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Social Work


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What to Expect

Social work students prepare for a career helping others. They may specialize in an area such as child protection or working with the mentally handicapped. You'll need empathy and a good work ethic to excel in this field.

Jenny Riggenbach studied social work at the University of Kentucky. She says she was influenced to go into the field by her mother. "My mom's a social worker, so I've been kind of exposed to it my whole life," Riggenbach says. "It was a natural progression."

Riggenbach says keeping an eye on finances is important for students. She advises students to be proactive by doing things like checking out the book swaps.

She also emphasizes that being computer savvy will pay off.

"A lot of social work is documenting," she says, which means using computers. "Oh yeah, you're going to have to be computer-literate."

But what it all comes down to for students interested in social work is having the confidence to handle a variety of complex and challenging situations.

"I think one of the most important parts of being a social worker is knowing yourself," Riggenbach says. "Take an inventory. It's not going to work out if you're wishy-washy."


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