Student Experience Survey shows student engagement gains

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — From class attendance to work experience, the newly released Student Experience Survey has the latest information relating to student engagement in a variety of commitment areas on campus and in the community, showcasing the many academic and co-curricular opportunities students engage in while at Penn State.  

The survey, which is administered on a three-year cycle by the Student Affairs Research and Assessment office, gathers information on the activities that students engage in, their self-reported sense of belonging, and their perceived gains on academic, interpersonal and intrapersonal successes.  

A sample of 10,958 full-time students was contacted via email to complete the survey, creating the data set for University Park. Additional sets on Commonwealth Campuses and a combined average of all campuses are also included in the survey.  

Co-curricular activities

Overall, 95.5 percent of University Park students have participated in a club or organization during their years as undergraduates, an increase from the 2014 report. Involvement in faculty and staff committees and political activism also rose from 2014 figures.

Academic engagement

Student involvement in out-of-classroom academic experiences is also on the rise in a variety of areas. Up nearly 7 percent from 2014, 44 percent of students reported working on research with faculty outside of typical class work in this year’s study. A higher percentage of students also reported participating in more semester-long and course-embedded study abroad programs than previous years.

Sports and fitness

Approximately one-third of University Park students participate in club and intramural sports. Fitness activities and club/intramural sports are the two most popular athletic activity choices among students. University Park also reports the highest level of fitness engagement among Penn State students, as nearly 50 percent of students are involved in fitness activities in some degree, committing an average of 6 hours each week to these activities.

Working for pay

University Park students work an average of 16.6 hours each week at on-and off-campus jobs. Although the study shows these students are less likely to be involved in clubs and activities, students who work for pay across all campuses report feeling a higher level of interpersonal and intrapersonal skill development than those who do not work for pay.

From classroom engagement to clubs and athletics to earning a wage, the results of this year’s survey make clear that there is no shortage of students willing to take advantage of the abundant opportunities for engagement and personal development at University Park or across the Commonwealth Campuses.

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Last Updated December 11, 2017