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Orientation Follow-Up Evaluation 2002
New Student Orientation Program 2002
Background and Purpose
The College of Arts and Sciences currently surveys students and parents
during each Orientation session. PBA has consulted on these surveys in the
past. Other colleges do not conduct formal surveys during the Orientation
In May 2002, the campus-wide Orientation Advisory Committee proposed a
survey late in the fall semester to gather longer term perceptions and to
evaluate the "staying power" of knowledge gained during
Orientation. The data collection was later expanded to cover the New Student
Welcome program occurring at the beginning of classes in the fall. This
program offers informational and social activities primarily to new freshmen
living in the residence halls.
The major audiences for this survey include orientation planners, deans and
associate deans, and college advisors. Members of the Orientation Advisory
Committee felt that these individuals hear anecdotal complaints but do not
have enough representative data to put them in perspective.
PBA consulted heavily on instrument design, and performed all sampling,
data collection, and analysis.
1450 new freshmen and new transfers were sampled. To help ensure
representative results, sampling was performed by college, and by
"cluster" of majors within A&S. Students were sampled from all
colleges except Music, which has a minimal Orientation program. The overall
response rate was 43%, which is comparable to other recent PBA web
Data collection was entirely on the
web, using email solicitations and ten $50 cash incentives. The collection
period ran from November 5 to November 21, 2002. This was immediately before
most new students register for spring term classes.
In addition to rating scale and yes/no items, the
solicited several open-ended comments. Major areas of evaluation were
- the Orientation program
itself—general impression and specific content areas
- registration and course selection
- New Student Welcome
- two hypothetical problems related to
course selection and dorm conflicts on which respondents evaluated various
Comparisons of interest include
colleges, freshmen vs. transfers, and June/July vs. August orientation (within
A&S and Business only—earlier sessions are smaller than the August session).
Overall, students are only moderately
satisfied with their Orientation experience.
- Only 51% of respondents said
that Orientation was at least somewhat valuable to them (those answering in
the upper half of a scale ranging from "A Complete Waste of Time" to
- When asked to list the first
five words coming to mind about Orientation, "boring" and "long" were two of
the most common responses.
However, students are somewhat more
pleased with the specific information they received.
- Students feel they received the
most useful information on course requirements and advising, with somewhat
less information on support services.
- The words "informative" and
"helpful" are also commonly associated with Orientation.
Most students feel they had the skills
necessary to make fall course selections and to register for classes (over 75%
answering "somewhat" or "very much").
- This is a major goal of the Orientation program for A&S
(though other colleges vary on how much this is emphasized during
Over half of new freshmen surveyed
participated in New Student Welcome activities. Most of those who attended
report positive evaluations of the program.
- The program helped students most
with feeling welcome at CU, with meeting other students, and with learning
residence hall rules.
Respondents endorsed sensible and
logical solutions to situations related to Orientation and New Student
- When faced with a last minute
course requirement question, students recommended resources such as the
course catalog, academic advisors, and college websites.
- Common solutions to a conflict
between roommates included negotiating ground rules and discussion between
the involved parties, both of which were appropriate to the conflict’s
Detailed results on closed-ended items are in an
Excel report. Includes comparisons on key
student and program characteristics. Open-ended responses are
in a separate Excel file. The list of open
responses also contains raw data for all closed-ended items, for selecting
open-ended comments based on responses to other items in the survey.
Caution on interpretation. The instrument was purposely generic, so
that it would fit the Orientation programs of all colleges. Interpreting
differences between colleges requires a substantial amount of knowledge about