Administrators and national researchers hope to gain insights into undergraduate life through a new college-wide online survey.
The Enrolled Student Survey Form, which students received Tuesday via individualized e-mail links, is being conducted by the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, or COFHE. The Consortium represents 31 private educational institutions and is conducting student surveys at 28 of them in order to help policymakers and administrators understand undergraduate life.
“The main goal of the survey is to find out how undergraduates are spending their time,” said Anthony Broh, director of research at COFHE. “The survey is important not only for Yale, but for national policy as well. We want to find out whether or not a liberal arts residential college system is beneficial to students.”
At Yale, researchers will present survey results to deans and administrators to serve as a “reality check” and starting point for campus discussion, said senior researcher Heather Kim, who is coordinating the survey on campus.
Kim said about 25 percent of Yale students have already taken the survey, which consists of five sections common to all participating institutions, as well a supplementary section containing questions unique to each individual school.
Questions on the survey cover topics ranging from academics and personal life to campus life and demographics. Though not the first research of its type ever to be conducted among undergraduates at Yale, it is the inaugural year for this particular survey.
The survey will be available online through March 25. After that, Yale’s Office of Institutional Research, working closely with COFHE, will begin analyzing the results. Kim, the coordinator of the survey, emphasized the value of each individual response.
“I highly encourage student participation,” said Kim. “Each student’s opinion is very important to us.”
Kim said the individual survey results will be kept confidential.
Some students said the survey provided a good opportunity to think about their undergraduate careers.
“The survey makes people reflect on their priorities and what they’ve accomplished over the years,” Molly Lubin ’06 said.
Van Nguyen ’03 said the survey addressed many aspects of student life.
“The survey covered a wide range of issues and seemed to hit everything,” Nguyen said. “I’ll be interested in seeing how the frosh change their answers over the next few years.”
Broh said he was particularly pleased with the number of respondents so far at Yale.
“Yale got off to a terrific start,” Broh said. “Almost 25 percent of students filled out the survey in the first three days.”