Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about M.S.W. admission. If you do not find what you are looking for, please e-mail us at the Office of Admission or call us at (413) 585-7960 and we will be happy to to respond.
- When is your application deadline?
- How long after completing my application will I hear about your decision?
- What is the average length of the essay questions required in the application?
- I have a BSW. Will I receive advanced standing?
- Is an interview required?
- What is the size of your entering class?
- What is the average age of your students?
- Is non-binding early admission at the SSW the same as it is at undergraduate schools?
- Are there any reasons why I shouldn't apply non-binding early admission?
- If I get accepted non-binding early admission, can I defer my decision to the Regular Decision deadline?
- Are there limited slots in non-binding early admission?
- When will I hear about my field placement assignment?
- Can I be placed close to home?
- How likely is it that I will be placed in my first geographic choice?
- Can I stay in the same area for my second year?
- When are the financial aid awards announced?
- What is the range of financial aid awards?
- What is the average financial aid award?
- I am currently an undergraduate BSW student and will not be graduating until May; Can I still apply for this year?
- What if I graduated from my BSW program a long time ago; do I still l need to answer the question about the nature of my BSW practicum?
- About the case summary: What if I didn't see any clients during my BSW field work internship?
- I completed my BSW but have also had experience with clients before (or after) my BSW. From which setting should I draw for my case summary?
- If I am not accepted with advanced standing (the 18-month program), will I be considered for the full 27-month program?
- What letters of recommendation would serve an application for BSW AS best?
- Why are all the Advanced Stanging field placements within a two-hour radius of Smith College?
- I am a military servicemember hoping to provide services to veterans and their families after graduation. What kind of field experience will I have if I apply to the BSW AS program?
- If I apply for Advanced Standing, can I apply for need-based financial aid?
- Will I be considered for the Dean's Merit Scholarship and or the Scholarship for Military Servicemembers if I apply Advanced Standing?
- When will I know whether I have received either the Dean's Merit Scholarship or the Scholarship for Military Servicemembers?
Non-Binding Early Admission
Field Work Internships
Tuition and Financial Aid
Field Work Internships
Tuition and Financial Aid
- What can social workers do?
- Do you have a career placement office?
- What is the starting salary of your graduates?
- Where can I find information about social work licensing in my state?
Applications are accepted beginning April 1. While the deadline for filing applications is February 21, early application is strongly encouraged. Non-binding early admission and early review of field placement and financial aid requests will be given to those who submit a complete application on or before the non-binding early admission deadline of January 5. In addition, those applying for Non-Binding Early Admission will receive notification of their admission decision, geographic location of their field placement and the preliminary financial aid (award from Smith) by early February.
Once all materials are received, it normally takes about four to six weeks to review and decide on an application.
The length of this assignment varies by individual. The average essays, however, range from six to ten pages in total (double spaced).
The Smith Advanced Standing program (AS) is designed for students who have completed their BSW from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The AS program allows students to complete their MSW in 18 months (June through the following December) rather than the full 27-month program for non-BSW graduates. The AS program includes two on-campus academic summer sessions (10 weeks each) and one ongoing 15-month internship within a two-hour radius of Smith College. This unique design complements the skills gained in a BSW program, while at the same time providing opportunities for a rich clinical internship experience. Click here for more information on the Advanced Standing Program.
Interviews are not required. On occasion, the Admission Committee may request an interview if they feel one would be helpful to them in the assessment of your application.
Our entering class varies from year to year but tends to range from 110 to 130 students.
Last year's entering class included students ranging in age from 22 to 63, with the average being 30.
Yes. You may apply for either deadline but must supply us with a transcript listing all completed and in-process courses. A final, official copy of your transcript listing the degree earned must be received by the Office of Admission by May 31. Offers of admission are contingent upon successful completion of your undergraduate degree.
No. Non-binding early admission was developed at the SSW to help give students for whom the geography of their field placement or financial aid are deciding factors in their application to Smith. The goal of the program is to provide students with all of the information they need to make an informed decision. Those who apply by January 5 will receive an admission decision by the first week in February. Those accepted will also receive notification about the geographic location of their field placement and a preliminary financial aid award letter (funds from Smith only, not external resources).
Yes. If Smith is your first choice, you should apply for non-binding early admission. If, however, Smith is one of several schools you are considering, it is not to your advantage to apply during non-binding early admission. Because of our calendar, non-binding early admission candidates will receive their admission decision well before they hear decisions from other schools for social work. Once you receive our acceptance, you will be asked to accept or decline our offer within two weeks; you will not have heard from most other schools during this time period.
No, you must accept or decline your offer of admission within two weeks.
Yes, a limited number of slots are reserved for early admission. You could receive one of three decisions through non-binding early admission: accept, decline, or defer to regular decision. In the latter, your application is moved to the regular decision pool and re-reviewed after the final application deadline.
Field Work Internships
You will be notified about the geography of your field assignment by early February if you applied by the non-binding early admission application deadline (January 5). If you applied by the final application deadline (February 21), you will be notifiedand by April 30. Regular decision applicants must accept the offer of admission before plans can move forward around field placement.
The process of assigning field placements is a careful and thoughtful one designed to match each student's educational needs with a specific agency. Although the school is unable to guarantee a particular geographic area for field placement, students are asked to identify their preferred geographic choices. The school is committed to taking into account the personal circumstances of students when making placement decisions and works with students to respond to these circumstances while at the same time meeting their educational needs.
The vast majority of student receive their first or second choice of field placement. Recent statistics show that between 80 to 85 percent of students get their first or second choice.
Generally, students are placed in a different agency in the second year, but it can often times be in the same city if that's what you wish. Many students who are able to move find that the opportunity to work in two different geographic areas is a real asset: for those who are not able to move, the school has a good mix of agencies in each area so it often possible to stay in an area across the two years.
Financial aid application information is available to applicants online. We encourage applicants to complete and submit financial aid materials as soon as possible—even if you have not yet heard about your acceptance decision. If you apply during non-binding early admission and applicable financial aid forms are recieved by January 5, you will receive information on your preliminary award by early February, but must still complete the Full Financial Aid Application to confirm this award. Finalized financial aid award letters begin to be mailed at the end of March for those who file promptly. The final deadline for financial aid consideration is March 18.
Financial aid awards range from $2,000 to $20,000 per year. (This refers to Smith aid only, not to funding sources outside of Smith.)
The average need-based financial aid award from the SSW is about $8,350.
Click here for Advanced Standing Aid.
Yes. You may apply for either deadline but must supply us with a transcript listing all completed and in-process courses. A final, official copy of your transcript listing the degree earned must be received by the Office of Admission byMay 31. Offers of admission are contingent upon successful completion of your undergraduate degree.
Yes. Please try to describe your practicum to the best of your recollection. Obviously, we will be more interested in the work you have been doing since you graduated, but we would like to know a little about the training you received in your BSW program.
If you did not see any clients, please indicate as much and describe for us what was involved in your field experience; reflect upon whatever contact you might have had with populations to which social work has been committed. In this case, the case summary face sheet is not necessary.
We recommend you use the setting that provided you with the most direct contact experience with client populations. Your goal will be to provide as rich a description of your interaction with clients as possible so that we can better assess your experience and skill level.
Yes. There are three possible decisions offered through the BSW AS application process: acceptance with advanced standing (18 months), acceptance without advanced standing (27 months) or decline.
If you are currently in or have recently (past three years) graduated from your BSW program, we would strongly recommend a letter of recommendation from your internship supervisor and at least one from BSW faculty member. The other two letters would vary depending on the opportunities you may or may not have had to work or volunteer in human service settings either on campus or in your community. The director of admission is happy to help you assess options which would best serve your personal circumstances.
Those who have been away from their BSW program for more than three years are encouraged to include a letter from your current supervisor. Other possible letters include those from: a co-worker; a contact from a community/volunteer endeavor in which you might be involved; allied professionals with whom you have collaborated, etc.
AS field placements are unique placements designed to advance clinical training through an intensive and extended 15-month internship; ongoing and regular oversight of these placements will take place over the course of the 15 months by Smith field staff. In addition, unlike 27 month MSW students, AS students will take one course during their first fall term, their spring term and their final fall term; this requires that students be within a commutable distance from Smith.
Advanced Standing placements are designed to meet the school's second year field objectives and, whenever possible, to help prepare students for areas of specialized interest. A military service member might prefer to train in a broad-based setting that serves a wide range of individuals and families, or might prefer to specialize in service to military individuals and families by interning in a VA Medical Center. The field department will work with students to determine the setting that best meets both learning and longer-term career goals.
Yes. Like 27 month students, AS students apply for financial aid at the time they apply for admission (by January 5 for non-binding early admission and by March 18 for regular admission).The aid determination for advanced standing student's final academic year is adjusted based upon seven out of twelve months of attendance.
Yes. All MSW applicants, whether for the 27-month program or the AS program, are considered for the Dean's Merit Scholarship; no additional application materials are required to be considered for the Dean's Merit Scholarship. Likewise, all applicants (27-month or AS) who are military servicemembers are considered for the Scholarship for Military Servicemembers as long as all military scholarship application requirements and deadlines are met, as detailed here.
Notification that you have been awarded one of these scholarships will be mailed with your letter of acceptance.
Not only is social work cited as one of the best jobs for saving the world, but also one of the jobs with the highest rates of satisfaction (2011, Money Magazine). Graduates from the School for Social Work take on varying roles in different settings including, but certainly not limited to: schools, private practice with children, adults or families, hospitals, street work with gangs, oncology units, prisons, campus mental health offices, mental health agencies, adoption agencies, battered women's shelters, eating disorders programs and juvenile detention support programs.
We have an excellent field placement program which offers a wide variety of services dedicated to helping students find a job after graduation. Experienced staff members provide resume and cover letter review, on-campus workshops during the summer academic sessions and individual career counseling both on and off campus. The office also houses individual reference files, a career resource library and the Smith College Career Advisory Service, a computerized network of 15,000 college and social work alumni who have volunteered to advise other Smith students and alumni about their work and post-Smith studies. Services are free to students and to graduates for two years following graduation.
In 2010, the average starting salary for graduates who responded to our inquiry was $40,095. The vast majority was able to secure a job in three months or less.
For information on licensing by state, visit the Association of Social Work Boards Web site.