Entering Social Work Studies: Who, Why and How
The results of higher education depend on various factors of which one of the most important is students, especially in the field of social work. The process of study entrance is often modeled as a rational choice; however, there are other ways to enter higher education. The action theory developed by Jon Elster is used to conceptualize the possible ways to enter studies: as a result there are at least five possible ways to enter social work. In order to explore the variance of students who represent the different ways, secondary data analysis was used. Qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods were employed. The data analysis results suggest that there are at least four ways to enter social work: rational choice, bounded rationality, weakness of will and single alternative. In spite of popular view that students are guided by rational choice, the results show that rational choice group students compose the smallest part of all. Also, quantitative analysis was conducted in order to find out the variable that best differentiates the student groups. It was found that the variety of activities in social work as a factor to enter social work studies was the best variable to differentiate students by the way they enter social work studies. The more it is important for those who enter social work studies that there is plenty of action in social work, the more rational, autonomous, and informed they are; and vice versa.
Keywords: higher education, rational choice, bounded rationality, weakness of will, single alternative, social work