Alumni surveys are a useful solution to developing strategies for quality improvement in educational offerings. Measuring alumni satisfaction can provide valuable insight into the academic experience, ranging from quality of teachers, coursework curriculum, availability of extracurricular activities, campus environment, and ability to get placed in a job once a degree has been earned.
They also help an educational institutions gauge interest in alumni willingness to make vital monetary contributions. For schools that want to increase alumni attendance at local events, an alumni survey can gauge interest in participating in institutional and alumni events, and the preferred days and times of such events. Moreover, they help determine the current career status of alumni and determine the preferred method of communication, whether that is a paper or digital newsletter.
Because many schools do not have the resources, expertise, or staffing to implement and carry out an effective alumni survey, they often require help from experts in survey research. Experts in survey methodology have expertise in question logic, format, and have analytics available to help analyze survey tool results. More importantly, they have online survey software that makes the process of deploying alumni surveys easier, efficient, and fast.
How Often Should Alumni Surveys Be Conducted?
The frequency of conducting alumni surveys designed by online survey software really depends on what the institute is measuring, and how often the data that is being measured is likely to change. It is also dependent on the growth in the alumni population.
For example, measuring alumni attitudes may be appropriate every three to five years. On the other hand, if there is a substantial growth in graduates for a given year, then surveying bi-annually or annually might be more beneficial. It is also advantageous to survey more frequently when the alumni base is large or when its is for private schools. When there is slow student growth or the alumni body is small, then more infrequent alumni survey deployment may be satisfactory.
When Should Alumni Surveys Be Deployed?
As a general rule of thumb, summer may be a time when you will likely receive a lower response rate than you would during the other eight or nine months of the year. It is also best to avoid the end of November into December due to the holidays.
After excluding those two times, alumni surveys can be conducted at the time that strategically makes sense to do so. This means that if you are interested in gathering feedback from alumni for a November homecoming event, then plan to deploy the survey in September or October.
Other times that are beneficial to carry out an alumni survey using online survey software is prior to or immediately after a hosted alumni event. In addition, if your institution typically sends at a magazine or newsletter quarterly, then including the survey as part of that communication works nicely.
In conclusion, if you have never surveyed the alumni of your institution, now is a great time to start. Alumni surveys are a practical solution and strategy to help improve the quality of education for current and future students, and keep alumni engaged.