MAILED: April 10, 2001
Approximately three out of four new freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire are either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with campus life at the university, and 77 percent would attend UW-Eau Claire if they had it to do over again. These are some of the findings of a new survey conducted by the UW System Market Research Unit.
Im encouraged by the responses from our freshmen, Chancellor Donald Mash said. The survey generally paints a positive picture and tells us were doing a lot of things right in spite of ongoing resource challenges. Our faculty and staff have been putting forward an incredible effort to maintain quality while responding to the needs of our students and our public.
Approximately one-third of the more than 23,000 new freshmen in the UW System completed the on-line questionnaire for a response rate of 31 percent. UW-Eau Claire, however, reaped a much higher response rate of 52 percent, with 1,090 of 2,091 new freshmen returning the questionnaire.
The typical respondent from UW-Eau Claire, as well as from all UW System institutions, was a traditional 18-year-old student, attending full-time and living in a residence hall. UW-Eau Claire has less in-state residents (70 percent) and more reciprocity students (25 percent from Minnesota) than the UW Systems average of 81 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Highlights of the report include the following:
- 73 percent of freshmen are extremely or very satisfied with their experience at UW-Eau Claire less than 3 percent of students are not very or not at all satisfied
- 42 percent are first-generation college students (i.e., neither parent graduated from college)
- Among parents who have a college degree, 40 percent of fathers and 43 percent of mothers attended a UW System institution
- 93 percent of UW-Eau Claire freshmen reported a high school grade point average of 3.0 or better (A = 4.0), compared to 86 percent of students system wide
- Fewer students at UW-Eau Claire (64 percent) report owning a computer versus all students in the UW System (67 percent), and 49 percent report spending seven or more hours on-line per week
- Almost all (97 percent) had visited UW-Eau Claires Web site, and 65 percent found it to be very useful or extremely useful
- 21 percent applied for admission only to UW-Eau Claire, while 22 percent applied to three or more institutions
- 19 percent of all respondents applied for admission electronically
- Students who applied to more than one institution enrolled at either their first (65 percent) or second (28 percent) choice of campus
The survey measured satisfaction by asking freshmen to respond to 36 statements in nine general categories: quality of instruction, course selection/registration, advising, prestige/payoff, personal attention, administrative services, financial, campus involvement and diversity. Students use a five-point scale to rate what features of the university are important and their level of satisfaction with various university characteristics.
- Among intended majors, business (16 percent) and education (15 percent) were the most popular choices, after undecided (21 percent)
In almost all categories, both importance and satisfaction were rated as significantly higher than moderate (the mid-point of the five-point scale). The greatest strength of UW-Eau Claire is quality of instruction. This factor includes items such as faculty who are knowledgeable, provide high quality instruction, show concern for students, and are available after class to answer questions.
Among areas for improvement, the research findings note that UW-Eau Claire could work to improve satisfaction ratings on the course selection/registration factor. While this factor received high importance ratings, the satisfaction ratings were only in the moderate range. According to the report, satisfaction ratings also could be improved on the diversity factor. Overall, this factor received lower importance ratings than the other factors and the satisfaction ratings were moderate.
Also consistent with national findings, freshmen students view a college education as a means to a lucrative career. The majority of students at UW-Eau Claire and UW System institutions say they choose to attend college to enhance their career opportunities and feel that college would be a means to a well-paying job.
The results of this survey are taken very seriously, Mash said. They will be useful as we make improvements to student services, identify priorities and fine-tune our strategic plan for the future.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 10, 2001