Parents’ opinions of St. Olaf (e-mail to St. Olaf community, July 7, 2009)
Summer is often a time for reflection on the previous year in the academic calendar. As we wonder “how are we doing?” there are many sources of information. One such source is a survey of parents of the St. Olaf Classes of 2008-2012 conducted during the spring 2009 semester. All parents for whom St. Olaf had a valid e-mail address were invited to participate and a paper survey was sent to a random sample of half of the parents for whom St. Olaf had only a mailing address, potentially including multiple parents per student. A total of 3,298 parents were contacted and 1,246 surveys were received, for an overall return rate of 38%. This is the third time we have conducted this survey – also done in spring 2002 and 2006.
Overall, at least 90% of our parent respondents are quite satisfied with nearly every aspect of the college we asked about. In addition, over 95% of respondents think their student is “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their overall St. Olaf experience. This has been consistent over the three times we have administered the survey.
Here are a few more items of potential interest:
- Very consistent over time, 46-47% of parents are “very satisfied” with their overall interaction with St. Olaf, while another 51% are “satisfied.” Less than 1% was “very dissatisfied” each year the survey was administered.
- There are slight increases in satisfaction with various St. Olaf offices and services, including Alumni & Parent Relations, Admissions, and Multicultural/Community Outreach.
- Likely a sign of the economic times, but there is some decreased satisfaction with Student Accounts, Financial Aid, and the quality of education relative to cost.
- Rating various sources of information about St. Olaf, over 90% of parents rate each source as “effective” or “very effective.” Visit(s) to campus and the St. Olaf website rate the highest with over 97% parents finding these sources effective.
- 90% of parents responding to the question this year would recommend St. Olaf to other parents and their children. 8% were not sure, while less than 2% said they would not recommend St. Olaf.
Institutional Research & Evaluation staff will be conducting more analysis of the data over the next few months, including summaries from the written comments. If you are interested in more results, please click on the link below, which contains the survey instrument, detailed response frequencies for each item, and graphs of selected trends over time. This website will also be made available to parents.