Social work education is nationally currently a very popular choice and at Middlesex University we have attracted more than 1700 applicants in recent years. Our process aims to select those who are most likely to become confident, effective and safe practitioners, eligible to apply for registration with HCPC as a social worker and who are able to uphold a positive image of the social work profession. This includes recognising the importance of building a diverse group of professionals who are reflective of the communities and localities they will be serving.
The process takes a holistic approach in which we examine your intellectual capability and readiness for studying an academic and professional qualification and your personal attributes, attitudes, values and abilities needed to demonstrate readiness to enter qualifying social work courses.
Our criteria for selection is assessed against agreed national criteria, based on the first level of BASW's Professional Capabilities' Framework and is designed to also meet the HCPC Standards of Education and Training. We use a range of methods to enable candidates to demonstrate their capability in different contexts and to provide the University and the applicant with as much information as is needed for informed decisions to be made.
Selection methods usually include the following:
- An initial screening of your UCAS application against the academic entry requirements. Your personal statement and first reference also provide important indicators of your potential and your motivation and commitment to enter professional training (in line with PCF expectations)
- For short-listed candidates, a written test to evidence an acceptable level of literacy and an ability to express appropriate attitudes and values for social work. This will test will include writing an essay in relation to a social problem or issue in society
- An individual interview to assess your motivation, strengths, areas for further development, relevant experience and background, aptitude for study and practice at this level
- Participation in a group exercise designed to assess your collaborative working skills and verbal communication, as well as your intellectual curiosity
- Scrutiny of any 'suitability' or 'fitness to practise' issues and gathering of any further information required
- A further practice reference (and academic reference if the reference supplied with UCAS form was an employment reference)
We recognise that our selection process involves multiple stages and assessment activities. This allows us to consider evidence from a range of sources and to make clear and confident decisions. This is especially important given the professional nature of this course. All offers are conditional upon a satisfactory enhanced DBS check no matter how well you have done during the process. The team involved in recruitment and selection also includes service users, carers and social work practitioners. Offers may also be conditional upon the completion of certain qualifications in order to meet the entry requirements. Any such conditions must be met within the same application cycle.
All applicants must perform well in an individual interview (and a group exercise) to test their communication skills, motivation and commitment, understanding of social work and evaluation of their life and work experience. In exceptional circumstances were able to offer interviews of international applicants using equivalent interviewing methods, such as web cams or other video link facilities. The interview takes approximately 30 minutes. The group exercise takes approximately 40 minutes in total and there are opportunities on interview days to look around the campus and usually to meet a current social work student.
If you are successful at interview, the final stage involves obtaining from you:
- Any further information in relation to your suitability (health checks, DBS, employer checks)
- Provision of your original educational qualification certificates
- Proof of identity (birth certificate, passport)
- A satisfactory enhanced DBS consistent with the information provided on your suitability form.
Please note that we do not normally accommodate transfers from another social work programme, nor can we usually transfer credit from other studies into this programme, as completion of all modules on our degree is progression requirement.
Preparing for the interview
You can do some research on the roles of social work and some background reading about current issues faced by the social work and the social care workforce. You will be asked to reflect on the relevance of your own professional or personal experiences and their relevance to becoming a social work professional. You can find out more about social work and social care issues from the websites of the British Association of Social Workers, the College of Social Work and Social Care Institute for Excellence.
We strongly advise applicants to be familiar with the different contexts in which social work can occur as it is a very versatile and fluid profession responding to changing needs and priorities. You can also reflect upon any relevant work, educational or personal experiences and your learning from these.