As part of this year’s New Student Orientation we took some time to ask incoming students what factors ultimately led them to choose UNE’s MSW Program over others. Here’s what they had to say:
Why UNE? “One of my co-workers went to UNE for her MSW and highly recommended the program. She told me about the classes, the different professors, and how the coursework helped lead her to where she wants to be. She told me about her field placement and how this really helped guide her. She said the program was very interpersonal and that you get to know professors on a one-on-one basis. That’s a lot more welcoming to me then a huge lecture hall.
I also came to the open house about the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate, which got me even more interested because it gave me a real idea of what kind of classes and opportunities are available here. It’s definitely different from what I would have thought of as a standard or traditional social work program. It’s much more community based rather than solely student/professor.”
What’s next? “I’m interested in the Applied Arts and Social Justice certificate but I think I’m even more interested in the Trauma and TRIAD. I want to go into adoption after I graduate, so trauma is very fitting. I’d definitely like to try to sprinkle some of the arts and social justice into my learning as well, just to have that extra round table knowledge, especially if there’s an opportunity to apply all three. Even if I can’t get all three certificates, it doesn’t close the opportunity, I can at least take a class here or there!
Why UNE? “I graduated with a BSW and am coming in as an advanced standing student, which means I can get my MSW in just one year.
Learn more about our 4+1 Advanced Standing track HERE
One of my friends is getting her MSW at UNE and had great things to say about the program. I was researching programs on my own too, and UNE was in my top two. I made my final decision after I visited the campus last May. I met with members of the Social Work department and really liked how hands-on they were. They were so caring and really wanted to know who I was and why I wanted to be a social worker. The campus is amazing too. It’s small, but also there’s so much going on, so I know I’ll never be bored. My overall decision ultimately came down to what the program had to offer and which one I felt really aligned with my thinking (See Mission, Vision Values of UNE’s program HERE).
What’s next? I’m enrolled in the TRIAD program already, so I will be doing my internship at Nasson Healthcare and am really excited about that. I’m also thinking about the Trauma Certificate, but I haven’t figured that out quite yet. My original plan was to return to Vermont after school, but that all depends on how this year goes! If I really like Maine, I may decide to stay and find a job in the field here. I’m leaning toward working with children and families when I graduate.
Christine Quong and Carley McEnery
Christine Quong (left):
Why UNE? In searching various programs, I felt UNE had the most robust program with all it has to offer (check out UNE MSW curriculum HERE). I really like the integrative approach as well, especially as I’m still figuring out exactly which direction to go with social work. I saw UNE’s program and thought, this sounds like just what I need to help me figure out where I want to go with social work. I came from finance, a very different field, and therefore don’t have that social work foundation knowledge base, so I’m here and excited to learn about all you can do with social work!
What’s next? One of the programs/certificates I’m really interested in is the TRIAD (Training in Aging and Diversity), working with aging populations.
Carley McEvery (right) : Why UNE? My mom actually came through UNE’s MSW program years before, so I saw her experience first hand. I also wanted to move back to Maine, and I found that UNE had the most opportunity for what I’m interested in, particularly with the trauma certificate and all the other options within the program.
What’s next? I want to work in the criminal justice system with the police department or in emergency rooms- working with doctors and the police around what they see day-to-day, and with the patients as well. I think it would be really interesting to work with the people who try to solve the problems as well as the people who experience them. Second hand trauma is something we’re learning more and more about and though we do a lot of work with say, people with PTSD like veterans, etc., we don’t really deal with trauma within our own states, so this is something I want to do.
Why UNE? I think what really solidified my decision to go to UNE was the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate. As an undergrad, I was a theater major and wasn’t even sure if the social work route would be a possibility for me. I remember calling UNE and asking someone something along the lines of “if I send my application as an undergrad theater major, will you even consider it?” I was reassured that yes, they would! With the Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate, I can actually apply what I did as an undergrad (theater) with what I want to do as a graduate student and in the field of social work at large. It’s a perfect match!
What’s Next: Sage discusses the possibility of a field placement at Maine Inside Out:
I definitely want to work with kids and use art as a therapeutic tool, working through PTSD or behavioral issues for example. For me as a child, theater was that outlet, that means to overcome quite a bit in my adolescence. Having that outlet, and having a support system with children and also other family members, parents of other children, really helped to sort of guide me through adolescence. If I could offer any of that through a social work lens to other children, I think that would be great!
Check out this great post about HOW TO USE ART IN SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Why UNE? I learned about UNE from a representative that came to Plymouth State. They told us all about the program and I was really intrigued by it. it just seemed like a really great place to be, a good atmosphere, and I thought I could learn a lot from the faculty and the staff here. It sounds like there’s such a diverse range of electives you can choose from that cover a variety of interests. I can learn about so many different areas of social work through this program.
What’s Next: I’m still really open to anything as far as specific certificates and other opportunities!
Britney Merrill and Jessica Boulet
Britney Merrill (left): Why UNE? I’m from Maine and have been aware of UNE’s program for years. I’ve heard really great things from supervisors at DHHS as well as from friends who have graduated from the program, and consistently too, for years, I’ve consistently heard great things about what a strong program it is. So yeah, that definitely influenced me a bit. As I mentioned, I also work for DHHS and heard about the 30% tuition reduction partnership they have with UNE’s MSW Program, so that led me to look into UNE more. The others I know who did this have really enjoyed the program.
What’s Next: I want to do the clinical track and am also thinking about the Trauma Certificate, but I’m not completely sure yet.
Jessica Boulet (right): Why UNE? I’ve definitely also heard great things about the Social Work program at UNE. I live in Lewiston, Maine and was looking for an affordable program that I could do while living at home. UNE is close enough for me to drive to while I also get a good education and at a reasonable price. I can also make connections with local social workers as I do internships in the area. I looked at a few different programs but I’m so interested in clinical, and the clinical focus at UNE really drew me in. UNE was really the only one around that seemed to have this strong focus.
What’s Next: I’m definitely interested in the TRIAD certificate and maybe the Trauma one as well. I’m interested in working with the prison population, and there’s definitely a huge aging population in prison, and I think the trauma informed certificate could pair well with that and the TRIAD certificate.
We also collected some responses in writing and list below some of the recurring themes:
- The Mission, Vision, and Values of the program
- Reputation of the program
- Personalized learning opportunities (Field Education in particular)
- Certificate Options
- Strong Clinical focus (See curriculum HERE)
- Interprofessional opportunities and simulation lab
- Hybrid Course Options
- Advanced Standing (BSW 4+1)
- Community outreach and strong integrated approach
- Research opportunities
- Collaborative and welcoming environment
- Passionate Faculty and Staff
- Focus on social justice, diversity, and inclusion
- Professional values
- Portland, ME is a beautiful place to study!
We hope these reflections can help guide you in your own search for an MSW program that will be just the right fit! If you’d like more information about UNE’s program send an email inquiry through our contact page HERE.