Students’ motives and preparedness for university: A first year social science student perspective

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Ryan, Marie
O'Sullivan, Kathleen
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International Journal of Education & Social Sciences (IJESS)
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This study investigates students’ motives and preparedness for their program of study in a university. The purpose of this study is to establish what motivates students to pursue higher education, their preparedness for higher education as well as what motivates them to study social science. Understanding why students choose to study social science is important not only for enhancing social science education but also for educators to become more knowledgeable about students' motivations for their program. Analyzing a sample of first year students offers novel insights and a current understanding of these students’ experiences, as well as the challenges they bring to their studies. The data was collected using an online survey based on the MEPU questionnaire, developed by [1] and [2]. Analysis of the data revealed social science students are intrinsically motivated regarding life aspirations. However, contrary to previous research, the students here are extrinsically motivated regarding work and career. They are prepared for higher education, to work independently and cope with deadlines however, they underestimate the volume of work required by the program, some lack confidence to deliver presentations or plan their studies in a time efficient manner. Implications from the survey allow for better informed social science education and teaching to assist students in their transition to higher education resulting in higher-quality learning. There are also implications for educators in terms of marrying students’ motives with their learning goal orientation. Recommendations include the application of universal design for learning to fulfil a wholly inclusive teaching approach. Further research should examine the ways in which students draw on their prior-learning experience as well as their socio-economic background to make sense of their learning process.
Higher education , Social science , Motives , Preparedness
Ryan, M. and O'Sullivan, K. (2022) 'Students’ motives and preparedness for university: A first year social science student perspective', International Journal of Education & Social Sciences (IJESS), 3(7), pp. 459-468.
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