Alumni surveys, when designed and implemented properly, can have a positive impact on the planning, public policy, and achievement of quality and financial goals of higher education institutions.
Alumni surveys date back to the 1930s -- well before the use of online survey software. At that time, the general focus of this type of survey tool was on workforce issues and the correlation between completing a degree and the graduates' professional career. Survey questions mainly centered on transition from academic life to career life and the relationship of the graduates' major to his employment field.
Over time, the alumni survey tool expanded its scope. It began to evolve; investigating the skills and competencies the college student acquired during her academic life in preparation for the workforce became of increasing importance. In depth analysis of how engaged the student was during his academic tenure was also at the forefront.
Through the years, declining state support necessitated institutions to seek other sources of revenue. To curtail the rising costs of tuition and fees, post-secondary educational entities began to look into obtaining private grants and alumni giving for help.
As budgets grew tighter, and especially during tough economic periods, the alumni survey began to include questions surrounding financial matters. This included an examination of how likely the alumni was to support his or her alma mater.
With many colleges and universities needing -- and some relying -- on alumni support in the economic sense, alumni have now become very important players in the fund raising and lobbying arena. As such, colleges and universities are to a greater extent devoting their resources and efforts to learning about their alumni in hopes that they might advance their institution through monetary gifts, but also through insights into quality improvement.
Areas of the Alumni Survey
Besides the financial ties of alumni surveys, institutions are sorely interested in their quality and effectiveness. That is, how did the experience the alumni had at the institution translate into what the alumni accomplished in the years following obtaining her degree?
Topical areas used for developing questions typically included in online survey software for alumni surveys include:
* Job satisfaction
* Career satisfaction
* Extent of institutional preparation for employment
* Financial (salary) attainment
* Civic activities
* Political involvement
There are many external and internal reasons that drive the need for market-driven assessment and research in higher education, whether a community, state, or other public educational institution. And with the public and government placing greater demands on the quality of educational institutions, there's further social pressure for institutions to advance.
One way for higher education institutions to keep up with this pressure is through conducting alumni surveys using online survey software. Learning how alumni feel about their academic life and how it translated to their work life can help colleges and university leaders learn about problem areas. More importantly, it can help them take steps to improve their school's quality and alumni success rate.
In the end, the more satisfied and successful an alumnus, the more likely is for him to open up his wallet to give back to the school.