worth seriously considering attending York as the funding packages are generous. In the 2-year program everyone gets a $15,000 package ($9,000 in Year 1 through a graduate assistantship (which requires 5 hours work/week) and other money, and $6000 in Year 2 through a research assistantship which doesn't require any work). If you get a York Graduate Scholarship then you get $6000 on top of this package. You will get all of this information in your acceptance letter. York also has very low tuition at roughly $1800 per semester. By comparison, the tuition at U of T is TREMENDOUSLY higher and they don't offer any funding packages. ** This is not inconsequential and despite everything else I've said, the money makes a huge difference **

/end rant"

***

Edited by cat_not_kitty
Forgot to quote you!
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1 hour ago, smntoronto said:

Does anyone have any insight or opinions to offer on why York would be a good choice for an MSW? 

why not call the graduate program tomorrow and ask? I'm sure they'll have plenty of insights. I know their 2 year program takes in only 20 students out of like a 1000 or something, so they might definitely be more open to one-on-one time since they wouldn't have as many inductees as U of T. they've been really good to me in that respect. i noticed they're definitely fans of York, but not gung-ho to the point where they think it is the best school for everyone. 

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@heather.m you’re not the only one. I’m still waiting on u of t as well. I’m still applying to yorkville tho for counselling. I read the rant above about the pros and cons to the programs and what u of t offers and u of t might be better. I’m more interested in counselling and case management. So hopefully we will hear soon. My anxiety is definitely going to spike because u of t is harder, more expensive and right downtown.

heres hoping.

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2 hours ago, cat_not_kitty said:

You mean other than the sweeeeet funding package they've offered you? ;)

York is actually my best-fit school given its focus on critical social work (though I was horrified to hear about them failing to enact these values when it comes to trans issues, as detailed by Monoo a few pages back). But, as I also said a few MORE pages back (clearly I post too much), since I have a solidly established critical theoretical and applied framework, I chose U of T in order to round out my competencies. The foundation year will give me an opportunity to actively engage with aspects of the field that I will likely spend a great deal of my career critiquing; the specialisation year in the Social Justice and Diversity Stream will allow me to further develop my critical research and practice skills – best of both worlds, hopefully.

I've copied in a post from a 2016 forum member, @serendipitous22, below (can't find their original post, so had to grab the text from another poster's reply). Again, just want to emphasise that I didn't write this and it doesn't reflect my own experiences or opinions (though I do agree with the general takeaway that U of T has a clinical focus and York is an excellent critical social work school). It's a super-detailed post from a student with firsthand experience in the program, though, so I thought it was worth sharing. Obviously, read it with a grain of salt: things may have changed over the past couple of years, this particular cohort might have had fit issues with the program, etc. I've heard from other folks who LOVED the program, as I believe I probably would. Your first choice, Carleton, is a critical school, no?

Perhaps @Monoo could weigh in with additional feedback?

***

(Posted March 16, 2016)

"Hi everyone. I'm currently in the MSW program at York University. I remember very well what it was like to repeatedly check my email and the various online application systems, and my mailbox... for those of you who are still waiting, hang in there! I wanted to share some information about my program that I wish I had known when I was applying, and when I was making my decision.

To be completely fair, here is a brief overview of the type of person that I think would be a good fit for the York MSW program:
- You are very interested in critical social work theories, including Marxism, critical race theory, feminism, queer theory, critical disability studies, etc. (*York does not yet have a strong Indigenous component to the program. UVic is excellent at this if that's what you're looking for. Arguably we should all be looking for this, but I digress.)
- You did a BSW that heavily focussed on clinical skills OR somehow have clinical skills already. In this instance, I actually think York would be a really good complement to your existing skills.
- You want to do macro or meso level social work practice, such as: community work, grassroots activism/organizing, research, group work, programming. York is a good choice for this as it focuses on critical social work practice, which translates well into macro/meso social work practice.
- You want to do a PhD and are very interested in theory and want to write a major research paper. U of T limits the number of students who can do a thesis, so York would be a good choice for you as every student needs to write a practice-based research paper (same as a major research paper; note that a PRP is shorter than a Master's thesis) and this is a requirement for many PhD programs.

Unfortunately for me, I don't fall into any of these categories and I have been disappointed with the program. I'm writing this in the hopes that you will have a bit more information than I did when making an admissions decision. There are a total of 20 students in my cohort/class, and we have had many extensive discussions as a group about our shared frustration and disappointment with the curriculum, faculty, and department. I would estimate that: 3-4 students have seriously considered dropping out or transferring (including me), 10-12 actively and vocally dislike/resent/are disappointed with the program, and 5-6 aren't happy or satisfied but are committed to just getting it over with. There isn't a single person in my cohort that has expressed basic satisfaction - let alone enthusiasm - for any aspect of the program, aside from the funding package (more on that later).

There were some 'rumours' that went around the forum during my application year that I can now comment on based on my own experience. York does not have established relationships with key clinical practicum agencies in the GTA. York has good relationships with a lot of agencies that would interest you if you're interested in community work, policy, research, or activism/organizing. U of T has exclusivity agreements with many clinical agencies, meaning that the agency agrees to only take on U of T students. These include many hospitals or clinical facilities such as Hincks-Dellcrest, CAMH, and the University Hospital Network. Aside from these exclusivity agreements, many clinical/counselling agencies will not accept placement applications from York students. There ARE some exceptions to this rule, but everyone at York who wants to go into clinical/counselling work then has to compete against each other (and students from other schools) to get those limited placement positions. Generally speaking it is true that U of T has a lockdown on key clinical placement sites.

If you have ANY interest in doing clinical work (counselling, working in a hospital, crisis work, trauma work, individual/family/couples/group therapy), and you are seriously considering attending another program, go there instead of York. This is the bottom line.

Secondly, even if you feel optimistic about securing one of the few clinical placements available, you should know that York does not teach any clinical or practical skills. I knew this when I was applying, but I didn't REALLY understand it. Examples of skills or clinical topics that you will not learn at York include:  developing a therapeutic alliance (this term is never used at York), building trust and rapport, phases or stages of a counselling relationship, communication skills (open-ended questions, active listening, reframing, summarizing), assessment skills, documentation skills, treatment planning, crisis intervention, counselling theories, counselling methods, ANYTHING related to mental health conditions (signs, symptoms, therapies).... you get it. There is one class on group facilitation and one class on narrative therapy (the only counselling course); both are electives.

This is because York's MSW programs draw on a wholly different knowledge base than U of T, or other clinical programs. Critical social work draws on critical social theories, like Marxism, feminism, critical race theory, queer theory, critical disability studies, etc. U of T's social work program primarily draws on psychology, the medical model, and psychotherapy as a knowledge base. This is why York's mission statement and admissions process emphasis anti-oppression and social justice, and U of T's mission statement and admissions process emphasize research, "clinical" practice, and evidence-based treatment.

To illustrate this difference, U of T offers classes on Social Work Practice in Mental Health, Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families, Advanced Social Work Practice in Mental Health, and electives related to trauma, counselling theories, cyber-counselling, child and adolescent trauma.... etc. York offers classes called Critical Perspectives in Mental Health and Critical Social Work Theories and Practice Skills. In the latter, you will learn about how and why various therapies (e.g. CBT, solution-focussed, strengths approach) are inherently problematic. You will not learn how to practice any of these therapies, OR even learn how they are done. You will also not learn how to practice any alternative treatments (in fact, you would never ever say 'treatment' at York). York focuses on critical and structural social work, so their critique of CBT, for example, would be that CBT individualizes a person's symptoms (let's say anxiety) instead of looking at the structural and contextual factors (e.g. the person who feels anxious is a racialized person living in poverty and on the brink of homelessness, so York might say that instead of medication and CBT, we should advocate for affordable housing and a guaranteed annual income). This is IMPORTANT and I have valued this, but I am not better prepared to work with someone with anxiety (meaning I still have no clue what to do). (This is why I imagine that a clinical BSW + a York MSW could be a good combination).

So, many of us are stuck and eager to wrap up the program. Some students are doing external training - which, by the way, is incredibly expensive (a one day workshop ranges from $300-$500 and a certificate course in CBT could be $2000). Don't bother thinking, "Oh I'll just take electives at U of T", because there is only a very, very, very miniscule chance that you will be allowed to do so.

One redeeming aspect of the York MSW program is its generous funding package. If finances are an issue for you, then it's worth seriously considering attending York as the funding packages are generous. In the 2-year program everyone gets a $15,000 package ($9,000 in Year 1 through a graduate assistantship (which requires 5 hours work/week) and other money, and $6000 in Year 2 through a research assistantship which doesn't require any work). If you get a York Graduate Scholarship then you get $6000 on top of this package. You will get all of this information in your acceptance letter. York also has very low tuition at roughly $1800 per semester. By comparison, the tuition at U of T is TREMENDOUSLY higher and they don't offer any funding packages. ** This is not inconsequential and despite everything else I've said, the money makes a huge difference **

/end rant"

***

@cat_not_kitty, I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me with wit, intellect and humor throughout this process.  You have truly been a life saver who has a genuine ability to relate to everyone on here in some capacity.  I hope you get accepted to U of T.  I enjoy your insightful and well researched posts.  Thank you for consistently occupying some space in my head while we all await final outcomes.  You have tremendous insight which I am certain will serve you well professionally.  Good luck and much thanks.

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Thank you so, so much for these incredibly kind words of acknowledgement, @SW Sevante – they filled my heart to the brim ❤️. This forum has been a wonderful resource to me over the years as a reader, but I hesitated to get involved when I finally applied because I knew I would want to give my energy to it in a whole and present way...and I tend to get carried away (in case you haven't noticed ☺️). It means so much to hear that my posts have contributed something positive and collaborative to the little community of support and knowledge-exchange we've built here – as have yours! I've truly sensed your warmth and genuineness from the beginning, and so hope that Laurier recognises you for the absolute gift you'd be to their program. From one 'mature'-student-(formerly)-single-mom-with-all-her-eggs-in-one-basket to another, I wish you the very best of luck!! 

 

4 hours ago, SW Sevante said:

@cat_not_kitty, I want to personally thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me with wit, intellect and humor throughout this process.  You have truly been a life saver who has a genuine ability to relate to everyone on here in some capacity.  I hope you get accepted to U of T.  I enjoy your insightful and well researched posts.  Thank you for consistently occupying some space in my head while we all await final outcomes.  You have tremendous insight which I am certain will serve you well professionally.  Good luck and much thanks.

 

Edited by cat_not_kitty
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I'm so sorry that you two didn't receive calls from York today :(. My fate rests entirely in U of T's hands – they're the only school I applied to. Thank you so much for being willing to call admissions, Snellbell...as heather.m said, hopefully they won't just give you the same ol' "by mid-April" run-around.

Strength in solidarity! It'll all be over one way or another soon (hopefully with acceptances for all of us)!

6 hours ago, heather.m said:

Congratulations to everyone who received a phone call from York today. Unfortunately I was not among you... Considering I only applied to York and U of T, I am SERIOUSLY feeling the anxiety kicking in right now. Who else has their entire fate resting in the hands of the U of T admissions committee :(?

 

5 hours ago, Snellbell said:

@heather.m you’re not the only one. I’m still waiting on u of t as well. I’m still applying to yorkville tho for counselling. I read the rant above about the pros and cons to the programs and what u of t offers and u of t might be better. I’m more interested in counselling and case management. So hopefully we will hear soon. My anxiety is definitely going to spike because u of t is harder, more expensive and right downtown.

heres hoping.

 

5 hours ago, Snellbell said:

I’m going to try calling u of t again tomorrow to see when we will know. I’ll post here when I get a reply

 

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You are the best @cat_not_kitty - thanks for that. I'm sorry for all those who did not hear from York yesterday. This isn't my first go around with MSW applications so I know the pain you might be feeling and desperately hope that everyone gets the offers they deserve!  

I am not positive that I will accept York's offer if I hear back from U of T given where my interests are, so there's hope for anyone on the waitlist! 

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5 minutes ago, SW Sevante said:

Good morning everyone!  CHEERS to another day of constantly refreshing my email, checking LORIS and reading this forum.  ;)

Thank goodness I have a workshop to run this afternoon.  That will at least offer me 3 hours of distraction. :P

 

Story of my life..... legit refreshing.. i have a busier day. So heres to praying ?

 

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Good luck to everyone waiting to hear back this week!

Does anyone know if there's a facebook group for the Calgary MSW students?

I know someone mentioned making one a while back, but not sure if it exists yet. 

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5 minutes ago, KD.msw said:

Today, I was admitted into the Post-degree BSW program at Waterloo! Quest was updated but I haven't received an email yet.

So excited!! 

What program is this exactly? And congrats amazing ☺☺☺

Edited by skd05
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5 minutes ago, skd05 said:

What program is this exactly? And congrats amazing ☺☺☺

Thanks :D

In order to be admitted into the program, you need a bachelor's degree (can be any field - mine is business) plus 10 prerequisites (found on Renison's website).

From my understanding, courses for the BSW program are on-campus on Thursdays and Fridays and you are in a placement M-W. The program is 3 consecutive terms from Sept - June.

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6 minutes ago, KD.msw said:

Thanks :D

In order to be admitted into the program, you need a bachelor's degree (can be any field - mine is business) plus 10 prerequisites (found on Renison's website).

From my understanding, courses for the BSW program are on-campus on Thursdays and Fridays and you are in a placement M-W. The program is 3 consecutive terms from Sept - June.

Amazing :) so happy for you!!! Then onxe you get that your optioms for MSW opens immensely... I have a BA so as you know we have less choice without the bsw..smart move :)

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1 hour ago, kleigh17 said:

Good luck to everyone waiting to hear back this week!

Does anyone know if there's a facebook group for the Calgary MSW students?

I know someone mentioned making one a while back, but not sure if it exists yet. 

Wait for the 2 year?

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