Are MSW Admissions Models Working? An analysis of MSW Admissions Models as Predictors of Student Success


  • Amy Vliek Western Michigan University
  • Kieran Fogarty Western Michigan University
  • Robert Wertkin Western Michigan University



Admissions criteria, student success, fit to the profession


Admissions models facilitate the selection of MSW candidates who are both academically prepared for graduate study and professionally suited to social work, characteristics often referred to as fit-to-the-profession. This study attempted to identify the relationship between the criteria used in the admissions model of a medium-sized MSW program and student success in the program. Specific criteria and the associated measurement tools within the model were evaluated in relation to student success. The study found that undergraduate grade point average is significantly associated with MSW grade point average while neither academic criteria nor fit to the profession criteria were predictive of graduation. The study also offered new information regarding the admission of students with a criminal history. Students with a criminal history were eight times less likely to graduate than their non-offending peers, even when controlling for age, gender, race, and program type. The study supports the development of new fit-to-the-profession criteria with the possible elimination of the written statement.

Author Biographies

Amy Vliek, Western Michigan University

School of Social Work, Western Michigan University, Director of Admissions and Student Services Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD Program, Western Michigan University, PhDc.

Kieran Fogarty, Western Michigan University

Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD Program, Professor

Robert Wertkin, Western Michigan University

School of Interdisciplinary Health Program, Director and Professor