Low participation in senior survey

Hannah Fowl/The News
Seniors filling out the senior survey must now complete the survey online.Hannah Fowl/The News Seniors filling out the senior survey must now complete the survey online.

Story by Abby Siegel, Contributing writer

Hannah Fowl/The News Seniors filling out the senior survey must now complete the survey online.

Hannah Fowl/The News
Seniors filling out the senior survey must now complete the survey online.

Since the senior survey moved to an online format last year, the completion rate has lowered significantly with many seniors confused about what the survey is and its importance to the University.

The voluntary and anonymous survey is for graduating undergraduate seniors to share their perception of various aspects of their experience at Murray State such as their satisfaction with extracurricular activities and the characteristics of a Murray State graduate. The survey moved to an online format when applying for graduation moved online. 

The survey results are considered for strategic planning, and colleges, departments and student support offices use the results when making changes in their services and instructional opportunities.

“Their honest feedback is incredibly helpful, and very valuable,” Kelley Wezner said, director of Institutional Effectiveness.

In 2009, 973 seniors participated in the senior survey. Last year there were only 480 responses.

Tyler Cope, senior from Mayfield, Ky., said he didn’t take the survey because he didn’t have time to complete the roughly 100-question survey.

In addition to the length of the survey, many students were not sure what the survey was or where they could find it.

Laura Boden, senior from Louisville, Ky., said she wasn’t sure what the senior survey was and found her final year at Murray State to be extremely busy.

Despite the many seniors who didn’t complete the survey, Erica Dejarnatt, senior from Carlisle, Ky., did complete it along with about six other surveys in the past two weeks for various reasons, from professor evaluations to surveys for the School of Nursing. 

“I completed the survey because as a graduating senior I thought it would be beneficial to the University to have my opinion,” Dejarnatt said.

With the long list of requirements for seniors and the desire to graduate, the senior survey can get forgotten or left off of “to-do” lists.

Dejarnatt recommends emailing the link to the survey multiple times to seniors or providing incentives to increase participation. She said she believes incentives are an easy way to encourage students to participate.

She also suggested having seniors take the survey during a senior seminar course or a similar course that is only for seniors depending on the requirements of different majors. Then all seniors would have the time to complete the survey and wouldn’t forget to do so because it would be completed during class hours.

Wezner said she enjoys when she sees students say they would recommend Murray State to a prospective student on the survey.

The 2014 senior survey results indicated that 94.1 percent of those that responded either strongly agreed or disagreed with that statement. 

Dejarnatt said she would most definitely recommend Murray State to a prospective student.

“It’s just a great place,” she said. “If I could do it again here I would.”

Reflecting on his time at Murray State, Cope said he is sad to leave but feels that he is adequately prepared for the “real world.”

Cope offers advice to future graduates, as he is soon to become a Murray State alumnus.

“You won’t remember the nights you went to bed early, studied in the library or how early you woke up,” he said. “What you will remember the most is the time you dedicated investing in the lives of those you call your true friends.”