Harding University

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Studying Social Work at Harding

Harding University appears in our ranking of the 35 Best Value Christian Colleges with CSWE-accredited Programs.

Since 1978, the College of Sciences has granted the Bachelor of Social Work for Harding University undergrads to exhibit Christian ideals through altruistic, strengths-based service with marginalized populations. Chaired by Dr. Terry Smith, LCSW, the 128-credit program builds on the Bible core to prepare licensed generalist practitioners who contribute to community growth. Sophomores formally declare the BSW major to begin Searcy courses like Human Diversity, General Sociology, Gerontology, and Behavioral Science with a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. Minors are available in Health Missions, Public Administration, International Studies, and more. Undergrads with a minimum 3.25 GPA or 1280 SAT score can add Honors courses in the Sears House. Academics might also continue with Harding’s M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy or M.S. in Professional Counseling.

Finishing the Harding University BSW requires completing a 40-hour volunteer project and 420-hour senior field practicum in central Arkansas. Potential placements include Jacob’s Place, Margie’s Haven House, Cleburne County Cares, White County Hospital, Wilbur D. Mills Center, Riverside Health, Southridge Valley, Sidney Deener Elementary, and Veterans Outreach Ministries Center. The Child Welfare Traineeship Program offers $4,000 stipends for students interning at the Arkansas DCFS. Majors get involved in Love Thy Neighbor, the North American Christians in Social Work, and Alpha Delta Mu Chapter. Nearly half of HU undergrads study abroad on missions from Zambia to Argentina. Other opportunities include attending the Bible Lectureship, researching in the American Studies Institute, and working at Harding Academy.

About Harding University

Harding University was initiated in 1924 when Nashville Bible School founder James A. Harding merged Arkansas Christian College and Harper College 30 minutes from Conway in Morrilton. One decade later, J.N. Armstrong acquired Galloway College and moved the women’s school to Searcy. During alumnus George S. Benson’s 29-year tenure, Harding doubled in size and was first accredited. Now budgeting $120 million yearly, Harding University remains tied to the Churches of Christ for private, residential liberal arts schooling. Its 49-building, Colonial Revival-style campus off Beebe Capps Expressway hosts 5,904 Bison, including Social Work majors, from 54 countries with 336 faculty. Linked to 22,320 LinkedIn alumni, Harding University has graduated activists Ed Madden, Khalil Hahshan, Jerry W. Mitchell, and Mary Elizabeth Bentley.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Harding the 23rd best Southern college, 16th best for vets school, and fourth top value. On Niche, Harding University has America’s 64th best dorms, 312th best campus, and 356th top private education. Money magazine placed HU 501st overall with an average starting salary of $42,600. College Factual chose Harding for the country’s 150th best social work program and 69th most satisfied grads. The Young America’s Foundation featured Harding among the 15 most conservative colleges. The Wall Street Journal included HU in the top 800 universities for student engagement. In Washington Monthly, Harding University has the 14th most community service and 161st highest Peace Corps involvement. The “College of Distinction” lands in the top 33 percent of National Merit Scholar recruiters too.

Harding University Accreditation Details

In July 2015, Harding University submitted to a comprehensive evaluation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) to continue its Level VI accreditation for another 10 years under president Dr. Bruce McLarty. Located over 590 miles north in Chicago, this 19-state regional accrediting body is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to ensure quality for Harding’s 101 baccalaureate, 22 master’s, two specialist, and four doctoral majors from Mountain Home to Rogers. The Christian institution was approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and authorized by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has also accredited the BSW program through February 2025.

Harding University Application Requirements

Getting into Harding University is labeled “moderately difficult” by Peterson’s because 72 percent of the 2,217 applicants in Fall 2016 were accepted. First-year Bison eyeing the Bachelor of Social Work must have passed 15 units of academic subjects during high school. Two years of foreign language is highly suggested. Unconditional admission relies on a 3.0 GPA through grades 9-12, but the average is 3.59. Freshmen must score at least 19 on the ACT and 900 on the SAT to qualify. Early entrance for local high schoolers requires a 1090 SAT or 24 ACT mark though. Declaring the BSW major only officially happens after completing Social Work 275 with a “C” or better. Undergrads transferring 14-60 credits need cumulative GPAs above 2.0 and good institutional standing.

Harding University created an Early Action deadline of November 15th with rolling undergrad admission thereafter. The $140 housing deposit is only refundable until May 1st for Fall or October 1st for Spring starts though, so apply early. Interested BSW students should create a CollegeNET account for the online application. Mailing the downloaded PDF form to Box 12255 at 915 East Market Avenue in Searcy, AR 72149 is also acceptable. Contact (800) 477-4407 or admissions@harding.edu for further instruction. The social work application checklist includes:

  • $50 application fee (or NACAC waiver form)
  • Official school reports from guidance counselor
  • Certified college transcripts if transferring credit
  • One academic and one character reference
  • Entrance exam scores directly from the ACT/SAT

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2017-18, Harding University billed full-time Bachelor of Social Work majors $9,345 per semester or $18,690 annually. Studying part-time incurs $623 per credit taken. Budgets include the $500 technology/enrichment fee, $195 first-year experience fee, and $31 car registration fee. Living at the Searcy campus’ dorms like Pryor Hall adds $2,309 per term. Standard meal plans charge $1,798 each semester. Harding suggests leaving $1,200 for textbooks. Annual BSW attendance equals $29,975 on-site and $23,081 for commuters.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 86 percent of full-time HU Bison earn financial assistance packages that average $9,897 for $37.61 million total annually. University funds include the Women for Harding Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship, Trustee’s Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, President’s Endowed Grant, Stephens Scholarship, and Class of 1972 Legacy Scholarship. The Christian School (K-12) Discount and Minister’s Dependent Discount cut tuition by 25 percent. Filing the FAFSA form with code 001097 by April 15th opens Federal Pell and FSEOG Grants. Log into Harding Pipeline accounts to manage Perkins, Stafford, and Parents Plus loans. Natural State natives can receive the Arkansas Higher Education Opportunities Grant, Academic Challenge Scholarship, or Second Effort Scholarship. Federal Work-Study jobs also schedule 20-hour shifts weekly with 40 hours during breaks.

Learn more about Harding University at the Department of Behavioral Sciences website.

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