It is about that time when admitted students have to decide what school they want to go to, and trust me, I know it can be an incredibly difficult decision. I applied to 6 MSW programs, thinking I was only going to be admitted to 1 or 2, but I was pleasantly surprised when I was admitted to all 6 schools. This made the decision of where to go for my MSW very difficult. After doing more research, many conversations with my mom, some soul-searching, and numerous pros/cons lists, I ultimately narrowed the search down to 3 schools.
So why did I ultimately decide to come to the UNC School of Social Work?
- Field placement opportunities: Due to it’s high esteem as an MSW program, the UNC School of Social Work has connections to over 250 field placements across North Carolina. These include placements in public schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, domestic violence agencies, county DSS, faith based organizations, state and local government, mental health agencies, substance abuse programs, child welfare services, veterans services, and MANY more.
….My first field placement was at two elementary schools in Siler City (small rural town), working as a school social work intern. My second field placement is at a small non-profit in Durham, helping with program planning, evaluation, and coordinating programs for low-income urban youth and families.
- Chapel Hill’s location: Chapel Hill is also located in the Triangle (the “triangle” is the area in NC including Chapel Hill, Durham & Raleigh), so depending on your preferences in lifestyle, you can live in Chapel Hill, Carrboro (next to Chapel Hill), Durham, or Raleigh… Each city has a really different vibe, and all have buses that can take you to UNC’s campus. Another benefit of Chapel Hill’s location is that your field placement can be in a wide range of settings (urban, rural, suburbs). If you’re interested in working with inner-city urban youth, you can find a placement in Raleigh or Durham. If you’re interested in working with migrant farmworkers, Hmong refugees, or Latino immigrants, there are field placements in Chapel Hill, and also in Pittsboro and Siler City (Southwest of Chapel Hill). If you want to work in a hospital, there are incredible hospitals in the area (UNC Hospital, Duke Hospital). So, as you can see, Chapel Hill is a great place to call home.
- The price tag: Although tuition at UNC is NOT cheap, UNC tuition is a lot lower than some of the other schools I was looking at (especially private schools). Tuition can be high if you’re an out-of-state student, but if you gain in-state residency, it helps a lot. Check out the guidelines for how to gain residency: http://gradschool.unc.edu/studentlife/resources/residency/ (You have to have lived in NC for at least 1 year to gain residency)
- The NC weather. I’m from Chicago, and I love the weather in NC. I can exercise outdoors almost 100% of the year. There’s also amazing state parks, running trails, and greenways all across NC, and lots in Chapel Hill. If you’re an outdoors lover or need lots of Vitamin D in your life, NC is the place for you.
- We’re in the top 5: Not to sound snooty, but being at a #5 School of Social Work, means you have access to amazing professors, researchers, and opportunities within the school. Check out some of the CVs of the professors at the school (http://ssw.unc.edu/about/expert) and you’ll understand why the school is ranked so highly!
If you want to know more about why I chose UNC, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck in making your decisions!