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7 Things to Consider When Taking an Online BSW Degree

7 Things to Consider When Taking an Online BSW Degree

Becoming a student is a big step and there are plenty of things to consider. A bachelor’s degree in social work is a challenging yet rewarding way to gain knowledge, skills and a qualification that can lead you to further education or a career in the many different fields of social work. You can achieve a BSW degree by studying in person on campus or online. Studying online brings a whole new set of factors to take into consideration, from the location you work in to the pace at which you complete your studies. Here are just a few of the things that you might consider when you start studying online.

Career Outcomes

An online BSW degree allows you to complete a bachelor’s degree that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. This means that you will benefit from a high level of education. Furthermore, you will receive support from a tutor for help in courses and internships and there is plenty of financial support available too. The coursework is completed 100% online and there is also no residency requirement. Studying a BSW degree online is a brilliant way to gain a qualification while having the chance to practice other important life skills, such as time management and self-motivation.

There are a huge number of careers within the field of social work. You could work in schools, hospitals, prisons or nursing homes, among many other institutions or organizations. 

One-to-one social work is known as micro social work and is considered clinical, so a master’s degree in social work is usually required. A BSW degree can help prepare you for this next step in your education. Micro social work involves counselling individuals with social, emotional or health related issues. This can be in many different settings, such as schools, family therapy or as a city social services caseworker.

Mezzo social work consists of working with a small group or organization. You may be acting as a mediator in a work-place conflict resolution setting or in a support group for strangers with a shared experience – such as grief or addiction. At this level, the aim of the social worker is to focus on changing the group as a whole, rather than the individuals within it.

Macro social work is when the social worker works with a community, which could be defined by location, religion or politics, among many other things. They may be working to lobby for social change, creating or shaping social policies, or training others to do so. 

Location

Sometimes, your location may act as a barrier to accessing your dream course. You may be confined to what your local colleges can offer you, and this may not include what you really want to study. There are huge costs involved in studying abroad and this may prevent you from following your dream. However, when you study online, your location becomes less important as you can access your course from your home. 

More specifically in terms of working location, it is important to take into account immediate area in which you will be studying. Working from home can sound great, but in reality, it can be easy to get distracted. It can also be difficult to stay motivated and on schedule without the physical routine of going to a class. However, there are plenty of ways to overcome this and to create a good home working environment. Allocating a space to work in can help you to stay focused when you are studying a BSW degree. It might be tempting to work in bed or from your couch, but it is better to separate the places you work and the places you relax in. Clearing your desk or table will help to reduce distractions and prevent your notes from getting lost. Working by a window can also be a good idea, as it can provide you with fresh air and sunlight.

Further Education

Completing a BSW degree is a great step towards your dream career in social work. There are plenty of jobs that can be gained with this qualification, but many require further education such as master’s degrees. A BSW degree can help prepare you for further education by providing you with valuable skills, knowledge and experience. It will also allow you to discover what kinds of social work you would most like to work in. When you know this, you can create a plan to help achieve it. 

Personality and Characteristics

There are many personality traits that make a great social worker. These can be developed over the course of your BSW degree, allowing you to grow your personal skills as well as knowledge. Organization is important for social work, as you will typically have many cases to work on at once, and each needs to be treated with the same level of care, attention and professionalism. You will develop your organizational skills when studying an online BSW degree, as it is also important to keep organized for your studies. Not only does this help you plan your day, but it also lets you make the most of your education. Simple items such as diaries, to-do lists and calendars can all help keep you on top of your work. Being able to see the amount of work you have can help you to break down tasks and make them more manageable, and there is always something satisfying about crossing a task of a to-do list! It may be tempting to try and just keep everything in your brain, but this can make it easier to forget things or leave you feeling overwhelmed. 

Patience is another valuable characteristic in a social worker, as you may be working with people or organizations that have differing opinions or goals. People may also be unwilling to ask for or receive your help and you need to remain patient in order to properly help them and not become frustrated. You need to always remember that change is not immediate and it can take time to see results in a person or organization. 

Costs

There are many costs associated with becoming a student, whether that is in-person or when studying an online BSW degree. Food, rent, travel and textbooks are just a few of the things you will have to think about accommodating. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce or remove costs if you choose an online BSW and study at home. You should not have to worry about finding accommodation on or near campus by studying at home. Furthermore, there will be less or no need to commute each day, which will save you money on gas and parking, or public transport. As well as saving money, it can also work towards reducing your impact on the environment, as you are taking less journeys.

Textbooks and learning materials can be notoriously expensive, so trying to find second-hand copies is a great idea. Asking previous students if they are selling or loaning their copies is a good place to start, as it will save you money and connect you with people who have done the same course. Your institution may also be signed up with an organization or subscription service that allows you to access content for free as long as you are a student, so it is worth asking about this before you spend money on something you could have used for free! Furthermore, the internet has a wealth of resources that are much more immediate than ordering books online. You do not have to pay for postage, wait for it to be delivered, and you are also reducing your impact on the planet by using less paper.

Pace

Working at your own pace is something that can be overlooked in physical classroom settings. Many people can find this type of learning atmosphere overwhelming or intimidating, making them less likely to contribute and ask questions when they do not understand something. When studying online, there is more room to work at your own pace and take in the information in a way that works best for you.

It can also help to understand what kind of learner you are. When working towards an online BSW degree, implementing learner and studying techniques that support the way your brain takes in information can have a huge impact on your studying experience. There are a lot of different types of learners, and it may take time to discover what works best for you. You could be a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner (among others) and different teaching styles and revision methods can be used to make your studying more effective.

For example, an auditory learner takes information in best when it is spoken, so listening to lectures or podcasts can be very useful. They may also take in new information better when saying it out loud or explaining it to other people. Visual learners like to use images and diagrams in their learning, and so may benefit from using videos, colors and pictures in their learning and revising. If you are a kinesthetic learner, you learn best by being physical. Practical demonstrations and acting things out can help your brain to retain information most efficiently.

Skills

When studying an online BSW degree, you will of course gain valuable knowledge and skills related to that area of study. However, the benefits of an online degree do not end there. You can also develop your soft skills. These are non-technical skills that help you to perform well in the workplace. Soft skills include time management, motivation, conflict resolution and problem solving. Many of these are developed over time and with experience; by studying an online course, you can provide interviewers with real-life examples.

Motivation and the ability to self-motivate are very valuable skills that will come into play a lot when studying online. In a physical, classroom setting, there would be a tutor there to make sure you are completing your work. Studying online means you have to be more independent and disciplined when it comes to completing your work. It can be very easy to get distracted when working at home and so it is essential that you motivate yourself and focus, to ensure that you are making the most of your course and achieving the highest results you can. Whilst working on the internet, there are so many ways you can become distracted. Blocking those tempting websites, like your social media accounts, can help you to focus solely on your work and study. Hunger and dehydration can also cause you to lose focus, so planning your day to include breaks, good meals and regularly drinking water will help give you structure and keep your body fueled properly.

Time management is another soft skill that you will develop when studying online for a BSW degree. You must be organized and prepared in order to complete your work and get the results you want. There are many ways to manage your time and it may take time to work out what is best for you. Keeping notes, making a schedule and getting into a routine can all help make your studying more efficient and productive. You may also be studying alongside other commitments such as work or family and will need to practice juggling multiple commitments at once. When you have gotten into the flow of this, you will be able to really develop this skill and provide examples on your resume and in interviews, to really impress your employers.

These are just a few of the things to consider when you decide to study a BSW degree online. Working and studying online introduce a whole new set of challenges, but you can overcome them by asking for help and practicing your skills. It can be very rewarding to complete an online course, especially if it is in an area you are passionate about and have always wanted to study. There are many options available to you and you will be able to find your perfect online course with research and consideration.

Lisa Bianconi

Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com

Lisa Bianconi
Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com