Frequently Asked Questions
How many students with children are there each summer?
This number fluctuates and is also hard to quantify. But there are always a few children who visit the dining hall and their parents on campus in any given week.
Is the summer schedule manageable with children?
It is. Many students with children have been through the program. However, in order for the summer to feel manageable it is important to think about having some help with childcare for at least eight hours a day on weekdays and assume that you will be reading for the next day every night. On weekends you will be able to take some time off to be with your children, but never a whole weekend.
What is the internship like with children?
The internship is manageable with children. However, there are a lot of reports to be made to Smith and a Community Practice Project to undertake in the first placement as well as another focused on anti-racism in the second. The second-year placement is also the time you will be working on your thesis. The important thing is to pace yourself so that you do a little bit all the time. However, it is not like the summer, which feels like you are in the midst of finals for ten weeks. During the internship you feel like you have the headspace necessary to be an available parent most of the time. So to sum it up, you can get through the Smith School for Social Work if you have children but you will need quite a lot of support with caring for the children to do so.
Can I bring my child to class?
This is not recommended, as it can be disruptive for the class as well as a very long time for a child to sit quietly. (Each class is two hours long). Typically students cannot bring kids to class,in part because sensitive and confidential case material is presented.
Does Smith take location needs into consideration when assigning field placements?
Yes they do. However, it is essential that you make your needs very clear in the field placement application form. Remember, you have to identify four geographic choices on the field form and you cannot leave any blank, even if the other three areas are not viable for your family. If you cannot leave your home area, make that very clear on your application and the field department will work with you to place you as close to home as possible.
Can I request a particular class schedule?
Yes you can. Smith will make every effort to work with you to achieve the best possible compromise between class schedules and life demands. In the first summer, the deadline is two weeks after acceptance. In the second summer, the deadline is mid-March.
How much time will I really be with my children in a typical week?
Here is an example of a first summer schedule for one student who had two children (five and eight) while at SCSSW and who could not take a class before 9 a.m. in the morning:
- Monday through Friday classes always began at 10:30 a.m.
- On Monday & Friday, classes ended at 3:30 p.m.
- On Wednesdsay & Thursday classes ended at 5:30 p.m.
- On Wednesday the biology class ended at 9 p.m.
On most weekends, the student was with her family until mid morning and then studying for the rest of the day.
Do you have to study during the one-week break between the two summer terms?
No. You have no commitments to Smith in that time. Some students use the time to read ahead for the second term. But some take a complete break.
Use of Facilities
Can my child and caretaker/partner/spouse visit me on campus?
Yes they can. Students' families are welcome on campus throughout the day. There are places on campus to meet such as the Campus Center and the gym. Partners and children are also allowed in the library but please remember that this is a quiet space.
Is there a quiet place on campus where my child and caretaker or partner or spouse can visit me on campus?
Yes. There are a number of spaces on campus where you can spend quiet time with your family. There is the Campus Center, which has a number of public spaces that are open to anyone. There is also an inner courtyard in the dining hall that could work for a lunch time date.
The college has allowed students with children to use the Ada Lounge which is in Hopkins House, very close to the Campus Center off of Elm Street. It is a space that has a fridge, a sink and a bathroom. It is a great place to nurse a baby or store milk in the fridge.
The Ada Lounge is for Smith students and their children only and may not be used by non-Smith caretakers/spouses/partners unless accompanied by the student. This lounge has been generously lent to the school for social work students with children over the summer. As such it is important that the space be treated gently and that we clean up after ourselves.
Can my husband/partner or child's caretaker use other facilities on campus?
Yes. It is now possible for partners/spouses/caretakers and children to obtain a pass to the gym for a fee per summer. You must go down to the gym with your OneCard to purchase that card for your partner. The pass gives your partner access to the all the gym facilities with out being accompanied by you.
Can my child and caretaker/partner/spouse eat in the dining room?
Yes they can. It is not possible however to get into the dining hall without a OneCard. This means that whoever is meeting you will have to wait for you at the door.
You have the option of purchasing a meal plan for yourself before the term begins. It will be put on your OneCard. But since your meal card is good for your meals only, you will have to pay separately for meals for your child/caretaker/partner.
There are two highchairs available in the dining room.
What is on campus housing for students with children like?
Campus housing for students with children is very limited and is currently in the same small apartments that Smith undergrads use the rest of the year. The small apartments are not baby proofed as a result, so you may want to bring some of your own baby proofing items from home if your child is a toddler.
The rooms are not equipped with cribs or highchairs.
How easy is it to meet other students with children at the SSW?
This has depended in the past on how well organized the students with children group is. If the number of students with children decreases one year, the first weekend welcome is less focused on supporting students with children the following year because it is the students with children group who organize the welcome. However, despite this it is possible to identify other students with children fairly quickly as students introduce themselves in class and in the dining hall.
Is there an online discussion board for students with children?
Yes, you can contact other students with children through the discussion board. The discussion board is found on Moodle. Once you have your student ID you can access it.