Social Work Student Resources, Scholarships, and Support Services
From a list of scholarships to a collection of valuable academic and career prep resources, see where to get help paying for college and succeeding in your program as a social work student.
Last Updated: 01/11/2021
Graduating with as little debt as possible and feeling confident in your skills and ability to get a rewarding job is every college student’s goal – and it’s no different for social work students. To make this goal a reality, social work students can take advantage of the many scholarships, support services, and resources that have been designed specifically for them. In the following guide, we’ve highlighted the best of these all on one page. From support services and scholarships available directly from your school to a list of private scholarships and helpful online resources, see where to turn for help paying for and succeeding as a social work student.
Campus and Online Support Resources for Social Work Students
Earning a post-secondary degree often pushes students’ mental and financial limits. To reach maximum academic and professional potential, you’ll need some career and educational support. See below for examples of where to find that support.
University Student Support Centers and Services
When students need help, they should first look to their own school or program. Not only will your school have the best understanding of your situation, but it also has a strong interest in seeing you succeed. To give an idea of what to look for, we’ve highlighted two notable schools that do an exceptional job helping their social work students.
Humboldt State University
Articles, Videos, and Podcasts for Social Work Students and Professionals
Agents of Change Social Work Test Prep Run by a licensed clinical social worker, this podcast delivers test prep advice and strategies for the ASWB exam. Podcasts are uploaded roughly once a month.
Master of Social Work at USC Blog This blog is run by the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. The articles posted relate to concerns that social work professionals and students are likely to face.
NASW Social Work Talks Podcast With uploads roughly every month, this podcast introduces listeners to various social work topics such as domestic violence, eating disorders, and racism.
The New Social Worker This online careers magazine offers articles and information about events, jobs, and graduate school for social work.
UB School of Social Work’s YouTube Channel The University of Buffalo School of Social Work has a YouTube channel with dozens of videos dating back 12 years. They continue to upload new content, with videos about social work topics posted every few weeks.
Social Work Professional Associations and Student Organizations
American Board of Clinical Social Work (ABCSW) The ABCSW is the premier organization for establishing professional standards, including the Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work credential.
Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW) This AOSW aims to improve the quality and availability of psychosocial services to individuals suffering from cancer, as well as to their families.
Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) The ASWB handles the regulation of social workers for the United States and Canada. This includes overseeing the maintenance and administration of social work licensing exams.
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) The CWLA is made up of hundreds of agencies that help vulnerable children and their families. It promotes new policies and practices to achieve this mission.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW) As the largest membership organization for social workers, the NASW is well-placed to improve the social worker profession. One way they do this is through the creation and upholding of professional standards.
School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) In the United States, the SSWAA is the only national organization devoted exclusively to promoting the interests of social work in schools. This includes assisting students in reaching academic and emotional growth goals.
Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) By working with organizations around the world, the SSWR assists research efforts by and on behalf of social workers.
Social Work Social Media and Online Communities
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Discussion Forums Well-known for its work in accrediting social work programs, the CSWE also has many resources for professionals and students, including online discussion forums offered in electronic mailing list format.
The Grad Cafe This online community hosts message boards for various professionals, including those in journalism, law, public health, and social work. Individuals can post questions and receive prompt and insightful answers in any number of topics relating to social work.
r/socialwork This subreddit allows Reddit users to share advice and ask questions, whether they’re thinking about a career in social work or have worked in the field for decades.
Support Resources for Students in Online Social Work Programs
Most students now take at least one course through distance learning. To promote online success, a plethora of resources are available to assist students both academically and with career objectives.
10 Netiquette Needs for the Online Classroom Online learning might be the norm, but not everyone is used to it. This resource explains how students can learn as much as possible while being polite and considerate to classmates and professors.
Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) – Education Resources Created through various initiatives operated by the CSWE, these educational resources offer an expansive array of information, including case studies, assessment tools, and videos that review advanced practice skills and behaviors.
Open Educational Resources – Humboldt State University (HSU) HSU offers a comprehensive array of learning materials for social work students and teachers. Resources include textbooks, courses, and videos.
The Online Student’s Guide to Time Management Online learning offers the maximum level of flexibility, but students must take care to not fall behind in schoolwork. This STEPS guide offers an overview for students needing help with time management.
SWHelper Career Center SWHelper is a leading online magazine for the social work community. It offers many resources, including in-depth career assistance.
College-Sponsored Scholarships in Social Work
Paying for college is often the biggest challenge for students. While there are a variety of financial aid options available, they are not all created equal. Scholarships are some of the most sought-after forms of financial help since they do not require students to work for or pay back funds.
Start your scholarship search with your school and social work program since they often have scholarships available only to their students. This makes it easier to apply and earn a scholarship award. To get an idea of the school-sponsored scholarships available, we’ve highlighted two schools with excellent scholarship offerings.
The University of Utah
University of Minnesota Duluth
Private Scholarships in Social Work
Many scholarships come from private organizations, including professional associations, charitable institutions, and corporations. Private scholarships are often competitive because they offer the highest dollar awards. The list of scholarships below will help get you started.
Tips for Winning a Social Work Scholarship
Scholarships in this field are highly competitive, so you need to stand out. By the time you apply for a scholarship, there is little you can do to change things like your GPA, test scores, or prior coursework. So, start now to give yourself the best chance possible to win a scholarship. Here are five tips to get you started.
- Tip #1
Identify what makes you stand out
Even with excellent grades and amazing test scores, applicants still get lost among the many qualified scholarship hopefuls. To catch the eye of a scholarship committee member, emphasize what makes you different from your peers.
- Tip #2
Making connections isn’t just helpful when applying for a job. By attending networking events and meeting people in the social work profession, you might meet someone who plays a part in a scholarship selection process or who could be an influential reference on your scholarship application.
- Tip #3
Ask for recommendations as soon as possible
Not only do writers appreciate as much time as possible to write a solid letter of recommendation, but it also provides them with further evidence of your ability to plan ahead, stay organized, and be aware of other people’s time.
- Tip #4
Some scholarships take a lot of effort and time, especially when an essay is required. The best essays are those with multiple revisions. The earlier your start, the more tweaks you can make, which allows you to submit the best work possible.
- Tip #5
Turn in your application on time
Organization and conscientiousness are critical for social workers. Turning in an application on time or early shows the scholarship committee you have what it takes to keep track of cases and clients and not miss important deadlines.
Other Ways to Get Help Paying for College as a Social Work Student
Social work students have access to several forms of financial aid, including government student loans, work-study, grants, and private loans. However, social work students will often have greater access to certain forms of financial aid than do other students.
For example, many schools offer graduate assistantship positions for social work students. This gives students a stipend or tuition discount in return for their help in any number of areas, such as tutoring, technical support, and research. Fellowships are also very popular for graduate and undergraduate social work students who need financial assistance for a field placement or research project. There’s also eligibility for loan forgiveness. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is for graduates working for non-profit or governmental organizations, which is where many social workers end up after earning their degree.