Each year the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities. The topics explored are linked to previous research on student success in college.
Results from NSSE can provide prospective students with insights into how they might learn and develop at a given college. To help in the college exploration process, NSSE developed A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College to provide students and their families key questions to ask during campus visits.
The following responses were provided by 827 Loyola students on the 2012 NSSE survey.
To what degree is studying and spending time on academic work emphasized?
88 percent of first-year (FY) students feel that this institution places substantial emphasis on academics.
Do faculty hold students to high standards?
65 percent of FY students frequently work harder than they thought they could to meet faculty expectations.
How much time do students spend on homework each week?
56 percent of FY students spend more than 15 hours per week preparing for class; 5 percent spend five hours or less.
What types of thinking does coursework require?
The percentages of FY students who report substantial emphasis on the following activities:
- Memorizing facts, ideas, or methods: 72%
- Analyzing basic elements of an idea or theory: 89%
- Synthesizing and organizing ideas: 75%
- Making judgments about value of information: 76%
- Applying theories or concepts: 83%
How much writing is expected?
48 percent of FY students write more than four papers between 5-19 pages and 10 percent write at least one paper of at least 20 pages.
How much reading is expected during the school year?
62 percent of FY students read more than 10 assigned books or packs of course readings; 10 percent read fewer than five.
Do exams require students to do their best work?
58 percent of FY students report that their exams strongly challenge them to do their best work.
How often are topics from class discussed outside of the classroom?
60 percent of FY students frequently discuss readings or ideas from courses outside of class.
Do students work together on projects—inside and outside of class?
38 percent of FY students frequently work with other students on projects in class, and 45 percent frequently work with peers on assignments outside of class.
How often do students make class presentations?
21 percent of FY students frequently make presentations in class.
How many students participate in community-based projects as part of their courses?
20 percent of FY students frequently participate in service-learning or community-based projects; 56 percent never take part in such activities.
How many students apply their classroom learning to real life through internships or off-campus field experiences?
By spring of their senior year, 78 percent of students participate in some form of practicum, internship, field experience, co-op, or clinical assignment.
Do students have opportunities to tutor or teach other students?
24 percent of seniors frequently assist their fellow students by tutoring or teaching.
Are faculty members accessible and supportive?
83 percent of FY students say their faculty are available, helpful and sympathetic.
How many students work on research projects with faculty?
By spring of their senior year, 19 percent of students do research with a faculty member.
Do students receive prompt feedback on academic performance?
63 percent of FY students frequently get prompt verbal or written feedback from faculty members.
How often do students talk with advisors or faculty members about their career plans?
94 percent of seniors at least occasionally discuss career plans with faculty; 6 percent never talk with faculty members about career plans.
Do students and faculty members work together on committees and projects outside of course work?
55 percent of FY students at least occasionally spend time with faculty members on activities other than coursework.
Enriching Educational Experiences
What types of distinctive programs are offered?
During their first year, 26 percent of students participate in a learning community. By spring of their senior year, 13 percent of students have done independent study.
How often do students interact with peers who have different viewpoints than their own?
48 percent of FY students frequently have serious conversations with students who are different from themselves in terms of their religious, political, or personal beliefs.
How often do students interact with peers from different racial or ethnic backgrounds?
44 percent of FY students frequently have serious conversations with those of a different race or ethnicity.
How many students study in other countries?
By their senior year, 60 percent of students have studied abroad.
Do students participate in activities that enhance their spirituality?
29 percent of FY students frequently engage in spiritually enhancing activities such as worship, meditation, or prayer.
What percentage of students participate in community service?
By the time they are seniors, 83 percent of students participate in community service or volunteer work.
Supportive Campus Environment
How well do students get along with other students?
77 percent of FY students report that their peers are friendly, supportive, and give them a sense of belonging.
Are students satisfied with their overall educational experience?
90 percent of FY students rate their experience as good or excellent; 86 percent of seniors would choose this school again if they could start their college career over.
How much time do students devote to co-curricular activities?
37 percent of FY students spend at least five hours a week participating in co-curricular activities; 21 percent do not participate in such activities.
How well do students get along with administrators and staff?
66 percent of FY students find the administrative personnel and offices helpful, considerate, and flexible.
How much does the school help students with their academic and social needs?
86 percent of FY students feel that this institution provides substantial support for their academic success; 51 percent perceive substantial support for their social needs.
- 'Substantial' emphasis is defined by combining responses of 'Very much' and 'Quite a bit.'
- 'Frequently' is defined by combining responses of 'Very often' and 'Often.'
- 'Strongly challenge' is defined by combining responses of '5,' '6,' and '7' on a seven-point scale where 1 is 'Very little' and 7 is 'Very much.'
- 'Available, helpful, sympathetic' is defined by combing responses of '5,' '6,' and '7' on a seven-point scale.
- 'Occasionally’ is defined by combining the responses 'Very often,' 'Often,' and 'Sometimes.'
- 'Friendly, supportive, and sense of belonging' is defined by combining responses of '5,' '6,' and '7' on a seven-point scale.
- 'Helpful, considerate, and flexible' is defined by combining responses of '5,' '6,' and '7 on a seven-point scale.