Eighty-nine percent of seniors in the Boston College Class of 2017 said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their overall college experience, and 87 percent said they would choose BC again, according to data from the College Senior Survey released by the Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment.
In addition, 92 percent of the class said they were similarly satisfied with the quality of instruction they received at BC; 88 percent with the courses in their respective majors; and 77 percent with the Core Curriculum.
Overall, 91 percent of seniors in the class of 2017 said that Boston College had prepared them well for their careers, and 93 percent felt well prepared for advanced studies in graduate school—numbers that place BC at the highest levels of student satisfaction among peer institutions, administrators said.
Designed as an exit survey for graduating seniors nationwide, the College Senior Survey, sponsored by the Higher Education Research Institute, collects data on students’ experiences, attitudes, and perceptions prior to graduation.
The CSS focuses on a broad range of college outcomes, including academic achievement and engagement, student-faculty interaction, and satisfaction with the college experience.
“The results of the College Senior Survey provide powerful evidence that Boston College students are getting a great education and are challenged and supported by their faculty.”
In 2017, 1,149 BC seniors participated in the survey, for an overall response rate of 51 percent.
Through IRPA, the CSS results are matched against a national sample of college students to gain a comparative measure of BC seniors’ self-assessment vis-à-vis peers.
Among the findings:
*77 percent of BC students held an internship while at BC, 12 points above the national average.
*72 percent of BC students held a leadership position in a student organization, 10 points above the national average.
*54 percent studied abroad while at BC, 20 points above the national average.
*And nearly one-third of BC students participated in undergraduate research opportunities with faculty, three points above the national average.
On the issue of personal growth, a majority of Boston College seniors rated themselves above average or in the highest 10% compared to their peers in writing ability, academic ability, leadership, drive to achieve, physical health, understanding of others, public speaking, mathematical ability and intellectual self-confidence—results, administrators say, that constitute a remarkable endorsement of the BC undergraduate experience.
"The CSS was designed to measure the impact of a college education, examining both academic and social experiences,” said Kelli Armstrong, vice president of planning and assessment. “BC students have consistently scored higher than our peers on a vast majority of the outcome measures, particularly those that demonstrate a commitment to the liberal arts and a values-based education. In general, BC students report higher levels of satisfaction with their educational experience than our peers. This year was no exception."
“The results of the College Senior Survey provide powerful evidence that Boston College students are getting a great education and are challenged and supported by their faculty,” said Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. “The recent U.S. News survey, which ranked Boston College 16th overall in the new ‘Commitment to Undergraduate Teaching’ category, offers notable external recognition of our continuing success in this essential area.”
Armstrong said that one of the advantages of the CSS is its ability to link student responses in their senior year to the same items that were asked during their freshman year of college.
“This allows us to measure change over time,” said Armstrong. “In these links, we've seen wonderful areas of growth for BC students. For example, students advanced 14 points in the measurement of their writing ability during their time at Boston College, seven points above the peer group. The data clearly shows the successful outcomes resulting from a BC education.”
Details on the College Senior Survey are available on the IRPA website.
Jack Dunn | University Communications | September 2018