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Student Experience Survey

Gallup and Purdue University published a report measuring the value of a college degree through its outcomes in May 2014. However, rather than measure degree outcomes solely through recent graduates' salaries or graduate school placement, as was typically done, Gallup and Purdue sought to measure outcomes that better reflect the variety of reasons individuals choose to attend college. This resulted in the Gallup-Purdue Index, (the largest representative student of college graduates in U.S. history) which "provides insight into the relationship between the college experience and whether college graduates have great jobs and great lives." Specifically, the index measures six categories of experiences undergraduate students may have (the "Big Six") and the cumulative influence of those experiences on 1) preparedness for life after college, 2) workplace engagement, and 3) personal well-being.

Beginning in spring 2016, Colorado College modified the "Big Six" experiences to better reflect opportunities on the Block Plan and launched the Student Experience Survey, which now comprises 10 experiences (listed and explained below). Comprehensive and universally relevant measures such as these (and those outlined in the full Gallup-Purdue Index Report) allow us to more accurately identify our strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately, adapt the college to better support post-graduate success. Because these experiences play an important role in post-graduate success, it is important to determine if any gaps or barriers exist in accessing these experiences at CC.

The ten experience areas consisted of the following:

  1. Off-campus courses or programs, including blocks or semesters abroad, domestic off-campus blocks or semesters, short field trips within courses, trips to the Baca Campus for a class, or courses offered off-campus during half-block.
  2. Internships and/or Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) fellowships, including paid or unpaid internships through CC resources, paid or unpaid internships secured through non-CC resources, and public interest fellowships.
  3. Having a faculty or staff mentor at Colorado College, including faculty members (as both advisor and non-advisors), college administrators or staff members, and coaches.
  4. Participation in projects lasting longer than a block, including thesis or capstone courses, summer collaborative research with either a CC faculty member or non-CC faculty member, serving as a research assistant to a CC faculty member, engagement in a self-designed research project, or another project.
  5. Leadership roles, including student clubs, peer mentoring, tutoring, student government, acting as a sports captain, acting as a Resident Advisor, or any other role.
  6. Development of a meaningful relationship with someone who has a different background or culture than their own, including those of a different race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, international origin, and an "other" option.
  7. Engagement with the Colorado Springs/El Paso County community, including CC Community-based learning courses, non-community-based learning course projects, CC club or student-run events, non-CC programs or groups, and other community-service outside of the classroom.
  8. Participation in professional and career skill-development programs, including Career Center workshops or programs, Half Block, or other.
  9. Knowing at least two faculty or staff members at Colorado College who would write them a letter of recommendation, offered as a simple yes or no response.
  10. Participation in personal skill development programs, including Wellness Resource Center interactions or programs, Counseling Center programs, Chaplain's Office programs, Butler Center programs, and an "other" option.

In the Spring of 2020, 1,237 students (61%) completed the Student Experience Survey. Experience findings for all respondents are presented below.

Off-Campus Courses and Programs

Nearly 68% of respondents reported participating in at least one off-campus course or program. For seniors, participation was closer to 90%. The most frequently reported off-campus experience was a short field trip in a course, with almost 46% of respondents reporting this experience. Notably, international students were less likely than domestic students to take a short field trip in a course. Another significant finding was that male students were less likely than female students to take a short field trip or a block abroad.

Internships and Public Interest Fellowship Program (PIFP) participation

Around 34% of respondents reported participating in at least one internship or in PIFP. For seniors, participation in internships and PIFP was closer to 65%. The most frequently reported internship was paid and secured through non-CC resources, with around 24% of respondents reporting this type. Notably, the groups most likely to participate in a paid internship secured through CC resources included students receiving financial aid and recipients of Pell grants.

Faculty/Staff Mentorship

Slightly over 85% of respondents reported having at least one faculty or staff mentor. The most frequently reported type of mentor was a faculty advisor, with around 75% of respondents reporting this type. Notably, the groups most likely to have an administrator/staff member as a mentor included students of color and female students. Female students, students of color, students receiving financial aid, and those receiving Pell grants were also more likely to have a faculty member other than their advisor as a mentor.

Participation in Long-Term Projects

Nearly one-third of respondents reported participating in at least one long-term project. Over 75% of seniors reported participating in a long-term project and around 35% of juniors reported such participation. These findings make sense given that the most frequently reported long-term project was a thesis/capstone. Students receiving financial aid were more likely than non-aided students to participate in a self-designed research project or a summer collaborative research project with a CC faculty member.

Leadership Roles

Around half of respondents reported having at least one leadership role, with student club leadership roles being the most frequently reported. Slightly less than 80% of seniors reported having at least one leadership position. The groups most likely to lead a student club included female students and students receiving aid.

Meaningful Cross-Cultural Relationships

Almost all respondents (96%) reported developing at least one meaningful cross-cultural relationship. The most frequently reported cross-cultural relationship was with someone of a different race/ethnicity, with 85% of respondents reporting such a relationship. Notably, the least reported cross-cultural relationship was with someone of a different political affiliation. Male students were more likely than female students to report a meaningful relationship with someone of a different political affiliation. Another significant finding was that students not receiving aid were more likely than students receiving aid to report not developing any meaningful cross-cultural relationships.

Engagement in the Colorado Springs/El Paso County Community

Around 72% of respondents reported some form of community engagement. Students most frequently reported engaging in the community through club-run or other student-run events. Notably, international students were more likely than domestic students to report not engaging in the community. Furthermore, students not receiving financial aid were more likely than students with aid to report not engaging in the community.

Career and Skill Development Programs

Around 54% of respondents reported participating in career and skill development programs. The most frequently reported skill development program was through the Career Center. Notably, the groups most likely to interact with the Career Center included female students, students of color, and students receiving financial aid. The groups most likely to report not participating in career and skill development programs were male students and students not receiving financial aid.

Letters of Recommendation

Slightly fewer than 80% of respondents reported knowing at least two or more faculty or staff members who would write them a letter of recommendation. Students receiving financial aid were more likely than students without aid to know at least two faculty or staff members who would write them letters of recommendation.

Personal Skill Development

Slightly fewer than half of respondents reported participation in personal skill development programs, with Counseling Center programs being the most frequently reported type of program. Female students and students receiving financial aid were more likely to participate in Counseling Center programs.

Female students, students of color, international students, first generation students, students receiving financial aid, and Pell grant recipients were all more likely to participate in Butler Center programs. Female students, students receiving financial aid, and Pell grant recipients were all more likely to participate in Wellness Resource Center programs. Notably, students receiving financial aid were more likely than students without aid to interact with the Wellness Resource Center; this finding also held for Pell grant recipients as opposed to non-Pell recipients.

The groups most likely to report not participating in personal skill development include male students, white students/students with an unknown race/ethnicity, students not receiving financial aid, and non-Pell recipients.

Total Areas Experienced

Overall, students at Colorado College are having the experiences the college recognizes as valuable. Participating students reported an average of six experience areas (out of a possible ten). However, when broken down by academic standing, students reported more experience areas as they progressed through their degree. First-year students reported slightly more than four experience areas on average, with roughly 70% of the class responding. Sophomores reported 5.7 areas on average, with 50% of the class responding. Juniors reported an average of 6.7 areas, with 53% of the class responding. Finally, seniors reported eight areas, with 49% of the class responding. Additionally, about 80% of seniors reported at least seven experience areas, with over 20% of seniors reporting experience in all ten areas. It is worth noting that the more historically underrepresented students in higher education (e.g., students of color, female students, students receiving financial aid, first generation students) reported more experiences overall.

In general, the benefits of these experiences are additive; having more of Gallup-Purdue's "Big Six" experiences is related to better preparedness for life after college, more active workplace engagement, and better well-being. Although there is still room for improvement, a large majority of CC students are graduating with the experiences that prepare them for holistically successful and meaningful lives. For more details and significant findings contact the office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/17/2020