BSW Application

Admissions Deadlines

Application Process Opens:
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Deadline for All Applicants:
Thursday, February 1, 2018


Items listed in the Application Checklist below must be submitted by 11:59pm (CST) of the deadline date. We highly recommend you submit your application early so that any issues can be identified and addressed prior to the deadline. After the deadline has passed, applications with identified issues will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed.


All applicants will begin classes in the fall 2018 term.



Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply:

  1. UW-Madison undergraduate student.
  2. Completion of Social Work 205, Social Work 206, and completion or enrollment in an approved statistics course.
  3. Second-semester Junior Standing (71 credits completed). You must obtain permission to apply with fewer than 71 credits (see advisor).
  4. A minimum of 2.5 overall GPA from all colleges attended.


Application Instructions

Carefully read through the following instructions before completing the online application. The link to the application is at the bottom of this page.


Click on the application sections below to expand the section and review the details.


+ General Information

In the General Information Section of the application, you will be asked to provide:

  1. Basic contact information.
  2. Completion of Social Work 205 and Social Work 206
  3. Completion of or enrollment in an approved statistics course.
  4. Information on whether you have completed 71 credits (Junior standing).
  5. Details on any special circumstances that might have affected your GPA (e.g. major illness or family crisis). [optional]


+ Letter of Recommendation

One letter of recommendation is required.


  • The letter of recommendation should be from someone who can assess your academic ability and your potential for professional social work practice.
  • Keep in mind that someone writing a letter of recommendation needs adequate time to write the letter and submit it electronically.
  • As soon as possible, ask your recommender if they will serve as a reference. Explain that the letter should be one full page in length and should explicitly discuss the qualities that make you a strong candidate for a bachelor's program in social work.

Note: If the letter of recommendation arrives after the application deadline, your application will be marked as incomplete and will not be reviewed.



In the Recommendation section of the application, you will:

  1. Input your and your recommender's information.
  2. Decide if you want to waive your right to read the letter submitted by your recommender. If you do not waive your right, then you will be able to view the letter via the BSW Application Instructions and Application Status Page. When your recommender receives the request to write a letter, they will also be notified that you have not waived your right and so will be able to read the letter.
  3. Click on the Send button when you have fully completed this section. Your information will be saved and an email sent to the recommender with a request to submit a recommendation. The request will include a link to an online form for the recommender to fill out.
  4. Note: You do not need to wait for the letter of recommendation to be received by the School of Social Work in order to submit your application. When all your sections are complete, except for the receipt of the letter, you should go ahead and submit your application.


    Recommendation Letter Do's and Dont's

    A letter should be:

    • From an academic instructor. An academic letter of recommendation should come from an instructor who has graded your academic work and/or who can assess your potential for success in the professional program. We strongly recommend letters from a teaching assistant (TA) are co-written and co-signed by the instructor of record for the course; or,
    • From a work/volunteer supervisor; or,
    • From a professional who has contributed to your leadership development and/or provided academic coaching to support you as a scholar.

    The person writing your recommendation should know you well enough to write a letter that will serve to strengthen your application to the BSW program.


    A letter should not be:

    • From friends;
    • From family members;
    • From neighbors;
    • From co-workers/colleagues;
    • From personal counselors/therapists;
    • From clergy;
    • From individuals similar to those listed above; or,
    • A generic reference letter from university/college placement office.
    Note: If such a letter is submitted, it will lessen the strength of your application.


+ Transcript(s)

In the Transcripts section of the application, you will be asked about all post-secondary institutions you have attended. For each, you need to provide the name of the institution and your overall GPA. You will also be required to upload a PDF copy of each official transcript. All PDF copies of official transcripts need to include the front and back of each page.


FOR YOUR UW-MADISON TRANSCRIPT: Please upload a PDF copy of your unofficial transcript (UW-Madison Student Record). You do not need to order and upload a PDF copy of your official transcript for UW-Madison. Please note that the BSW Admissions Committee considers your overall GPA through the fall semester; therefore, you must upload your UW-Madison unofficial transcript or grade report after your grades have been posted for fall 2017.


+ Statement

Your statement is very important. The content and writing quality allows reviewers to:

  • Gain a sense of who you are as an individual, as well as what led you to choose a career in social work;
  • Determine the extent to which you are prepared and motivated for undergraduate education in social work;
  • Assess how your experiences, social work and non-social work related, have prepared you for studies in social work.


In the Statement section of your application, please upload a PDF of your statement that discusses the following three questions:

  • Why do you want to pursue a professional degree in Social Work?
  • Social workers understand how diversity and difference characterize and shape the human experience. How does your experience with and/or knowledge of diversity issues inform your desire to obtain a BSW degree (e.g., from a study abroad, your course work, life and/or volunteer experience, etc.)?
  • How have your past and current coursework, life experiences, volunteer work, and/or employment prepared you for professional degree studies in social work? Indicate how these experiences have provided you with skills and an understanding of qualities such as responsibility, compassion, judgement, determination, flexibility, ethics, and professionalism.


Required formatting instructions for your statement:

  • 12pt Times New Roman
  • Double-spaced
  • One inch margins
  • Approximately 3 pages (please number each page)
  • Use standard essay format
  • Write one statement that addresses all three questions. Do not write three different statements addressing each question separately.
  • Submit in PDF format


Writing tips:

  • Write a draft of your statement, take a break, and come back to it later to work on editing and clarifying.
  • If possible, utilize the writing lab to obtain feedback on your statement.
  • Do not rely solely on spelling and grammar checks.
  • Read your statement aloud for flow and accuracy.
  • Be sure that your statement expands beyond your desire to help people and beyond your personal background.



Application Checklist

A complete application to the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Program includes:

  • General Information
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Transcript(s)
  • Statement



Application decision notification will occur prior to spring enrollment period. Students will receive information on fall enrollment.


If you have questions, email


The Application for the Bachelor of Social Work Program


Last edited by portier on Wednesday, November 01, 2017 | Printer Friendly Version