ADMISSION TO THE BSW PROGRAM
There are two levels of entry to the social work major. The first level is declaring social work as your major. If you are interested in becoming a social work major you can do so by declaring social work when you enter ETSU or by filling out a Change of Major form, if transferring from another department. Call 439-6009 to set up an appointment with the BSW Program Director to complete a Change of Major form and open a student file in the Department of Social Work. Our offices are located at Lyle House, formerly Hillrise Hall, near the tennis courts.
The second level of entry is formal admission to the major and the upper division Social Work Practice classes. Students typically apply to the major when they have completed most of their general education requirements, all admission criteria, and are enrolled in their two human behavior (HBSE) classes (SOWK 3000 and 3010). At the time of application, ALL criteria must be completed. In order to accommodate our community college students with an ETSU articulation agreement and intra-university transfer students, an exception may be granted to allow enrollment in one or two of the introductory social work courses (typically SOWK 1020 or 1030) at the time of application for admission or an extension to complete the human service activity.
If you are taking HBSE in the fall, the application deadline is October 1. If you are taking HBSE in the spring, the application deadline is March 1. If these dates fall on a weekend, applications are due the next working day.
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Social work is a professional program of education and training and therefore requires comprehensive academic standards throughout the program. The Baccalaureate Social Work (BSW) Program Committee has identified academic performance standards that fall into 7 categories: scholastic, professional values and ethics, self-awareness, interpersonal relationship skills, responsibility and professional readiness, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and communication skills, as advanced in the program’s Academic Performance Standards for Admission, Retention, and Graduation. These academic performance standards with essential behaviors in each category are primary indicators of professional readiness for practice in the field of social work. Students must demonstrate ability to meet these standards in order to be admitted to the program.
The academic performance standards are applied when the student meets with the BSW Program Director to open his/her file in the department. When a student meets with the BSW Program Director to set up his or her student file, s/he will be given a copy of the Academic Performance Standards as part of the process.
Requirements for submitting an application for admission to the Social Work Program:
Criteria for acceptance into the Social Work Program:
An Academic Performance Review may be scheduled if the student’s application or input from faculty suggests the student’s inability to meet any of the program’s Academic Performance Standards when his or her application is reviewed by the BSW Program Committee.
One of the requirements for admission to the program is completion and documentation of 60 hours of human service activity, paid or volunteer. This requirement provides experience in helping that allows you to determine if you and a career in social work are a good “fit.” In addition, it allows you to gain some insight into and experience with working as a helper. To meet this requirement we want you to have some type of post-high school, face-to-face helping experience. Therefore, agency training activities, life guarding, running agency errands, teaching Sunday school, babysitting, or doing secretarial work for an agency are among the kinds of activities that are viewed as inappropriate in fulfilling the human service requirement, although they might be otherwise valuable personal experiences. Instead, we want students to enter the social welfare arena and to engage in helping activities that are outside of the normal spheres of student experience that are campus related and church related, although occasionally the BSW Program Director may grant partial credit in advance for such activities if they are in keeping with the spirit and intent of the human service requirement. More appropriate activities would include, for example, working as a camp counselor, being a Big Brother or Big Sister, interacting with nursing home patients or hospital patients, working in a shelter, determining need and distributing food and clothing to needy families, and so on. Students may be granted limited credit by the BSW Program Director for “shadowing” a social worker as that person carries out his or her duties.
Students may work in more than one setting but will need to have a form to document their volunteer hours filled out for each different setting in which they work.
If you have questions about whether or not a volunteer experience will count toward the 60 hours, see the BSW Program Director who will render a decision and record it in your student file. The program now requires pre-approval of your activity to ensure it meets the admission requirements.
The Human Service Activity forms are submitted with the applications for admission to the program. Please do not submit the forms in advance of applying to the program.
After applications are received, they are distributed among BSW faculty for review and evaluation, using a rating sheet developed by the program, which attaches a point value to overall GPA, social work GPA, and references from the human service activity. Point values also are awarded to the essay and self-assessment forms to rate the level of student writing skills, motivation for a career in social work, appropriateness of career goals, and self-awareness. Admission decisions include acceptance, accept as low priority, reject, or conduct an interview before rendering a decision. Interviews with students are used to clarify information in the application or to discuss issues that are raised by review of the application or by faculty who have had experience with the student. Serious questions about student suitability for entry into the social work profession would likely trigger an Academic Performance Review to enable the faculty to meet with the student and explore suitability issues further.