This May the department of Communications & Marketing released the results of the Student Experience Survey conducted this Spring. The survey, which was sent out at random to 5,520 students via email, 1,326 of whom responded, evaluated the Tech experience in terms of importance and performance on a number of subjects.
“This survey is unique,because it is the first time that students were invited to define the factors that drive their experience here” said Kathi Wallace, Direct of Research & Analysis. “We looked at this experience through a student lens. We haven’t really found much similar work out there at our peer institutions.”
“This is fairly new to colleges and students. Its common practice in the business world, but not a lot of people are letting students do evaluations of their experience,” said James Fetig, Director of Communications and marketing.
Students who participated in the survey were asked to rank various aspects of their experience in terms of importance, and were then asked to rank how well Tech was performing in each of the areas previously ranked.
The data released by Communication and marketing focused on four areas; quality of overall experience, friendly & welcoming atmosphere, ease of offering opinion and likely to recommend. The data was then analyzed based on demographics of the respondents, such as the year, major, gender, race or campus involvement level of the student. Financial factors, such as scholarships or grants received, were not considered, although the scores of in-state students were compared to out-of-state students.
“We considered a ranking of 8-10 to be a strong positive ranking on the performance part of the survey,” Wallace said.
The question “would you be likely to recommend Tech to a qualified peer” received 68% 8-10 rankings, with an average ranking of 7.91 53% of students ranked the quality of overall student experience between 8 and 10 with an average score of 7.29. 41% of respondents gave Tech’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere 8-10 while only 26% responded that the ease of offering opinions/feedback deserved 8-10, with an average score of 6.0.
Perception ratings tended to be higher among younger students, females and students who had taken GT1000, while out-of-state students and students who listed no extra-curricular activities had distinctly lower perception ratings.
The scores for ease of offering opinions, for example, fell from 34% 8-10 ratings from first-year respondents to 20% 8-10 ratings from fifth-year respondents
“We ultimately want to see loyalty and perception improving as people spend more time here, but to seems in some cases even when they become more familiar with the institution they still don’t know where to go to seek assistance,” Wallace said.
Scores and importance rankings were also broken down into classifications of importance, which were used to isolate key areas of opportunity in the student experience.
Both the quality of interaction with other students and the social life on campus had low perception ratings on campus, or low rankings on a performance score.
“I found it more enlightening than I expected, I don’t think I could have projected how candid the students would be in terms of their interactions with each other,” Wallace said.
“This all fits in with my platform of building a stronger Tech community, which is why we are sharing all this with SGA this week…. We are focusing on more feedback with things like our new website and on more student interaction,” said Alina Staskevicius, Undergraduate Student Body President.
The survey also focused on communicating with undergraduate students evaluating the ways that students share their opinions about their experience as well as the ways that students receive news and updates.
68% of students claimed to talk with other Tech students frequently about the student experience, while only 11% spoke about it with an administrator and only 7% spoke frequently with and SGA representative.
64% of students expressed a preference for information in the forms of emails from the administration, with Georgia Tech websites as the second most-preferred method with 57%.
MySpace was the least preferred method, with only 1% of students selecting it as one of their 7 preferred options. Facebook was preferred by 47%.
Students were finally classified by advocacy levels, which were divided into four groups. Students were either loyal, favorable, vulnerable of dissatisfied in relationship to their Tech experience. Loyal students gave their Tech experience, the Tech atmosphere and their likelihood to recommend all ratings of 8-10, and comprised 32% of the respondents. Favorable students comprised 55% of the rankings with only 13% of the respondents classified as vulnerable or dissatisfied.
“The thing to remember here is you are not trying to bring the low end to the high end, you are trying to bring the favorable students up with strategic targeted efforts,” Wallace said.
The results of the survey were shared with the associate deans of colleges as well as campus departments, SGA and other student leaders.
“I am excited to see what will happen in the future. It is one thing to get this information, it is another thing to send it out, to act on it and to see it to fruition,” said Brian Tyson, fourth-year w and Freshman Experience Survey committee member.