One of the options offered through the School of Social Work are a number of wonderful certifications. I have chosen to work towards my Certificate in Nonprofit Management. For those of you who are looking at the Advanced Standing program, an additional certification may seem a little daunting. I’m here to tell you, though, that it’s completely possible! The nonprofit certificate requires 5 courses, which is 1 more elective than Advanced Standing has room for elective-wise.
I have chosen to finish my certification in the same amount of time as my MSW, which means that I am taking an overload both semesters. We are all warned about overloading, but I have found that I can split up that 1 more elective by only taking 1.5 hours of overload each semester. For the fall, this has meant a single weekend class.
This weekend I embarked on this weekend class: Facilitation Skills offered through the UNC School of Government. We met from 1:00-5:30pm on Friday and 9:00am-5:00pm on Saturday. There was reading and two online modules to complete beforehand, and we now have a reflection paper due in two weeks. I’ve gone back and forth about if this was the best way to get my hours and, after completing the weekend, I believe I made the correct decision.
When I signed up for this course, my thought process was that it wouldn’t feel like an overload because there would only be one weekend when I had more work than usual. As time approached, I realized that this particular weekend class was RIGHT around midterms and I began to regret my decision. I had so much else to do for my regular classes, how could I possibly have time to spend an entire weekend in another class? Especially with all the prep-time I had to do the week before!
I have now come out on the other side, and I am once again happy with my decision. All that stands between me and 1.5 hours of credit is a reflection paper! How cool is that? And sitting in class all day on a Saturday wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be. Facilitation skills, as one might suspect, is a very interactive class. It felt much more like a workshop than an academic class and it was mostly built of role play and observation. It really did teach me a lot of good skills and techniques! I even began to wonder if I should have taken the other available weekend class (Mediation Skills) earlier this semester.
Overall, it was challenging to devote so much of my weekend away when I had a lot to do for my other classes. However, I have not had to worry about it at all until now and now it’s over! Not a bad experience at all, and I came away from it with a lot! If it’s a topic that truly interests you: I actually do suggest the weekend classes! I think it would be more difficult if it wasn’t a topic I was excited about, but facilitation is something we can all use! And hey, I still have all day Sunday to worry about my midterms!
I hope your take away from this post is that if you’re interested in Advanced Standing and a Certificate — go for it! It’s a little extra work. It’s a little extra time. But it’s completely possible and, in my case, completely worth it.