5 Reasons You Should Choose St. Louis and the Brown School | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
Jill Conway
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5 Reasons You Should Choose St. Louis and the Brown School

​So it’s that time of year when acceptance letters are beginning to arrive in the mail and you’re left with that one, big, inevitable question – which graduate school will I pick? There are so many factors that play a role in picking the perfect fit for you, but here are some reasons why I think you should pick the (best) school:

1. You can focus your curriculum based on what you want

There are eight different established concentrations to choose from at the Brown School: American Indian and Alaska Native; Children, Youth, and Families; Health; Mental Health; Older Adults and Aging Societies; Domestic Social and Economic Development; International Social and Economic Development; and Violence and Injury Prevention. Or, if you’re interested in dabbling in a bit of everything or focusing on a couple different aspects, you can pursue an Individualized concentration. Individualizing your curriculum at the Brown School is easy to do! I would know because I’ve done it! I’m focusing on International Gender Development and taking a variety of different concentration level courses to set me up for a career working with women in an international context.

Beyond individualizing your concentration, there are also six different specializations: Management, Policy, Research, Sexual Health and Education, Social Entrepreneurship, and Systems Dynamics.  I’m specializing in Sexual Health and Education, which ties well to my concentration choice, too.

2. Housing is affordable

With rental rates skyrocketing across the country, it is relatively cheap to live in St. Louis. You can find a one-bedroom or studio apartment in a nice location for $500-$700. And if you want to split costs with some roommates it can be even cheaper. I share a house with two other Brown School students and I pay less than $400 a month for my rent and utilities combined. You can even find roommates at Admitted Students Weekend (which I’ll be working at, so you should totally come) or on the Brown School Admitted Students Facebook group.

3. There are plenty of opportunities for socialization

 The Brown School has many student involvement groups, but there are also opportunities to socialize and network beyond the social work school. There are always professional development events, different community forums, and exhibits at the wide array of (free) museums. Plus, next year Washington University will be holding a presidential debate that students can attend. I literally cannot wait.

In the summer months, St. Louis is full of even more (free) activities like movies on Art Hill (an iconic spot in Forest Park—just a few minutes walk away from campus), yoga in the park, farmers markets, and fun festivals. St. Louis is also  a paradise for foodies! Each neighborhood has its own unique flair and cuisine. You can grab Italian on the hill, ethnic food in Tower Grove, and (you must know) St. Louis is BBQ haven for all those meat lovers out there.

4. Diversity and Social Justice

St. Louis is a diverse community full of different perspectives. The Brown School emphasizes social justice and cultural-competency as a key aspect of our social work practice and social workers in St. Louis can really make a difference with the clients and the communities they serve.

Not only is St. Louis diverse, but the Brown School also has a diverse student body. My MSW cohort has students from 14 different countries and 36 states.  Throughout the Brown School’s programs there is a large international student body, and everyday I learn more about different cultures—which feeds back into the cultural-competency emphasis of the Brown School. It’s so refreshing to work with people of all backgrounds—and to a study at a school that values the contributions of people of all backgrounds.

5. Finding employment after school

Brown School alumni are sought out in the St. Louis community for their transdisciplinary approach, research skills, and the evidence-based foundation they bring to the table. Even if you’re not looking to stay in St. Louis after graduation, the Brown School and Washington University, and their international alumni network, will open a lot of doors for future employment.