There are plenty of ways for students to decide what the best online schools for master’s in social work might be for them. Some of these reasons include:
Most students want to choose a school with the lowest tuition. But don’t forget to look at other expenses, such as books, travel and fees when deciding how affordable a program really is.
We have created a list of schools that offer affordable online MSW programs here
Financial aid options.
The availability of financial aid can make a very big difference in cost of attendance. While many scholarships allow recipients to attend any eligible school they choose, some scholarships are only available to admitted students.
Find out more about Financial aid for online master’s programs here
A good graduation rate.
The higher the graduation rate, the better the program is, right? Well, maybe. A 100 percent graduation rate could mean the school isn’t challenging enough. But a dismal graduation rate could be the fault of an overeager admissions office. Weigh this one carefully with other factors.
Job placement and career services.
Though finding post-graduate employment is largely based on student effort, the process can be made much easier when a school has an involved career services office. Look for a school with a strong alumni association, robust career services and networking opportunities.
Strong faculty and staff.
Signs of great faculty include those that have attained the highest level of education in their field, performed a great amount of research and have years of experience working in the social work field. A low student-to-faculty ratio helps, too – students get more individual attention that way.
Accreditation results when an independent body reviews a school or program and finds it provides a solid level of training and instruction. The lack of accreditation should be a non-starter for any prospective social work master’s student. Students should only look for programs that have been accredited by the CSWE or Council on Social Work Education.
We have created a list of schools that offer Accredited Online MSW Program here.
Read more about general Accreditation here.
Flexible online options.
Schools can offer distance learning in many ways. The best for those with very busy schedules will be asynchronous learning, where a student can log on at any time and complete requirements by a certain due date. Students can also look for accelerated courses to help ease their scheduling difficulties.
Ease of completing fieldwork.
Any accredited MSW program will have in-person fieldwork requirements. Prospective students need to ensure they will have access to fieldwork sites close to work or home that have been or can be approved by the online MSW program administration.
A reasonable admissions rate.
There’s no point in applying to a school if it’s impossible to get into, so it’s nice when a program has a good admissions rate. But beware of programs that have low admissions standards. This may be a sign that the program isn’t as high-quality as it should be or that its accreditation is in jeopardy.
Master’s students attend school to learn, so an important consideration is the quality of the teaching. Good signs of a challenging program include number and types of specializations available, opportunities for self-pacing and additional curriculum requirements such as projects, internships or on-campus residencies.