Student Comments

Comments on Advising Complement Your Data and Give Students a Voice

Graduation ceremony at Wheaton College
Photo courtesy of Wheaton College

Your Student Comments Report and Data File

NSSE provides a Student Comments report (MS Excel) and a separate data file (SPSS) of all responses exactly as the students entered them. When applicable, comments from the advising module are included.

The Academic Advising Topical Module, which focuses on experiences and the quality of interaction between students and their advisors, also has an open-ended question component. Students provide these candid, unedited, and reflective responses regarding their personal advising experiences at their institution.

Advising student comments are a great way to complement quantitative institutional data on advising. Participating institutions may want to review responses to this prompt to further assess best practices in advising or provide an authentic student voice in annual reports and for promotional purposes.

My primary advisor has been the most helpful. He is always kind, respectful, and considerate when I interact with him, and that is incredibly helpful for me.

First-year student, Chemistry major

Institutions with Advising Results: Get Started with Student Comments!

Institutions with advising module results will want to review their students' comments. While you may use software to conduct qualitative or text-mining analysis, a more straightforward approach is to conduct a deep-dive of the comments using Microsoft Excel. You may want to begin by merely reading the student comments you have received to identify a trend. If you have a more concrete issue you wish to explore, you can start by searching for keywords from this topic within the comments. For example, suppose your institution wanted to know what types of resources students typically requested from advisors. In that case, you might use the “Find” function in Excel to search for resources or, more specifically, things like future plans, well-being, or financial needs.

We chose to explore the Academic Advising Topical Module comments concerning the latest Annual Reports findings, which examines students’ perceptions based on an advisor’s ability to demonstrate listening, respect, and caring (LRC). Below are some of the student comments that illustrate this aspect of advising: 

Sample Comments about Listening, Caring, and Respect

My advisor is amazing! She always wants to help and makes herself available to listen to students. She finds programs (labs, schools, internships) for the students she advises that peak their passions. She is the most caring faculty member by far at my institution she knows how to encourage students, especially when it comes to justice issues and psychology. 

Senior, Psychology major

My primary advisor has been the most helpful; he is always kind, respectful, and considerate when I interact with him, and that is incredibly helpful for me.

First-year student, Chemistry major

My faculty advisor has been the most helpful by guiding me academically in my research interests, professionally in potential career avenues, and personally by genuinely caring about my well-being and growth in life.

Senior, Sociology major

My advisor has been very helpful in working with my schedule and my other obligations to get me the best classes while also listening and understanding my concerns. She has gone above and beyond what is expected from an advisor. She takes extra time and work with me on helping to understand what is expected of me and how to best complete my degree.

Senior, Anthropology major

A professor that was not assigned as my academic advisor was most helpful to me because I was able to build a relationship with the professor and I felt she was the most invested in my overall well-being.

SeniorAgriculture major


Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824