Highlights from Fall 2019 First-Year Student Transition to College Survey

In late October 2019, the Office of Institutional Analysis conducted a new home-grown survey: “Transition to College Survey”. All Gettysburg College first-year students were invited to participate. 86% (586 out of 679) completed the survey; the majority of them took it during their First-Year Seminar class.

The purposes of the survey were:

  • to better understand first-year students’ transition to college,
  • to identify (perceived) institutional strengths and challenges/growth opportunities, and
  • to support data-informed institutional efforts to enhance student experience and retention.

Below are some highlights from the survey.

Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

The Survey asks: “To what extent were the expectations you brought to this institution as a first-year student matched by the reality of your experience in each of the following areas?” (Rating Scale: Well below expected--Below expected--Same as expected--Above expected--Well above expected.)

The results are very positive. Over 90% of our first-year students reported their expectations have been met or exceeded in the nine areas shown in the chart below (listed in descending order based on the combined % of “Same as expected”, “Above expected”, and “Well above expected”). In particular, close to 60% reported their expectations have been exceeded in terms of quality of interactions with faculty, and level of respect and acceptance shown by faculty and staff towards students.

 Meeting and Exceeding Expectations chart - see table below for data
Figure 1: Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

Student Wellbeing

The Survey also asks about student wellbeing during their transition to college. It is worth noting that less than half of the respondents reported that they were getting enough sleep, or felt rested most of the time. The chart below shows student responses in the four areas of personal wellbeing.

Student Wellbeing chart - see table below for data
Figure 2: Student Wellbeing

Preferred Ways of Getting Notified

Survey Question: “What is your preferred way of getting notified of campus events and resources?” The chart below shows the % of students who selected each.

Preferred Ways of Getting Notified - see table below for data
Figure 3: Preferred Ways of Getting Notified