Advanced Standing or not Advanced Standing…

…This may be the question on your mind right now with application deadlines coming up in only a few short months! I am sorry to say that I can’t make up your mind for you. However, I would love to let you know a little bit about my experience in the AS program, which might provide some clarity on the realities of this fast-track option.
I began my classes in May- only ONE WEEK after graduating from my BSW program! When deciding on what program would be right for me, I remember questioning my desire to do Advanced Standing. I considered many questions such as “Can I handle this?”, “Will my soul be crushed within a few months?”, and “Will this program be able to provide me with the knowledge that I need?”. Now, being on the other side of Summer, I can report to you that my soul has yet to be crushed AND I feel more confident every day that I am gaining the advanced knowledge and skills I need to become an effective social worker. Most of all, I feel that the UNC School of Social Work faculty has helped me on a daily basis to make sure I am able to handle the stressors that come along with the UNC academic workload. Though UNC may offer a challenging program, I assure you- it is worth it!

With the campus now filled up with many new and returning students, I am also realizing how lucky I was to have the summer session as a period of adjustment to learn the ins and outs of not only the School of Social Work, but all of the amazing things that the Carolina campus and Chapel Hill community have to offer. Though the AS option may sound a little daunting, the summer is really the trickiest piece of the puzzle. However, the schedule does allow some down time to visit family and friends, or take a quick vacation. After all, social workers are always advocating for self-care! We were given a two week break between the summer and fall sessions, which allowed time to recuperate from the busy summer, reflect on my new learning experiences, and continue building friendships with peers in my AS cohort.

The highlight of my break was being able to volunteer for one of my peers Brittany who was wrapping up her first big project through her internship with Chapel Hill/Carrboro Communities in Schools. Her “Stuff the Bus” Campaign collected thousands of dollars’ worth of school supplies for children in the community- and it was so much fun!

(See picture below of Brittany with some of the donated supplies- amazing!).

Brittany
Overall, I feel that the Advanced Standing option was a perfect fit for me. I was able to spend the summer in an intense learning environment building relationships with 21 amazing individuals, through which I experienced many learning opportunities that often challenged my ideas, beliefs and past knowledge. The challenges I have faced during my few months at UNC have all contributed to my love of this program and the faculty who work hard every day to support and encourage students’ dreams. If you are struggling with deciding whether the UNC program, or various program options, are the right fit for you- I encourage you to reach out to one of us. The student ambassadors are here to help you better understand the UNC MSW program and its many options that await you. We would love to hear from you. Happy Fall everyone!

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