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Virtual Open Houses

Learn more about The Catholic University of America and our online programs in real time by attending one of our Virtual Open House events. These webinars feature presentations from Catholic University faculty and staff about the curricula, the online learning environment, the support services available to online students, and more. You will also be able to ask questions.

Previously recorded Virtual Open House:
Click the links below to listen to various segments, or the full webinar.

Video Transcript

NATASHA DEJESUS: Welcome to tonight's virtual open house for the online Master's in Clinical Social Work and the Advanced Standing track here at the Catholic University of America. My name is Natasha DeJesus, and I am the executive program manager for the online MSW and Advanced Standing track.

This is our first live virtual open house. Hopefully I won't have to prove to you guys that this is live, but thank you again so much for attending.

I do want to let you know that throughout the presentation, this is going to be extremely interactive. So there is going to be a text number at the bottom of the screen.

Please, please, please send us text questions. And we would be happy to answer them. I'm joined here with Sarah behind the scenes, who is also going to be responding to text messages. So send them our way.

So tonight's agenda is as follows. Introductions, so I'll go through who's joining us tonight. I am joined by faculty and also a current student in the program.

I also want to talk to you a little bit about the Catholic University of America, of course, the National Catholic School of Social Service, the NCSSS, which is where the MSW is housed. Of course, we all want to know what makes Catholic University of America's online program unique. Why do we stand out from the rest?

We're also going to go over some Q&A, but before we get to the Q&A, I have a special guest tonight, and that is a current student in the MSW program. There is Sarah Caldwell. So she is behind the scenes answering some of those text message questions that I am unable to get to. But I will try my best to get to all of them as we move through the presentation. But if I can't, then Sarah's behind the scenes answering those questions as well.

And then we have Erin Price, who is a current student in the program. She is currently in her Advanced part of the program. So she's here to share some information with you as well.

So the Catholic University of America, that's a picture here of our campus, we were founded back in 1887 by the US Bishops. We are still the only US higher ed institution that was founded by the US bishops. We are, for our local students, I'm sure you guys know where we are, but for those that are across the country, we are located in northeast DC, just north of Capitol Hill.

So if you are in the area, definitely feel free to come by and visit the public safety office on campus, get an ID card. Use the facilities. Visit the basilica, which is pictured right here. So really enjoy yourself on campus. It's a beautiful campus to visit.

The National Catholic School of Social Service was founded back in 1918. The National Catholic School of Social Service joined the Catholic University in 1923 as a two-year graduate school. So that's when the MSW started at Catholic University of America.

This year, by US News and World Reports, we were ranked number 47. So we are in the top 50 of social work schools in the nation, so definitely a reputable program here. Of course, we are CSWE accredited. So for all of those out there that are interested in getting licensed, getting your LGSW license, getting your LCSW license, we are accredited. And that is one of the main requirements to get licensed in the field of social work.

We do have a clinical focus with our program. And I'll get into it a little bit more about what that means in some future slides. But that is a strong part of our program here. So for those looking for the LCSW license, this is definitely a great program for you.

Holistic education. So here at Catholic University, we definitely believe in finding out who you are and where you belong in the field of social work. So in your first course, you're going to learn all about yourself. You're going to learn about the populations that are of most interest to you. You're going to learn about what your passion is. And you'll really find where you belong in the field.

So with the Master of Social Work program, we do have two tracks. So a lot of you guys are on tonight, interested in the full MSW program, and we started our Advanced Standing program recently. So we have some that might be on that are interested in that program as well.

With the Advanced Standing program, that is for our students that have a Bachelor's in Social Work. So you have to have a background already in social work, maybe just recently graduated, have done some field education, and are thinking about taking it to the next level.

Some of you may be career changers, and you'll find out a little bit more about that with Erin Price later on in the presentation. But we do have a full MSW program for those that maybe have a Bachelor's in Psychology or maybe have a Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership, and you want to make a shift and move into the full MSW program.

So with the next with the Advanced Standing program that we offer, that program is about a year and a half. It is heavily focused on the clinical path. So you're going to take 30 credit hours of clinical curriculum. So this is your mental health. This is going to be your us doing assessments, diagnosing individuals, learning how to do this across the entire lifespan. So children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

With the full MSW program, there's a strong focus on the micro, the mezzo, and the macro social work. Of course, having CSWE accreditation, there's a very, very strong focus. The CSWE definitely believes in a very clean, clean tie between these three concepts, the micro, the mezzo, and the macro.

When we think of social work though, I know a lot of you on the presentation tonight have different interests. Many people come into requesting information. And they're thinking, you know what I want to do? I want to do case management. I want to be a therapist.

And great. You know, that is your micro social work. That's what everyone thinks of when they think of a social worker. But social work is such a huge umbrella. When you're looking at social work, you're looking at the micro, the macro, the mezzo.

With the macro level, you're looking at advisers to local government leaders. You're looking at change agents in the community, professors of social policy, lobbyists advocating right here in the state capital. So I wanted to really, really share this with you because I think it's important to understand that there are many, many aspects of social work.

The mezzo level, you're looking at you're not necessarily looking at working with just a family or just working as a lobbyist. You're looking at going into the community, maybe working on an anti-drug community task force. Or maybe you're working with support groups for children who are cancer survivors. So it's really looking at the entire picture. The social work code of ethics really encourages all three in practice.

So it looks like we have a question here. "When you're looking at social work, what is the difference between the clinical and the non-clinical?" So again, when you're looking at the clinical focus, that is really more of that micro social work. When you think of therapy, when you think of sitting down in one-on-one sessions, when you think of having a caseload and being able to go to homes and checking in on children, that's your micro-level social work.

But when you're looking at the non-clinical social work, that's your macro. That's your mezzo. That's going into the community, really, really impacting the lives on a bigger scale. So going into the YMCA, going into local government offices and advocating on behalf of a population. So that's the main difference that, between the non-clinical and the clinical path.

With both of the programs, you have field education. So you're going to go out and practice what you're learning in the program. With the Advanced Standing track, you do just have one internship. And that is at the end of your program. And that is going to be more of a clinical focus. So you're going to have to do that under the supervision of an LCSW. So that's when you're going to get into that micro level. You're going to start really digging into the therapy and counseling.

With the full MSW program, you do have two internships. The first one is more of the macro level. The second one is, again, it's the advanced. It's the clinical focus. So you're going to have two opportunities in the full MSW program to really, really, really get in there and start working right away as you're going through the program.

So you have to wait until you graduate. I know many of you are eager to go out and work in the community. You don't have to wait. You'll do it right in the program, right after you learn a couple courses in the first half and a few courses in the second half.

So with the program structure, I kind of talked about that a little. You're looking at, with the Advanced Standing, you're looking at a year of courses. And then you're looking at your field education. For the full MSW, you're looking at a year of courses, internship, another year of courses, and internship.

Looks like we have another question here. "When do you start your field education?" So again, your field education will actually start at the end of your first year, so the beginning of your second year for the full MSW program. And that's going to run for two semesters.

Then you're going to go back online, and you're going to be in the advanced curriculum. And at the end of that, you'll do your second internship for two semesters. So again, for the Advanced Standing students, it is just at the end, so the start of your second year. It's about a year and a half for that program, so the start of that second portion of the program.

So usually when we have these open houses, I'd kind of like to bring in a few questions. I know we've got questions coming in here about the MSW program. But we here, we talk with students all the time. I'm sure I've talked with some of you on the phone and had interviews with you about the program. But I wanted to share some things that I hear frequently on the phone from students that I think might be really beneficial for you this evening.

So a lot of students coming into the field of social work are really interested in the job market. What's it look like for me in my area? Actually, go ahead and start texting in. Where are you texting from? I'd like to know. I know a little bit about different states, just from talking with students from across the US and even some military students overseas. But text in where you're logged in from.

But the job market. So with social work, from 2012 to 2022, it is projected to grow 19%. 19% is huge. This is faster than the average of all occupations. So you're coming into a field that is growing.

I look at job boards all the time, and I've really noticed, especially with the VA hospital system, the growth for social workers is tremendous. Where you used to see counselor, Master of Counselor, Master's in Psychology, now you see Master's of Social Work all the way down the line.

Many different groups of people too, whether it's addictions counseling, whether it's helping veterans that are returning from war find resources in the community. There are so many different aspects of social work that will really, really assist you in this program to help with many different populations that are out there.

It looks like we've got someone that's coming from Philadelphia. Let's see. Let me click through here. We've got a couple from DC. Wow. Look at that. California, welcome.

And then another question about field education, so a lot of questions about field education this evening. I know it can be complicated. It can be confusing. We have a field education office with Danielle Stokes that really, really helps students set up their internships. Of course, it's up to you where you want to do your field education. We won't place you somewhere that you don't want to be. So it's really up to the student to choose their internship.

We do have some state restrictions though. So someone asked, "Can you take field education internships outside of the state you live in?" So it just depends on the state. It depends on a few different things. So that's something that we're probably going to want talk to you, talk about the state that you're in, what state you're looking to do your internships at because with social work and the CSWE accreditation, there are some restrictions across the US. So we'll definitely reach out to you and talk about that one on one.

Keep the texts coming. Thank you again. Baltimore, all right. We are definitely authorized in Baltimore. If you're in Baltimore, we highly encourage you to visit the campus. There's so many resources for you too, online, on campus. You've got an online library. You've got writing center online.

I mean, I'll talk to you as well about what the online environment looks like. But there's so many different resources available to both online and on campus and students that are near to the campus. Welcome from Virginia, thank you.

The job market, actually in DC, DC has the highest-paid social workers. I'm sure you all know that. There's so much to do in DC, from policy to working in the community at a homeless shelter to working I mean, there's just so many different things that you can do. I mean, in every state, of course. But DC has the highest-paid social workers.

And I'd be happy to talk to you in detail about that when we do have our interview. But the job market for social workers in DC is great. And we are actually, with the MSthe clinical MSW program that we have here, we are the leading clinical social work program in the DMV area, so DC, Maryland, Virginia. We have a very solid program here. So reputation is great. When you're putting that on your resume, having a Master's in Social Work, a clinical Master's in Social Work from Catholic University looks great.

Thank you so much for sending the text messages. So we've got actually a few people from Pennsylvania, which is great. All right. So with the online environment, so everyone wants to know, why Catholic University? What makes your program stand out? Why is it unique?

Well, with our online program, I know a lot of schools out there have it where you have to log on at a certain time. And who has that time? I mean, we are working. We're working 40 hours a week. Many of us have children. We have families. Maybe we're caretakers. We do not have the time to sit down and watch a lecture or go to campus. That's why we choose online. We need that flexibility.

So we built this program about three years ago to really support those students that were going to campus and just didn't have that time. They didn't have the time to continue the program. So we brought this online to give you guys that flexibility.

It is an asynchronous format, so that means you get to log on when you have the time. We don't tell you be at home by 5 o'clock. Sit online. If you miss the lecture, you lose points.

No. It's up to you. If you want to get up at 2:00 AM, go ahead. You will have deadlines with the program, so just follow the deadlines. Get through the eight-week class. Make good grades, and you'll be good to go.

But with that structure, you still do get that attention from your professor. So a lot of students are like, but wait. I'm in there by myself at 2:00 AM? Yes, you are, probably. But you do still have access to your professor.

The professor does have office hours, so you can reach out to them during that time. You can instant message them. You can video chat with your professors.

Technology is great these days. You can even video conference. So it'll look something like the Brady Bunch where everyone's on the screen at the same time, but it's a wonderful experience when you're able to really connect with your professor, with your classmates, if you want to. You have that opportunity.

Now I don't want to steal the thunder from Erin Price, because she is going to share a lot about her experience as an online student. And I definitely want to bring her in in a few seconds because I know I shared a lot about the curriculum. And I've shared a lot about the Catholic University and CSWE.

But I know you guys are ready to hear, "OK. What's it going to look like for me, as a student? What is my experience going to be like? What am I going to gain from this program?”

So Erin Price, when we first started this program, I had the pleasure of speaking with Erin Price on my birthday. So not only was it special for me, but it was also special for her because she was about to embark on her journey. She didn't know that that first conversation that we had was going to be it for her. It was going to seal the deal. It was going to take her one step closer to her goal of becoming a social worker.

She doesn't currently work in the field, so she is a little bit of a career shifter. But she does have some personal experiences that really drew her to wanting to do this. So I'm not going to steal her thunder too much, but I definitely want to go ahead and bring her in to the broadcast.

Hi, Erin.

ERIN PRICE: Hi.

NATASHA DEJESUS: How are you doing?

ERIN PRICE: I'm doing well. How are you?

NATASHA DEJESUS: Good. Good. Thank you so much for joining us today and taking time out of your busy, busy schedule. I know that it's been hard for us to connect. But thank you so much for joining us this evening.

ERIN PRICE: Of course. Yeah. I didn't know it was your birthday.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Yeah, it was. Yup. November 5th, long time ago.

[LAUGHTER]

NATASHA DEJESUS: So, well, thank you again. Thank you so much. So I guess we can start at the beginning. How did you find us? How did you find the Catholic University?

ERIN PRICE: Well, I am from the DC area. I live in northern Virginia. And I decided, when I was looking for a social work program, that I wanted to stay working full time. I, you know, I've been out of my undergrad for, at that point, about 10 years. And, you know, it just wasn't in the cards for me to go back to school full time and not work.

So I was looking for an online program that would give me what I needed in that respect. And I knew that the Catholic University had a great reputation in their social work program. I knew people who'd gone through it and really had great things to say about it.

So when I heard that you guys were starting an online program, it sort of really piqued my interest. And I started exploring. And I was looking at one or two other programs. And really, this one just sort of rose to the top and became my first choice.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Oh, great. Great. And I just kind of looked through the notes from our conversation. And I was like, wow. That was great. Your background and the reasons for doing this, it's just, it's wonderful.

ERIN PRICE: Yeah.

NATASHA DEJESUS: So tell me a little bit about your work history. Did you have any experience in the field?

ERIN PRICE: Not any formal social work experience. My undergraduate degree was in business administration. And I'd worked in the field of fund raising and marketing for about 10 years working with nonprofits and political organizations, as everyone in DC seems to do.

But Iyou know, it was never really the field that I meant to go into. I sort of fell into fund raising and knew that wasn't where I wanted to spend my whole career. But somehow, it, you know, when you find something, you just keep going with it.

And I actually had some personal experiences that made me sort of reevaluate and decide that I really just wanted to make a change, and I wanted to go into a direction I was more passionate about. So about four years ago, I started working at a cancer support nonprofit, fund raising and doing marketing.

But over that time, I've slowly started to sort of make the shift towards more work with people who are going through cancer. So I do a lot of volunteer work in the community through a dif-- a couple of different organizations as well as through where I work. I'm working with people and helping them navigate through the process of cancer and helping them with kind of peer support groups and meeting, connecting with each other. So I am doing some elements of social work. I just don't currently hold the title.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Right. And you know what? It's usually like that. For a lot of the students that we talk to, whether it be professional, whether they're working at an agency and they're kind of, you know, dipping and dabbing into a little bit, or it's a personal thing. You know? My friends tell me that I'm a great therapist. My friends, you know, tell me that I counsel them, and I would be great at it. I just don't have the title. I don't have the license.

So I completely understand. You need that piece. You need the education, of course, behind it, but you also need that license if you're going to make a career shift. So how are you doing? How are you doing in the program this far? Do you feel that it is everything that you thought it'd be?

ERIN PRICE: Yeah. I mean, you know, I knew with grad school, it would be a challenge. I am just over halfway done. Yea.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Whoo-hoo.

ERIN PRICE: I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't ready to be done and graduated. And I do still have about a year-- just over a year and a half left. You know, it's tough. It's tough balancing it all. I decided I wanted to make the commitment to working full time and going to school and getting my master's.

And it's totally doable. I've made it work this far. And I'm committed to seeing it through to the end. But it does take time management. It does take some juggling, especially in order to maintain my social life and my family and friends as well.

But ultimately, I've enjoyed the program. You know, there have been stressful times. There's been times when I've been amazed how I've gotten it all done. But I think it ultimately has been great.

And I really am enjoying what I'm learning. And I feel that I'm able to really apply it to my everyday life, not just the work that I do with other people, but also just kind of understanding human behavior.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Absolutely. That's the key is start applying it. When you're learning it, start applying it. You're going to need to retain that information, not only for yourself and for your personal life and for your job, but when you finish the program, you got to get licensed, right?

ERIN PRICE: Right.

NATASHA DEJESUS: So you got to make sure that you're putting this stuff into practice and really, really retaining it and using that, what you're learning in the program. So you talked a little bit about what you're currently doing. But what do you hope to do? What's your career path once you get your MSW?

ERIN PRICE: So I, you know, I really am passionate about the cancer support fields, and that's really where my heart is. So I want to, you know, when I'm done, kind of formalize my work in oncology and social work and ultimately be a counselor in that realm so that I can help make sure that people who are going through such a devastating health crisis aren't isolated and that they don't feel alone through this.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Definitely. Definitely. And it's a personal, and, of course, a passion when you have, when you're so passionate about working with a group of people. It's like you put your all into it. You share your experiences. You share…

ERIN PRICE: Right.

NATASHA DEJESUS: …what you learned. So I understand that, for sure. So are the classes that you're taking or that you've taken and are-- I'm sure you're currently enrolled in the summer term. Are they helping you make your career aspirations a reality?

ERIN PRICE: Absolutely. You know, there's been very little that I've learned that I haven't been able to sort of directly apply to the work that I do. You know, again, both the professional work that I do, but also personal work. I mean, even if you aren't directly working with clients at the time you're going through the program, if you're interested in the field, the concepts and theories that you're learning really just makes so much sense. And they kind of click.

And it makes studying the program more interesting. I mean, obviously, if you're taking this open house right now, you're interested in the field. So really being able to kind of learn and apply it has been fascinating. And I've really enjoyed the classes.

Sometimes they are challenging. But they're also really rewarding. And I find that the content makes a lot of sense to me. And it's not these abstract things that I can't wrap my head around. It really makes sense.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Mm-hmm. Definitely. Good. Good. So now that you're finished with your first internship, is that correct?

ERIN PRICE: I am.

NATASHA DEJESUS: All right. So where did you complete that internship? And how was that experience for you?

ERIN PRICE: So I did my first internship at an outpatient behavioral health agency that was affiliated with a large local hospital in the DC area. I worked mainly, while I was there, with people who had been diagnosed with both substance abuse and mental health disorders. Most of them were low-income minority population. And I can honestly say, it was a population and a field that I had never worked in before. I didn't have any experience working with mental health or substance abuse.

And so it was completely, I think, eye opening. And it gave me a new experience, which was great. I'll be honest. It wasn't my first choice for a placement. My heart is in oncology. That's where I want to be.

But they-- a lot of oncology places don't take first-year students. So I decided that since I already had some experience in oncology, I would use this as an experience to get another flavor. I still was in a pseudo-hospital setting, so I was able to learn what it was like working within the constraints of a large hospital system, which was really helpful to learn about.

You know, and I was also really able to learn about a population that I didn't know a lot about or that I didn't have a lot of time working with. And so that was super rewarding and eye opening as well.

And, you know, the thing I learned is that I don't want to work in a mental health and substance abuse program. But it doesn't mean it wasn't a great program and a great experience. I think that learning that, what you don't want to do, is just as valuable as learning what you do want to do.

But I did enjoy my time there. And I learned a lot. And I was glad that I was sort of able to try it out on a non-permanent basis.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Definitely. And, you know, when I have interviews with students, I tell students that all the time. You might not like the internship. You might think that, coming into the program, oh, you know, I want to work with children in a school setting. This is exactly what I want to do.

But you get to that internship. And you're really there in the moment. And you're doing it. And it's like, wait a minute. What did I do? This is not what I want to do.

Or you'll want to branch out. You know, you want to work with a different population than what you're currently doing and figure out, OK. I'm going to stick with what I know. You know, this isn't for me.

So it is. But beauty of it, like you said, is you're learning about a different population. You know? You're still gaining the skills to work with people, not necessarily the population that you're interested in, but you're still getting those skills to be able to work with people in the population that you're ultimately interested in working with.

So with the field education, so I know you're working, so how did you fit the field education hours into your schedule? I'm sure actually, we just-- the funny thing is we just got a text message in with that same question. So everyone wants to know, how do you fit this in?

ERIN PRICE: It can be challenging. You know, I have gotten to know a lot of people in my program. And I know we all had different challenges in trying to balance and make it work. It's-- your first field placement is a 16-hour a week, you know, two day a week commitment ideally. And that can be challenging to fit in.

I was fortunate that I work at a place that is supportive of me getting my degree. So they were willing to work with me. I had sort of enough vacation time built up that I was able to reduce my hours to 32 hours a week at my full-time job. And I worked that over three 10-hour days.

And then on the other two days, I worked eight hours a week at my field placement. So, yeah. It was-- it was a lot. And there were some class obligations, though perfectly honest, the class obligations do reduce a little bit during field placement. You only have to take two classes instead of four during that period. But there are some additional requirements to meet during the field-- for the field placement.

I was really nervous about trying to make it work for eight months doing this tough schedule, balancing it all, and not letting the balls drop. And I did it. And I think, when I did have downtime, I felt like, wow. I've got so much time on my hands. What am I going to do with it?

So, you know, it's totally possible. You just have to really-- you have to be good at time management or learn to be good at time management. I know that some of my classmates who didn't have full-time jobs that were accommodating, some of them ended up taking part-time jobs temporarily to make it work.

Others had employers that would work with them. It's-- you know, you do have to make it work. And you do have to sort of fit it in and figure it out. But it is worth it. It is doable. And I have to say that when you're going at it like that, it goes by really quickly.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Yes. Absolutely. And it's a sacrifice. I mean, you can't come into an MSW saying, "You know what? I work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. I have no flexibility." It just-- it won't work. We tell students that all the time.

You have to have-- this has to be something you're really passionate about. You have to have the desire to make that sacrifice to get it done. And it sounds like that's what Erin's doing. She made the sacrifice. She got cut down on the hours. She made it so that she could fit those hours into her schedule. And that's what really works.

I did want to say one thing because it kind of scared me when you said it. But-- and I'm sure it scared a little-- a few of our students online. But when she says four classes at a time, that is four eight-week sessions.

ERIN PRICE: Sorry.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Yes, across two semesters. So each semester has two eight-week sessions. So essentially, when you start the program and you go through that first year, it is just one class at a time every eight weeks. But when you get to your internship, a lot of students use federal financial aid. You have to be enrolled in six credit hours per term-- per semester in order to use financial aid.

So field education is a 16-week long class. And we've added one class-- one eight-week class with that 16-week course. So it's two courses that they're at the same time essentially, just for during your field education. So it's not four at a time. It's just a little bit more of like an added class while you're doing your field education. So you can still manage it.

ERIN PRICE: Sorry.

NATASHA DEJESUS: All right. So with the quality, so for your undergrad, was it on campus? Or was it online?

ERIN PRICE: My undergrad was traditional, on-campus classes.

NATASHA DEJESUS: All right. So how do you feel coming to an online program? How do you feel about the quality of education that you receive here at the Catholic University of America?

ERIN PRICE: You know, as far as comparing online versus online, I mean, yeah. They are different experiences. One is, you know, you're sitting and interacting with your classmates and your professors in person.

The other is, obviously, you're interacting with them online. You know, I have to say that I don't feel like I'm necessarily getting a sub-par version of the classes or a watered-down version. I feel like I'm getting the same quality class that the on-campus students are getting.

One of the things that really sold me on the program was that the professors that are teaching the online classes are the same professors that are teaching the on-campus program. So they've done this before. They know the curriculum. They've taught it in person. And now they're teaching it online.

So it's not like they're coming at this with no experience or they're just coming at it and saying, "Here. Read this and talk amongst yourselves." They have been really responsive to us.

And, you know, as part of the first group that's gone through this social work program online, they've been learning as we've been learning. But they've been very responsive to our feedback. They've been really responsive to our needs. And that has really pleased me through the course.

So I feel like I'm getting a great education. I'm confident that my degree means as much as the on-campus students. And I know that the professors that are teaching me are kind of learning from our experience, translating it to the classroom, learning from the classroom experience, translating it to us. So I feel like it's very well rounded and pretty well integrated as well.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Great. Thank you. Thank you. So with the classmates that you have in the program, I know a lot of students connect in and out of the online environment. So have you been able to connect with any of your fellow cohort members outside of the online learning environment?

ERIN PRICE: I have. So I am in the DC area, and I do have a couple of classmates who are-- live near me. And so there's a group of us, probably three of us, that have gotten close. And we meet up occasionally and have coffee or dinner and-- or commiserate about, you know, a stressful exam or a paper.

But I also have some friends that I've made that live in-- I have one that lives in Texas, someone that lives in California, another in Pennsylvania. So really, all throughout the country that, you know, who I text with or email [INAUDIBLE] ask questions about, hey, did you understand what this assignment was? Or can you believe that this is due tomorrow? What are we going to do?

So it's really great. Everyone is pretty much in the same situation I am. We're all working full time. We're all trying to make this program work together. So it's great to have a group of peers that get it and can really, I guess, commiserate with you and buoy you and help to, you know, have-- help talk you through it.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Mm-hmm. Absolutely. It's good to have that connection. A lot of students think it's so cold in the online environment. I mean, they're alone. You know, I won't meet anyone. That's what I miss with the on-campus programs.

But you still get it, you know, in online. You've got the student lounge in orientation. You've got the other ways to communicate with your classmates right in the online environment and then outside of it if you've got, you know, students that are in your same state or whatnot.

So it's definitely beneficial to connect. Don't just be in the online environment alone. Just connect with your classmates, build that community.

So in your opinion, what does it take for a student to be successful in an online graduate program? I know I earned my master's online many, many moons ago. So but for you, what do you feel that it takes to be successful in an online program?

ERIN PRICE: You know, I mean, I think first and foremost, you have to be self disciplined. And you have to be willing to have good time-management skills. Those are sort of the two key fundamental things.

You know, it's easy to tune things out online. It's easy to skim readings. It's easy to not log in. But you have to make sure that you're not missing deadlines and that you're learning the content you need to in order to be successful.

And-- but you also need to have an interest in the content that you're learning. I mean, I can say that going to grad school has been a much different experience than my undergrad where, in grad school, I'm really fascinated by all the topics. And it's all subject matter that I'm super interested in whereas undergrad, you had all of these, you know, I need to take a Spanish class now. I need to take a this class now. And so—

NATASHA DEJESUS: The filler classes.

ERIN PRICE: Right. Right. So from a graduate school's perspective, I'm interested in all of the subject matter that's being presented. So having an interest in the program is probably the number one criteria that you need.

But, you know, also having life and work experiences makes this program, I think, easier. I was really nervous that this program was going to be super hard, and I wasn't going to be able to get it done. It was really intimidating.

But I found that it's not as challenging as I feared. Yeah, I mean, it causes critical thinking. And you have to study and read and learn and apply concepts and think about it. But it isn't insurmountable. And it's pretty-- it can be intuitive when you think about it.

And I also have to say that after having some work experience under my belt that I have a whole new perspective on writing papers than I did in my undergrad. You know, after writing proposals at work for many years, writing a four-page, double-spaced paper really seems pretty easy.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Absolutely. And just having that experience, I'm sure. I'm sure. So I believe that's about what we wanted to wrap up on. I know there's some questions here on-- from some of the students on some of the things that you talked about in your Q&A session.

Some more about the four, eight-week courses throughout the year. So I'm definitely going to answer these questions here in a second through the Q&A. But thank you so much for joining us and really sharing your experiences here as a student. We couldn't have done this without you.

I'm not in the program. I'm not a social worker. I have tons of experience volunteering. But it's always good to be able to hear it from a student, from someone that has personal experience, that has a little bit of working experience, but is really shifting gears and changing her career and really following her passion.

So you're hearing from someone that is just like you and ready to make that move. So thank you so, so much, Erin, for joining us. And thank you for taking this time out this evening.

ERIN PRICE: Thanks for having me. It's been great speaking with you. And I wish you all best of luck. And hopefully was able to give you a glimpse into what the program's really like.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Yup, you did, for sure. Thank you, Erin. Have a good evening.

ERIN PRICE: Thank-- you too.

NATASHA DEJESUS: Thank you.

So I hope you really enjoyed that as much as I did. I learned a lot from Erin. You know, I'm not a student in the program, but just getting it from her perspective of how this will work for you and what you'll gain out of the program as you're moving through it, what it's going to look like as a student in the MSW program. I really hope that helped you solidify your decision to move forward and join the program.

I know I'm getting a lot of questions through that interview about starting. When's the start term? How do I get signed up? What are the requirements?

So I'd be happy to go through the application deadline, all of those great things. One question before I even move into that though, just kind of going back to the four, eight-week class thing. So students take essentially six classes a year. So that is-- there is a summer, a summer semester.

So you're taking a spring semester, summer, and fall. One course, spring A, spring B, summer A, summer B, fall A, fall B. When you get to your field education though, your field education courses are two, three-semester courses. They run 16 weeks each. So it's one semester is 16 weeks. Second semester is 16 weeks. It's one course for field education.

However, if you're going to be using financial aid, we have to add in another course because you've got to have six credit hours to use financial aid. So you're going to take another course while you're doing your field education, just one, for one of the eight-week terms within that 16-week semester.

And we'd be happy to, you know, after the presentation, elaborate on this too through the message. But I hope that helped. And, of course, during our interview, we'll talk about that in greater detail as well.

We did have another question about the application process. And then also, the types of careers available with an MSW. So this kind of goes back to the micro, the macro, the mezzo.

We all know that there's-- the umbrella of social work is huge. There's so many different directions you can go into, therapy, counseling, of course, case management. That's what we all think of.

But then you have the macro and the mezzo level. So that's really being able to go out running, coordinating support groups, going into the community, really getting your hands into some things that are going on in society, being a lobbyist, advocating on behalf of a particular population, working in mental health, working in a hospital, in an oncology unit, as Erin is interested in doing.

So there's just so many different things. It just depends on what you want, what your passion is. And I'm sure if you have a passion, there is somewhere in social work that you can go. There's someone, someplace that you can fit in with that passion because, as I mentioned earlier, 19% growth from 2012 to '22.

So that means that there is so many different places for you in the field of social work. So if you're interested in children, great. Geriatrics, great. There's a place for you.

So now that, you know, the presentation, we're wrapping up now with just kind of talking about the MSW, the university. Now the fun stuff, how do I apply?

So with the program, right now we are accepting applications for the fall term. Our website is there where you can apply. The phone number, no one's in the office right now, but we will be there tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM. Give us a call. We'd be happy to have an interview.

That is the first step is an interview. We want to make sure that the program is really going to be a good fit for you and that you'd be a great candidate for admissions here. Fill out an application online. If you're eager to get that started before your interview, go ahead. Start your application. We'll have an interview with you tomorrow morning.

You will-- with our program, of course, you have to have a bachelor's degree, three letters of recommendation, personal statement, transcripts, and a resume. And you will work with one of us in the office, either myself, Sarah Caldwell, or Tina Struck on building up your admissions file. So we are here to support you all the way through, from this point, where you're learning about the program, all the way through acceptance into your first week of class. We're there to support you so you won't be alone. And even after that, you have student services who is there to support you as you move through the program to graduation.

So again, it's not a cold environment. We really want to make sure that we can mirror the campus and give you the attention that you need as you move forward and embark on this journey. Going to grad school is not easy. It's scary. I was scared.

I'm actually going back to school this fall myself. So I'm right there with you. I know the feeling. So don't be afraid to reach out to us and have that conversation. Share your passion with us. We love hearing your stories, and we share them with other students.

So thank you so much for joining us this evening. It has been a pleasure. And actually, wait. One more question.

Your bachelor's does not have to be in social work. You can apply with a bachelor's in basket weaving if you want. So you do not have to have a bachelor's in social work. If you want to get in Advanced Standing, yes. You have to have a BSW.

But for the full MSW, you do not have to have a bachelor's degree in social work. And you could have earned it back in 1976. That is perfectly fine.

So thank you again for joining us this evening. I hope you have a great night. And we look forward to speaking with you tomorrow morning.

Call us at 855-295-5711 to find out about upcoming Virtual Open House events.