Student Surveys: Tips for Increasing Student Response Rate

Student surveys can provide you with the information needed to identify areas of need and support your students to greatest impact. With the right student survey data, you can quickly and easily gauge how students are performing academically, identify financial aid red flags, and get real-time insights into how students are doing outside of the classroom for a holistic picture of each student’s path to college success.

There’s just one challenge – your ability to act on this data depends on your students completing surveys fully and on time. So how can you help or entice students to provide the information you need to support them effectively? Here are a few pointers we’ve picked up along the way.

Speak a common language: Student surveys are a best practice we carried over from our parent organization, Dell Scholars; with a college completion rate outranking the national average by 60 percent, Dell Scholars has seeded GradSnapp with a wealth of learnings that inform our platform design. Through Dell Scholars, we know that one of the top barriers to completing surveys is fear of the unknown. Questions that may seem simple for long-time practitioners like “How many credit hours did you attempt versus complete?,” can leave a student stumped, wondering, “What is a credit hour?”

If students haven’t been primed to navigate the academic landscape, these types of questions can be intimidating – and they may delay survey completion altogether. Enter the GradSnapp College Knowledge onboarding quiz. There’s more to it than just getting students’ data into the system. Onboarding quizzes are designed to introduce students to the nuts and bolts of college, from academic performance and progress to the financial aid system, before they even set foot on campus. If students are introduced to the language of academia before their first semester, they will be well-versed in the content going into the surveys later on. The quiz results will also show you where there are knowledge gaps to be addressed.

Know your students: It’s all about relationships. Students are more likely to engage with GradSnapp and your advisors if they understand the value of providing detailed progress updates and have trust in the support they’re receiving. At Dell Scholars, we’ve built in a range of touchpoints during the limited timeframe of acceptance to the first day of school to quickly begin this relationship-building, ensuring students are aware of our support beyond dollars and cents.

Meet them where they are: While GradSnapp surveys can be completed in about 20 minutes if a student is prepared with the right information, we realize the time commitment can be daunting. Being sensitive to their busy lives, we have a responsibility to continue innovating and make the process as seamless as possible for our students. Dell Scholars is currently piloting surveys by text, asking fewer questions but more frequently. This approach minimizes the effort demanded of our students – and it’s working.

When in doubt, incentivize: Your students didn’t get where they are without a little grit and determination, so why not ignite their inner competitor with incentives like gift cards, raffles, and tablets to students who put in the effort to complete surveys fully and in record time? Incentives are a fool-proof way to ensure students share their data so you can get a real time picture of their progress.

In the end, getting students to complete surveys is just one step toward a bigger goal: creating a synergy between students and advisors where students are equally motivated to share insights about their college journey, because they understand the importance of providing advisors with detailed, real-time data. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to effective student data management. While surveys can be a powerful tool, working student advisor relationships are a two-way street. It’s our responsibility to meet students where they are and work together as a team throughout the journey to earning a college degree.