Posted by Jessica Stowell on July 18, 2016
The Graduating Senior Survey is administered by all UNC System schools once every three years. The survey canvasses student satisfaction with services such as the library, technology, advising, instruction, career services, along with information about cognitive growth, participation in high-impact educational practices, employment, post-graduation plans, time to graduation and overall educational experience.
All seniors for the 2015-16 graduating classes were invited by to take the survey online during the fall or spring at Grad Finale. The response rate for the two survey administrations was 42%.
Ninety-six percent of graduating students reported the overall learning environment at UNCA to be strong or very strong. Students also rated the contributions of the university to their knowledge, skills, and personal development. The following items all received a 95% or higher for contributions: writing, speaking, listening, comprehending information, applying analytic skills, using critical thinking skills, working effectively as part of a team, and experiencing personal growth. Generally speaking, satisfaction with offices and services was higher than in the 2012-13 administration of the survey. Many of the increases were significant and with large effect sizes including items related to instruction, advising, library, technology, housing and residence life staff, bookstore, and career services. A few items received lower satisfaction scores than in 2012-13. These include health, dining, police, and parking services along with police and financial aid staff.
High-impact practices are enriching educational experiences with significant impact on student success such as service learning, research with faculty and Internships or field experiences. Almost half of graduating students reported participating, with or without course credit, in service learning and almost half reported participating in an unpaid internship while 28.7% participated in a paid internship. Thirty-eight percent of graduating students reported working with a faculty member on a research or scholarly project outside of course requirements.
A reality of modern higher education is that students are more likely to work than in the past which can impact many areas of their educational experience including time to graduate. Thirty nine percent of graduating students in 2015-16 reported working on-campus for pay, while 67% reported working off-campus. Students working off-campus are more likely to work longer hours. Four percent of students working on-campus work more than 20 hours a week compared to 31% of students who work off-campus. Forty-five percent of graduating students reported taking longer than 8 semesters to graduate. Changing majors, number of hours spent working for pay, taking time off for personal (non-financial) reasons, and losing credits when transferring to UNCA were the most common reasons cited for taking longer.
Forty-four percent of graduating students reported that they would be working full-time, continuing in their current job, working in the military or involved in volunteer work such as the Peace Corps after graduation. Twenty-nine percent of graduating students, who have not yet accepted a position, reported that they would be seeking employment as their primary activity after graduation. Over 21% of graduating students reported plans to attend graduate school full-time with an additional 14% attending part-time.
More information about the survey results is available on the IREP Surveys website.
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