1: Choose survey administration method
Step 2: Institution provides information and materials to NSSE
Step 3: NSSE contacts students and collects surveys
Step 4: NSSE conducts follow-up with students
- Paper. Students receive a paper invitation to participate, a hard copy of the survey, and the option of completing a Web version of the survey.
- Web+. Students receive three pieces of correspondence by e-mail and are asked to complete the Web version of the survey. Upon the fourth contact, a sub-set of non-respondents are sent a paper copy of the survey and all remaining non-respondents are contacted via the Web. The Web+ administration mode is best for schools that have adequate records of student email addresses but are not sure how likely students will respond via the Web.
- Web-only. Students receive all correspondence by e-mail and complete the Web version of the survey. This mode requires accurate student e-mail addresses.
Your college or university chooses between:
Look at our comparison of survey modes for more information about choosing your survey administration mode.
- A student population data file of ALL first-year and senior students - NSSE selects a random sample from this file
- Customized letters endorsed by an institutional representative(s) (e.g. President, Chief Academic Officer, Dean of Students, Student Government President, etc.). NSSE provides samples of these letters for your reference and submission in electronic format. The letters are then included with the surveys when they are mailed for paper schools or emailed for Web and Web+ schools.
- Signature samples for the letters (paper schools only)
- Institution letterhead (paper schools only)
Your college or university sends NSSE the following:
Note: Once NSSE receives these materials, we do the rest.
NSSE selects a random sample (½ first year and ½ seniors) of students from the student population data file based upon undergraduate enrollment. In February to March, selected students receive either a personalized letter on your college letterhead, a copy of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and postage-paid reply envelope, or a mailed announcement followed by an electronic invitation to complete the Web version of the NSSE. When students are finished completing the survey (typically 15 minutes or less), they submit their responses directly to NSSE.
Another way that NSSE attempts to improve response rates is by giving all students at both paper and Web-only institutions the ability to complete the survey on-line. The URL address of the Web-based version of the NSSE is included in all correspondence to students.