Graduate School Social Work Interview Advice?

Question by bumble bee girl: Graduate School Social Work Interview Advice?
I’m going on a few interviews for graduate school MSW programs and I was wondering if anyone who is now in school for social work has any good interview advice or tips. Any ideas about questions they’ll be asking? Things I should make sure NOT to do? Things like that…

Best answer:

Answer by Stacy
The number one concern with Social Work is that you’ll burn out right away. So, when you go to your interview, they’ll look for signs that you may burn out quickly or last a long time. The NUMBER ONE MISTAKE people make in this field is that they want to “fix” people or “save the world.” Well, you can’t do that. It’s impossible. So, they’ll probably be less likely to accept you if you say something like this or seem too squimish and nervous at the interview.

What they look for in a good Social Worker:
-Direct and helpful
-Compassionate, but understand that you can’t care TOO much
-Deal with stress well
-Work well with others! (This is HUGE)
-Have good problem solving skills

Good luck and I hope you do well! 🙂

Answer by Kate
I used to work in the admissions department of the graduate school of social welfare at my university, and our main concern was that the person would finish the masters degree.

The school wants a high retention record, so that they can say, for instance, “99% of our students graduate the program.” So, you’ll want to be prepared to show that you are serious about the degree, and intend to finish it.

Other questions you may be asked:
Why Social Work?
Why grad school now, at this point in your life?
What have you done in the past for employment or volunteer work that led you to this decision?
Or – is there anything in your personal life that interested you in social work?

Be careful on that last one. If you have a brother with a disability, and because of this experience you want to someday work as an advocate for those with disabilities, that’s a good reason. Same thing with working with the elderly in fields of gerontology, etc.

Alot of people mention that they had mental health problems or addictions and went to therapy or drug treatment centers, and became interested in the field. That, however, is risky. Although people in recovery can and do make fine counselors in the addictions field, universities can be leery of admitting someone who is in early recovery or still struggling with a mental health issue.

It also falls under the TMI (too much information) category. You can make a compelling case for being interested in helping to bring about change (that is what a social worker is – an agent for change, and you’ll hear it alot in grad school) without discussing deeply personal issues.

Best of luck to you!

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