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Program Admission

Academics / Departments & Programs / Social Work / Academics / Program Admission

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Social Work degree (BSW) are required to apply to the program by April 1st of their sophomore year. There is no limit on the number of students we admit to the program; however, students need to meet the admission criteria described below.

Admission Criteria

  1. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 35 semester hours of credit, and have either completed or be currently enrolled in PSYC-151, SOC-151, and SOWK-240. Please note that BIOL 115/123 and SOWK 250 should also be prioritized, as they are pre-requisites for upper-level social work courses; however, they are no longer a pre-requisite for program admission.
  2. Applicants must have an overall GPA of at least 2.5 and a minimum grade of C- in each of the courses specified in item #1 above as well as other 200-level social work courses and a minimum grade of C in all 300-level social work courses. It should be noted that these are retention standards for the program, as well.
  3. Applicants must have completed at least 30 hours of social work-related volunteer service or paid employment, verified through 1) the Service-Learning Center Social Work Hours form and 2) one reference.
    • No more than two different volunteer service or paid employment experiences may be combined to satisfy the 30 required hours.
    • Identify a person who supervised you in these hours (choose one site if you have more than one) and request that they complete a reference for you by the deadline. It is your responsibility to send the supervisor a link to complete the reference form. This form is sent directly to the social work program director.
    • If you have not completed the 30 hours of service by the program application deadline, you should still apply to the Program. You will be asked to submit a plan for completion of your hours and you may be conditionally admitted to the program. It then becomes your responsibility to complete such service as well as have an appropriate supervisor submit a Letter of Reference Form to the Program Director by September 1st. 
    • Examples of agencies or organizations that are pre-approved may be found here. Service opportunities can also be found through Calvin's Service-Learning Center and opportunities are regularly shared on the department Instagram page, Yammer page, and via email.
    • If you have questions about what type of employment or volunteer service would fulfill this requirement, please reach out to the Program Director. If you choose something that is not on the pre-approved list, it is a good idea to seek prior approval before completing your hours.
  4. As part of the application form, students must submit a written Personal Statement which includes information about your commitment to social work as a vocation, along with your strengths and areas for development as a potential professional social worker.

Application Process

Applications to our BSW program are due on April 1 of your sophomore year. The application should include the 1) application that you as a student submit, and 2) the Service-Learning Center Social Work Hours form, and 3) one reference from someone who supervised your service hours.

Prior to beginning the online Program Application, submit your service hours via the the Service-Learning Center Social Work Hours form, and compose your personal statement so that you are able to cut & paste it into the online form.

Your personal statement

The statement should range from 720–1250 words, being sure to answer the following questions:

  1. How did you become interested in social work? This may include a description of important personal experiences such as volunteer work, work experience, community involvement, etc.
  2. What social justice issues are of particular concern to you? Why?
  3. At this point in your preparation as a professional social worker, describe the type of social work you imagine practicing.
  4. What are your personal strengths and limitations in relationship to your development as a social worker?

Application for Admission

Letter(s) of Reference
The letter of reference form is to be filled out by the supervisor(s) who are providing the reference.

Admissions decisions

Decisions about admission to the program are made by the Social Work Program Committee (SWPC) comprised of social work faculty and two BSW student representatives who serve on the SWPC. These decisions will be communicated to students no later than the first week of May.

In some cases, a student will be admitted conditionally, given that they meet all admission criteria by the start of their junior year.

For more information about the BSW program at Calvin, download and view the 2022-2023 handbook.

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