Tips for Your NSSE Survey Administration

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Each institution needs to assess their campus culture and determine appropriate methods to reach students. Although there is no right way to increase student participation, below is a list of seven tips to consider as you begin your NSSE survey administration.

  • Know your audience: In order to successfully encourage student participation you must know your students. Having a plan of action to address the interests of all students could positively influence your response rates. Drill down previous data to see who is responding to the survey. 
    Example: Spelman College drilled down previous data
  • Involve faculty and staff: Institutions often cite the involvement of faculty and staff as key features of their promotional efforts. Encourage faculty and staff to mention NSSE in first-year and senior courses. Ultimately, having a faculty or staff member outline the value placed on NSSE by the institution could help students see that NSSE is an important instrument worth completing.
    Example: Nazareth College You Tube Clip created by university staff members
  • Incorporate technology: Using technology effectively can positively influence response rates. Collaborate with institutional technology staff as a part of your promotional efforts. Institutions have used creative and cost effective ways to incorporate technology (e.g., background on computer lab desktops, course management system updates, electronic newsletters and bulletin boards, etc…).
    Example: Colorado State University electronic bulletin board
                      Youtube video
  • Offer incentives: Research cites the effectiveness of incentives with college student populations. We suggest either offering a small token for each participant or a lottery. If using a lottery, remember to note the odds of winning and the value of prizes in promotional materials. Example: University of British Columbia and explanation of incentives
  • Include students: Involving students in promotional efforts is essential. We recommend collaborating with student clubs and organizations in your promotional efforts. Institutions have done this in various ways (e.g., student marketing or advertising club, student newspaper, and student television or radio station). Students ultimately need to see the importance of taking the NSSE survey. 
    Example: SUNY New Paltz You Tube clip involving students
  • Use social media: Using social media sites to promote NSSE could be valuable. An overwhelming majority of students are using social networking sites on a regular basis. Create a Facebook group or Twitter account and share results and update students throughout the entire NSSE administration. 
    Example: Minot State University Facebook page 
                      New Paltz
  • Disseminate results widely to stimulate action: We recommend institutions display results highlighting institutional strengths or findings relevant to institutional performance priorities. Institutions have used creative ways to share results (e.g., institutional Web sites, campus buses, table tents, computer screen savers, etc…).
    Example: Indiana University displaying results on the campus bus

Indiana University

Spelman College

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