Switching MSW schools a bad idea?
November 8, 2007 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Posting this for my sister. She is in a MSW program at a small private college, and wants to transfer to larger state college.

She has stellar grades. She was warned by an MBA and MFA-having friend that switching grad programs within the social sciences is difficult and looks bad, even with good reason (death, family matters, etc.), and that it is a red flag to prospective employers.

Is any of this true? How feasible is switching schools one year into a MSW program?
posted by everichon to Education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If her current program isn't isn't serving her educational goals, then by all means, she should switch. Legitimate reasons include things such as she would like to specialize in couples therapy, systems approach, etc., and the current program does not offer training in this area, etc.

Having said that, however, most MSW programs are 1-2 years. So does this mean that she's been at her current program for 2 months, and now would like to switch for the next academic year when she would be she's half way or almost done with her program? Yikes!! She should make sure that the new school will take the courses from the old school. Otherwise, she may have to repeat some/many of her coursework. Also, even if the new school takes the course credits and gives her 2nd year status, she'll be at a disadvantage compared to the other 2nd years when it comes time for her to get letters of rec. from her professors in order to get the internship placement, because she won't have had as much interaction in the classes as her peers have had.
posted by jujube at 1:54 PM on November 8, 2007

It doesn't matter so long as she finishes her MSW. MBA and MFA friends are just making their info on this up. Recommendations for jobs will be gotten from field supervisors and her grades will prove how smart she is. Plus, if she wants to give a "good reason" as to why she wants to switch, then she should cite how expensive the small program is and how she needs to lower her costs.

Tons of MSW students switch programs. I briefly attended social work school for an MSW and during orientation, there were a few transfer students.

Not the end of the world or even worth thinking all that hard about if that's what she wants to do.
posted by onepapertiger at 4:00 PM on November 8, 2007

It's a fairly common practice, and I haven't heard of any ill effects from the MSWs I know who did this. I mostly know of people who left a small private program to transfer to a larger program, just like your sister wants to do.
posted by OmieWise at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2007

Switching grad programs within the social sciences might actually be difficult and may look bad (whatever that means), but that really shouldn't matter to your friend because an MSW isn't a social sciences degree.
posted by The Straightener at 5:09 PM on November 8, 2007

That's strange advice. I hire people with advanced degrees. It's never occurred to me to ask if they transferred programs. It would come out on the background check, but it wouldn't be anything troublesome to me. If she has a job history of rapid job changes, then it might be an additional indicator that she's a potential flaky employee. Otherwise, it would be a non-issue.

If she's really worried, then she should make sure to secure a few professors at her original school to provide recommendations. That would demonstrate that she left on good terms.

However, grad programs generally don't accept many transfer credits. She's probably going to lose most of the credits she's earned. Even at the lower state school tuition it might be more economical to stay at the private college.
posted by 26.2 at 9:29 AM on November 9, 2007

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