Isu Msw Application Essay

Social Work - Child and Family Practice

Social Work students who are interested in working with children (up to age 18) and their families will find the Child and Family Practice sequence most suited to their needs.

Students will specialize in agency-based practice with and on behalf of children and families at risk. It emphasizes the development, delivery, and management of services to meet the specific needs of children and families. The curriculum prepares graduates for advanced practice across an array of settings including mental health centers and institutions, public and private child welfare agencies, substance abuse programs, youth centers, prevention agencies, hospitals, homeless programs, domestic violence centers, courts, and community centers. This concentration gives special emphasis to four key social problems affecting children and families: poverty, mental illness, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Understanding these social problems is central to serving at-risk clients.

Student experience and specialized knowledge are expanded through the selection of practicum sites and electives concerning special populations and specific social problems, and the related practice methodologies. These include, but are not limited to: foster care and special needs adoption, substance abuse, family violence, sexual abuse, physical and mental illness, agency administration and program planning, and supervision.

University Requirements

A student applying to a master's program must:

  • have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university that is accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting association, or do so within one academic year
  • present official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university
  • have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or any previous work in a master's program
  • submit a current resume
  • submit names and email addresses of two references for letters of recommendation within the online application. Recommendations should be written by individuals who are familiar with your academic achievement, potential, and relevant professional and/or volunteer experience in the field of social work or other human service related field.

    Advanced Standing Applicants: you must provide one academic reference and one reference from a field instructor. If you have not begun your advanced field practicum, you may provide one reference from a professional or volunteer social service/human service experience.

    Full Program Applicants: You must provide at least one academic reference if graduating within a year of applying to the MSW program and one reference from paid or volunteer experience in social service/human services. Applicants who are currently working full-time must provide one reference from a social service/human service supervisor, one reference from a professional colleague or former supervisor and one reference from paid or volunteer experience in social service/human services (especially for candidates who are changing careers).

    Please provide the following guidelines to your recommender for completion of a letter of recommendation on behalf of an applicant:

    • How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?
    • What is your evaluation of the applicant's capabilities and suitability for graduate education?
    • What is your evaluation of the applicant's capabilities and suitability for subsequent practice in the field of social work (i.e. applicant's level of competence in his/her ability to work with others, level of comfort with social and cultural differences, respect for differences, and commitment to social and economic equity)?
    • How would you assess the applicant's potential for professional growth and development, capacity for self-awareness, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others?
    • Identify leadership ability, work performance (academic or professional) and personal characteristics that you believe could either help or hinder the applicant's development as an effective social worker.
    • Other comments
  • submit an essay. The essay should demonstrate an applicants interest in obtaining their master's degree and working in the social work field. Applicants should draw from their academic, personal and professional experiences to respond to the essay questions. The essay should be 5-10 pages in length and follow the American Psychological Association (APA) format.

    The questions that need to be addressed are:

    • Why are you interested in pursuing an MSW? What led you to choose ISU’s program? What are your intended career goals? How do your intended career goals and interests fit with either the Child and Family Practice, School Social Work or Gerontology concentration?
    • Explain your understanding of cultural competence? What challenges have you experienced and what have you done to address them? What actions have you taken to promote equality and inclusion?
    • Please identify a current social justice issue. As a social worker, what steps would you take to address this issue? What actions have you taken in your life to challenge any social injustice?
    • What is your history of academic and/or professional success? If you've had challenges academically, how have you addressed those challenges? What is your plan to be academically successful in graduate school?
    • What volunteer experiences and/or professional development activities have you participated in? How have these activities prepared you for the profession?
    • What is your plan to pay for graduate school and meet your living expenses? What changes do you plan to make in your daily schedule to accommodate the time demands of graduate school.

Dates and Deadlines

TermDeadline
Fall (August) February 15 for full program applicants only 
Spring (January) No admission 
Summer (May/June) No admission 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.

Eligibility

To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,

  • be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).

Benefits

Graduate assistants receive

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

The Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Illinois State seeks to prepare generalist social work practitioners who act as agents of social change who in turn will promote individual and societal well-being.

Why Study Social Work?

Social work is a helping profession with emphasis located on the relationship between the individual and his or her environment. Social workers are community troubleshooters. Through direct counseling or referral to other services they help individuals, families, and groups cope with their problems. Social workers serve a range of client systems (individuals, families, groups, communities) as they attempt to enhance social functioning. Social work is unique given its dual focus on the person and the environment.

Related Skills

  • Ability to manage pressure well
  • Good conflict resolving skills
  • Good listener and motivator
  • Posses the understanding of human behavior
  • Ability to lead and be a team member
  • Organizational skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Empathy for others
  • Appreciation for diversity
  • Interest in social change

Being Successful in the Field

  • Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) prepares individuals for entry-level direct practice.
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) is necessary to provide therapy and for advancement to supervisory or administrative positions.
  • Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required for positions in teaching,research, and administration. Desirable for some clinical positions and private practice.
  • Complete a degree from a college or university program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Programs include practical field experience.
  • Most states require licensure, certification, or registration.
  • The field practicum is used to determine suitability for this profession and to provide exposure to various practice settings and clients.

Related Fields

Public Welfare

  • Administration and Planning
  • Case Management
  • Program Evaluation
  • Policy Setting
  • Research

Employers

  • Public welfare agencies
  • Private social service agencies

Strategies

  • Public welfare is designed to provide services and support for poor, disabled,ill, elderly, or juvenile clients.
  • Volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, battered women homes, literacy programs, or other social service agencies to get experience.

Criminal Justice/Corrections

  • Counseling/Therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Probation
  • Parole
  • Youth Services
  • Victim Assistance

Employers

  • Prisons and correctional facilities
  • Courts
  • Police departments
  • Probation offices
  • Victim services organizations

Strategies

  • Social workers in corrections focus on rehabilitation of clients.
  • Obtain experience by volunteering at a corrections facility or victims program such as a rape crisis center.

School Social Work

  • Clinical Social Work
  • Pupil Personnel Services
  • Student Advocacy
  • Instruction

Employers

  • Elementary and secondary schools
  • School districts
  • Head start centers
  • Early intervention programs

Strategies

  • School systems may employ social workers to help students cope with and resolve emotional, developmental, or educational difficulties.
  • Gain experience with children at daycare centers, camps, or Scouts.

Child Welfare

  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Intervention

Employers

  • Public and private child welfare agencies
  • Adoption agencies
  • Foster care organizations
  • Child daycare

Strategies

  • Child welfare social workers strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children through treatment of the whole family.
  • Volunteer at day cares, child shelters, camps, YMCA, Scouts, or other agencies that aid youth.

Gerontology

  • Advocacy/Intervention
  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Programming
  • Public Policy

Employers

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Senior centers
  • Assisted living
  • Hospice

Strategies

  • Gerontology involves working with older adults, healthy or ill, and their families.
  • Get involved with programs or organizations designed for senior citizens.

Clinical

Employers

  • Community mental health centers
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Residential and day treatment hospitals
  • Employment assistance programs
  • Schools
  • Family service agencies
  • Private practice

Strategies

  • Clinical social workers are found in a variety of settings that provide therapeutic counseling to clients.
  • Master of Social Work (MSW) is required.

Administration

  • Management
  • Policy Development
  • Planning

Employers

  • Family service agencies
  • Child welfare departments
  • Social service agencies
  • State mental health departments
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Probation departments
  • Public welfare agencies
  • Public interest groups
  • Local, state, and federal government

Strategies

  • Administrators are involved with planning, budgeting, public relations, marketing, supervising, operations management, fund raising, and other crucial responsibilities that keep an organization functioning.
  • Obtain an MSW and gain management experience.

Research and Education

Employers

  • Colleges and universities
  • Research institutes
  • Local, state and federal government
  • Advocacy organizations

Strategies

  • Research provides data and statistics important in program implementation and policy development.
  • Doctor of Social Work (DSW) or Ph.D. usually required.

Occupational

  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Wellness Promotion
  • Employee Assistance
  • Organizational Development
  • Human Resources

Employers

  • Businesses
  • Corporations
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Labor unions

Strategies

Occupational social workers help employees to be more productive and satisfied.

Developmental Disabilities

Case Management
Program Planning and Evaluation
Research
Policy Development

Employers

Community residential homes
State and local agencies
Medical facilities
Schools

Strategies

  • Social workers in this area help people with disabilities to adjust and to lead productive lives.
  • Volunteer at special needs camps, day cares, schools, or hospitals to gain experience.

Health Care

  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Program Development
  • Administration
  • Research

Employers

Hospitals
Community health centers
Outpatient clinics
Public health programs
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)
Nursing homes
Group homes
Hospice
Veterans Administration hospitals

Strategies

  • Social workers in health care facilitate medical and emotional treatment ofpatients.
  • Choose volunteer settings such as hospitals, the American Red Cross, or AIDS agencies to get experience.

Community Organization

  • Program and Community Development
  • Advocacy
  • Politics
  • Education
  • Planning

Employers

  • Advocacy organizations
  • Development corporations
  • Community centers
  • Local, state, and federal government
  • Associations

Strategies

  • Social workers in this area work with existing organizations to improve conditions for specific groups, enhance quality of living, and involve community members in the political process.
  • Get involved with grassroots causes and community agencies.

Other Professions

  • Admissions Counselor
  • Adult Protective Services
  • Advocate
  • Case Worker
  • Child Care Worker
  • Children’s Services Worker
  • Clergy
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • Congressional Aide
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Cottage Parent
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Demographer
  • Domestic Violence Social Worker
  • Drug Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Family Services Social Worker
  • Foster Care Caseworker
  • Fund-Raiser
  • Geriatric Case Worker
  • Geriatric Social Worker
  • Grassroots Organizer
  • Group Home Director
  • Hospice Coordinator
  • Hospital Social Worker
  • Human Services Worker
  • Intake Counselor
  • Juvenile Court Caseworker
  • Mental Health Case Manager
  • Nursing Home Social Worker
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Prison Social Worker
  • Probation/Parole Officer
  • Public Health Social Worker
  • Recreation Supervisor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • Social Researcher
  • Social Welfare Director

Career Advising

Internship Coordinator

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

How can I prepare to major in Social Work?

If you want to become a Social Work major when you enroll at Illinois State, plan your high school courses well to prepare for the major.

The Social Work major builds on foundation skills in math, writing, science, social sciences, history and reasoning. The more classes you can take in high school that will help you improve upon these skills, the better.

Take as much foreign language as you can. Social work is becoming very multicultural in its emphasis. For example, becoming fluent in Spanish will open many career opportunities for you. Our college, the College of Arts and Sciences at Illinois State, requires three years of the same language in high school or two semesters at college level as a minimum requirement. Take foreign languages! Become well rounded. Take good, strong college preparatory classes in as many areas as you can. Take a lot of math, science, English, and literature. Volunteer. Work as a tutor, or at a summer camp, or any place where you can work with people.

Here is a list of examples of Bloomington-Normal area social service agencies. You may find similar agencies and organizations in your local community. Complete the Volunteer Service Hours form to document your service hours.

These experiences will help you understand social services better and help you define your career goals.

If you have any questions, please contact the BSW academic advisor Jerey McKinney.

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Admission is only available for the fall semester. Admission decisions will be released after the February 15 application deadline.

The School of Social Work’s preferred filing period for the fall semester is September 1-February 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Program Requirements

All Social Work majors must formally apply to the School of Social Work to continue to the professional preparation coursework within the program. The application process for continuation is a prerequisite for taking any 200 and 300 level Social Work course. In order to be formally approved for continuance to the professional preparation coursework, students are required to submit their application before enrolling in SWK 223.

To be accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work program, a student must have satisfied the following requirements:

  • At least 30 hours of credit with a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA
  • Completed General Education requirements
  • Grade of C or better in all courses required for the major (including all social work pre-requisites)
  • Successfully completed a minimum of 25 pre-approved clock hours of volunteer or paid work experience (post high school graduation) in a social agency within the last two years. This requirement can be met through a broad range of experiences with populations or individuals experiencing a social problem. The list of appropriate local volunteer opportunities can serve as a guide to volunteer experiences either in Bloomington-Normal or in other communities. Complete the Volunteer Service Hours form.
  • Examples of Bloomington-Normal area social service agencies.
  • Personal essay, addressing specified qualifications
  • Demonstrated suitability for the profession proven through the personal statement. Assessment of suitability is also based on professional standards of practice as specified in the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.

Exemptions from the grade point requirement may be made for students who demonstrate potential for academic success in Social Work. Exceptions are granted upon the recommendations of the Social Work Admission Committee and the director or designee of the Social Work program.

Social Work Prerequisites

One social work course:

  • SWK 170 - Introduction to Social Work

One human biology course from the following:

  • BSC 101 - Fundamental Concepts in Biology
  • BSC 145 - Human Biology
  • BSC 170 - Genetics and Society

One statistics course from the following:

  • SOC 275 - Social Statistics
  • ECO/POL/PSY 138 - Social Science Reasoning and Statistics
  • MQM 100 - Statistical Reasoning
  • MAT 150 - Fundamentals of Statistical Reasoning

One sociology course from the following:

  • SOC 106 - Intro to Sociology

Two psychology courses:

  • PSY 110 - Intro to Psychology
  • PSY 350 - Psychopathology

One economics course:

  • ECO 103 - Individual and Social Change

One political science courses:

  • POL 101 or POL 105 or POL 106

One anthropology course:

  • ANT 185 - Fulfills Global Study Requirement

Minimum GPA

2.50

Middle 50% GPA

2.58 - 3.18

Required Courses

AA or AS degree or IAI completed and grade of "C" or better in: (for students with 45 earned hours or more)

  • Introduction to Social Work (SWK 170)
  • Statistics (ECO/GEO/POS/PSY 138 or SOC 275 or MQM 100)
  • Human Biology (BSC 101, 145 or 170)

Recommended Courses

  • 25 hours of volunteer or paid experience
  • Foreign language: LAN 112 or higher
  • Bachelor of Science option: Additional Science/Math/Tech course of GenEd or LAN 115 or higher
  • Psychology (PSY 110 or 111)
  • Intro to Sociology (SOC 106)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 350 or similar)
  • Cultures of the World (ANT 185 or fulfillment of Global Studies)
  • Politics (POL 101, 105 or 106)
  • Individual and Social Choice (ECO 103 or microeconomics or macroeconomics course equivalent)

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Academic Advising

Middle 50% GPA

2.58 - 3.18

Plan of Study

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Application Period

September 1 - November 1, Fall Admission Only

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Major Requirements

Requirements for transferring into the Social Work major include:

  • Work with University College advisor to start completing general education courses, and the prerequisite courses to enter the Social Work program. See list of required courses below.
  • Successfully completed a minimum of 25 pre-approved clock hours of volunteer or paid work experience (post high school graduation) in a social agency within the last two years. This requirement can be met through a broad range of experiences with populations or individuals experiencing a social problem.The list of appropriate local volunteer opportunities can serve as a guide to appropriate experiences either in Bloomington-Normal or in other communities. Complete the Volunteer Service Hours form.
  • Examples of Bloomington-Normal area social service agencies.
  • Personal Essay - addressing specified qualifications
  • Demonstrated suitability for the profession proven through the personal statement. Assessment of suitability is also based on professional standards of practice as specified in the Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics.
  • The following course requirements before entering the BSW program sequence.

One social work course:

  • SWK 170 - Introduction to Social Work

One human biology course from the following:

  • BSC 101 - Fundamental Concepts in Biology
  • BSC 145 - Human Biology
  • BSC 170-Genetics and Society

One statistics course from the following:

  • ECO/GEO/POS/PSY 138 - Social Science Reasoning and Statistics
  • MQM 100-Statistical Reasonsing

One sociology course from the following:

  • SOA 106 –Intro to Sociology

Two psychology courses:

  • PSY 110 – Intro to Psychology
  • PSY 350 – Psychopathology

One economics course:

  • ECO 103 – Individual and Social Change

One political science course:

  • POL 101 or POL 105 or POL 106

One anthropology course:

  • ANT 185- Fulfills Global Study Requirement

Academic Advising

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