Five Tips to Successfully Complete an MSW Online Degree Program

How to Succeed at an Online MSW Program

  • Plan Your Practicum Early
  • Review Syllabi on Day One
  • Follow a Schedule
  • Keep Records of Every Citation
  • Master American Psychological Association (APA) Formatting

You can successfully complete a master’s in social work (MSW) online degree program. The fact that you’re looking for tips on how to excel in your studies means you have the necessary drive for getting to the finish line. Here are five simple ways you can make your journey a little easier.

Plan Your Practicum Early

Even online programs require in-person training in the form of a supervised practicum. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all clinical social work degrees require the completion of a practicum. If you’re taking online courses so you can continue working, a practicum can present a challenge. Plan early so you can find the right schedule.

Review Syllabi on Day One

Online MSW programs are challenging. You’ll have an intense schedule of writing and reading. It’s important to understand each class’s requirements from the very beginning, so look at your syllabi right away. The first thing you should do for any class is print a copy of the syllabus and review it. Understand how your grade is determined and which assignments are the most important. Do you have weekly discussion boards or mini-reflection papers to complete? Is your grade based primarily on one or two papers? Once you’ve looked over all of your syllabi for the semester, it’s time for the third tip for successfully finishing your MSW program.

Follow a Schedule

Do you think online classes are easier than traditional courses because you can work on your own schedule? This thought has been the downfall of many online students. Assuming you can put off all of your assignments until the end of the semester is the easiest way to fail your coursework. Some classes have regular, weekly assignments that make up a significant portion of your grade. Other courses have a final paper that can be worth half of your entire grade. That doesn’t mean you should wait until the end of the semester to start working on the paper. Instead, give yourself weekly mini-assignments like finding five sources or writing the introduction. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and ensure you get a great score on the paper.

Keep Records of Every Citation

Whether you’re planning to go on for a doctorate in social work or headed into practice, it’s a good idea to download every paper you reference. You should also keep a list of the formal citation. This saves you time during school, as you can cite the same paper for multiple classes. Of course, you still need to avoid plagiarism, but graduate school is about specialization. Every area of social work research has a handful of experts. You should be referencing these leading researchers repeatedly. Plus, once you’ve left school, you’ll likely lose access to your university’s journal subscriptions. You’ll need to reference the papers you’ve already downloaded because you won’t be able to see them online without paying a fee.

Master American Psychological Association (APA) Formatting

Does the idea of formatting citations send a chill down your spine? Don’t worry. To be successful in your MSW program, you only need to learn one type of citation: APA. You can use online websites to format citations for you, but it’s worth taking the time to learn the formatting on your own. If you follow the fourth tip for finishing your MSW program, you’ll keep a file with every completed citation in it. This means you only have to write the citation once, so make sure you’re writing them correctly.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

You don’t have to be fantastic at school to finish your degree. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can successfully finish your online MSW degree program.