Logan Bjerkos, a senior social work major at Viterbo University, admits she was worried about the cost of attending college when she was considering where to study.
“I was terrified going into college, thinking about how I was going to afford this,” she said. “But Viterbo worked really well with all of the financial aid, the grants and scholarships.”
In the end, Bjerkos said a friend who goes to a public college pays more than she does at Viterbo, which is a private university.
“That’s one thing that always surprises people, that I pay less,” said Bjerkos. “There are so many scholarships available at Viterbo that make a difference and they’re willing to help you, because they really want you here.”
Bjerkos, who’s from Westby, said Viterbo’s financial aid office does a great job of working with students to help meet their needs as much as possible.
She was attracted by Viterbo’s social work major because its nationally accredited, which means she’ll have advanced standing when applying for master’s programs in social work at many universities. The advanced standing means Bjerkos will be able to complete her master’s in one year instead of the usual two years.
“The social work major at Viterbo is so well-known and the chance to get into the right master’s program and finish in one year was a really big thing for me,” she said.
Bjerkos would like to work in family and children’s services and as part of her senior year will start a placement at the La Crosse County Human Services Department in January. All students must complete a placement at an agency, and the social work department at Viterbo has connections with over 40 certified agencies for field placements.
Bjerkos, who has a minor in family studies, said her class “speed dated” with about 25 agencies, and then each student picked their top three agencies in terms of where they’d like to be placed. After that, social work faculty and advisors discuss which placement would be the best fit for individual students and set up interviews for them.
Bjerkos’ top choice was the position at La Crosse County, where she’ll job-shadow a child protective service social worker initially, and then hopefully start taking on her own cases.
“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Viterbo’s social work faculty have so many connections outside the university, Bjerkos said, and use that knowledge to help students work on their career and post-graduate education plans.
She encouraged more students to consider studying social work, which she said was both an incredibly rewarding field and one where people can make a real difference.
“Viterbo is really community-based and you’re supported throughout your time here,” Bjerkos added. “There hasn’t been one time I ever felt like I don’t have any support. The professors are so excited for you, they love to see you succeed and they’re always there to help you.”