what are factors I should consider before making my final decision for graduate schools acceptances for masters in social work? I’ve been accepted into an ivy league, and the pressure surrounding me by family making me feel like I don’t have a choice but to go there because the others aren’t ivy league, but in my opinion, all of them are great schools.

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Choose the school you think is the best at teaching what you want to learn, and that has the most grads come out and get jobs in your profession. While the family pressure may be annoying, Ivy's are prestigous for a reason. I wouldn't rule it out just becaue you're being pressured in that direction. Check out all the schools equally, but I don't see anything wrong with choosing the Ivy if it has better chances of making you successful once you leave.

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thank you for your insight.

At the end of the day, whatever school you choose, you’ll end up with your MSW. I understand you about family pressure and wanting to please them. However, it’s you who will be attending the school. I would look into what field in social work you want to go into since there are many things you can do and see what school has the best program. Just because they are “Ivy League” does not mean they will have the program you would want to go into.

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definitely agree, i did only apply to schools that resonated with what I overall want to do because the application fees was no joke, lol. but thank you!

If you look at the department of labor statistics social workers are in demand and will continue to be in demand. From my perspective as a social worker and a student, it’s not really about where you go to school so much as if they’re accredited, if you will have a good quality of internships, and class to professor size. For instance USC has one of the best social work programs in the country. However, after working with graduates from this program, they could not do basic social work tasks because they had pretty crappy internships where they didn’t get the opportunity to learn about social work practice in real life. Another example is of colleagues paying to go back to school for their social work degree online but these online schools are 1) not accredited and 2) have difficulty with internship placements. I cannot stress enough how important your internship is. If you’re doing a 5th year masters you’ve more than likely already completed one internship. If not, you want to make sure you have a real social work internship even for the first placement. A lot of the students I went to school with had difficulties securing a better internship their second year because their first placement was with organizations that did not have a social worker overseeing their work. Really good internships can help get your foot in the door for a job upon graduating and help you set the framework for a successful career. Before considering an Ivy League school I would ask where the interns are placed. If they come back at you with potential organizations that are community based but without an actual social worker, I’d do a hard pass and find somewhere with quality placements. I went to a state school with my first internship at the county jail and my second internship at the department of veterans affairs. I’ve had no difficulty finding employment. No one cares where I went to school—they care about my ability to practice social work.

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Who is paying for your education? If your family isn't contributing at all financially, then I wouldn't worry too much about their opinions about Ivy vs not.

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I'm going to go slightly against the grain here and advocate for the ivy...only because the prestige does make a difference - it opens doors, you'll still have to do the work, but it makes convos easier. I would think about where alumni end up in your program and what they end up doing to make that decision

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will definitely look into this! I did try adding members on LinkedIn, but haven’t heard back from anyone yet from both perspective choices.

You will have no problem getting a job with an MSW. Think about your future clients - will they care what school you attended? If anything you might be more relatable to them and they may feel more comfortable with you if you went to a “regular” school. Finally, do not go into more debt just to say you went to an ivy school. I went to state schools, am 53 years old, have no debt, and have never had trouble finding great jobs.

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yes, trying to also figure out who will give me the most money. appreciate your opinion and i definitely agree.

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As someone working in the field (MSW/LCSW), where you went to school is really not that important. Ivy League doesn’t matter in social work. There are amazing social workers in the field who went to state schools that prepared them well. The field placements / internships that you do in school are more important, because that is your experience. I would focus on a school that is affordable and has at least one or two defined tracks (such as clinical work, school social work, gerontology, whatever you want to focus on). I also found it helps to have a school with an alumni network in the area you want to live. Learned this the hard way, but it didn’t hurt my career that much. Social workers are always in demand. Just try to graduate with as least debt as you can.

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Thank you for providing all this information, and definitely going to consider all these things as I step into my master program, and internship practice. At my current my job, we have great social workers, so I was considering staying at my job for placement, if possible. Thank you for this!

Are any of them offering any sort of scholarships? I always factor that into the equation. I also look at which has the best program for my specific degree.

I would ask myself if I could pay whatever loans/costs with a social worker’s salary. Having an ivy degree in SW is great but can you live a comfortable lifestyle once you have it.

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