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What’s the Price of Graduate School?

It’s always been a dream, to get my Masters in Social Work (or Counseling, or Public Administration…or…whatever felt right that day). Well, I was particularly feeling the dream in the middle of this summer. It was the middle of the summer, so most deadlines had past and most graduate students were relishing summer or work..or whatever it may. I searched a few schools for online M.S.W. programs and found out that there are only a few out there. There’s one in New England and believe it or not, a school I had a quick dream about as a senior in college for Cognitive Neuroscience was debuting a virtual Masters program in a few months.

That second school, USC, is a top ranked school. I mean, so top ranked that I seriously doubted my ability to get in. Sure, my resume is pretty social work-y at this point (aside from those 8 months as a telemarketer…shh no one has to know). But, I did get a few Cs in college and I was not about to chance taking the GRE to increase my chances when the school’s costs amount to what I can only dream of making in one year of working. So, just to see….I spent most of the 4th of July weekend and the weekend after exploring faculty and writing a stellar statement of purpose (or so I thought).

Anyway. After poking and prodding my my former professors and supervisors for recommendations, I got in! So very exciting!

And then it really hit me….what am i doing? I already have some ridiculous amount of debt (it’s above $30k) and here I am thinking of taking on even more. And for what? The 50th percentile of social workers make about $55,000 a year.

Am I being selfish? Just to have some more letters at the end of my name? Am I doing it just because all my other friends are either having babies or getting Masters? I just don’t know.

That all being said, it will take a while for a fin aid package to arrive, but still. I need opinions. Is the MSW worth it? And especially an MSW from USC? It’s a big deal! Ayudame!