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132 enter MSW program this year, bring wide spectrum of experiences

By Sharon Thomas, Assistant Dean of Recruitment, Admissions and Financial Aid

The UNC School of Social Work welcomed 132 newly-admitted MSW students to the program this year. On May, 24 Advanced Standing students began our program; and in August, we welcomed 71 full-time students, 22 Triangle Distance Education students, and 15 Winston-Salem Distance Education students.

Every year the number of outstanding and competitive candidates increases to the UNC School of Social Work and this year was no exception. Out of 538 applicants to our program this year (a 14% increase from 2013), less than one-third of the potential candidates were admitted and enrolled.

We have an incredibly talented and diverse group of new students this year. Here are a few stats about the new class:

  • 14% are men
  • The average age of our students is 28
  • 22% are self-identified as students of color
  • 25% are out-of-state students
  • Seven students are enrolled in dual degree programs
  • One is a former Peace Corp volunteer (El Salvador)
  • 10 are former AmeriCorps and Teach For America volunteers
  • A number of students are bilingual. They bring amazing educational and international experience from work, volunteer and research experience on five continents, representing over 30 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Czech Republic, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Scotland, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Our students possess a passion for social work practice, bring a wide spectrum of areas and populations of interest such as social work services for ethnically diverse populations, people with developmental disabilities, child welfare, domestic violence and sexual assault, health care for women and children, mental health, health disparities, military families, poverty, older adults, school social work, social and economic justice, homelessness, services and advocacy for LGBTQI populations, non-profits organizations, community organizing, international development and immigration.

These new School of Social Work community members also bring unique perspective and experiences to our program. Some have served as foster parents and others have direct experience as children in the foster care system. We have a student that co-founded a non-profit in Ghana and another that co-founded LOAF – Lesbians Over the Age of Fifty. Some are first-generation college students and caregivers to family members and loved ones; some are active in the arts as dancers, musicians and photographers. Nineteen will even become “Double Heels” after completing both their undergraduate and graduate degrees at Carolina.

We look forward to continuing to engage with our students and recruit another great class for 2015!

See our photo gallery from orientation