In this qualitative study, newly enrolled students at three universities in the United States were interviewed to determine their rationale for choosing social work as a profession. The students' responses focused on what they expected to get from the profession rather than what they hoped to do to improve the lives of others. Their answers call into question the goodness of fit between the expectations of entering students and the historic purpose of social work education in the United States. This article defines social work values and examines research indicating that educational processes do not change basic values. It concludes that the profession must either alter admissions standards, find a way to enable students to achieve their goals within the public sector, or accept the consequences of disparate goals—an action that is likely to result in the development of a new profession with a different focus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Social Work
- Social Work Education
- Social Work Students
- Social Work Values