Graduating class snapshot

Results are in for the latest Survey of Graduating Students, the annual questionnaire on satisfaction with various aspects of the university. The web-based survey was made available to 5,481 undergraduate, certificate and diploma students who were, at the time of distribution, expected to graduate in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011.

In previous years, the survey was distributed in a printed form; this year, it is being released online only. The full report, released earlier this month, is available here.

Some highlights include:

  • Far and away, students attended Western for one of three reasons: quality of programs (41.3 per cent), career-relevant programs (32.8 per cent) and good social atmosphere (27.5 per cent). Only 7.6 per cent arrived because of family tradition.
  • Nearly half of students (48.7 per cent) used their parents, through both repayable and non-repayable loans, as their largest source of financial assistance. For 30.5 per cent of students, that largest source was a repayable/bank loans, while only 3.1 per cent were mainly paid for through scholarships/bursaries.
  • Nearly four in 10 students walked away from Western with no education-related debt (39.4 per cent). But an equal number emerged with more than $20,000 in debt (39.7 per cent). Almost one in five (19.4 per cent) start off life more than $30,000 in the red.
  • Nearly one in four students planned to enroll in a graduate program after graduation (23.9 per cent), one in four plan to seek employment (23.5 per cent) and one in four have a job lined up after graduation (24.8 per cent). Of those who have a job lined up, 69.3 per cent will be working in fields closely related to their area of study.
  • When it comes to Western facilities, students were most satisfied with the athletic facilities (49.7 per cent), buildings and grounds (29.3 per cent), libraries (28.2 per cent) and residences (28.2 per cent). Don Wright Faculty of Music students loved the libraries the most (85.2 per cent). Least loved facilities? By far, it was campus food outlets (10.7 per cent) and parking (30.2 per cent).
  • More than eight in 10 students were satisfied with the overall education they received from Western (83.6 per cent).
  • Students felt they grew ‘a great deal’ academically and personally in their research skills (39.1 per cent), independently learning/working skills (38.3 per cent) and critical judgment (36.9 per cent). They saw no growth in their appreciation for literature and fine arts (19.3 per cent), math proficiency (17.8 per cent) and science understanding (12.4 per cent).
  • Library access via web (40.9 per cent), campus safety (34.3 per cent) and student health services (31 per cent) topped support unit satisfaction. On-campus work opportunities (14.6 per cent), academic counseling (14.4 per cent) and employment services (13.8 per cent) topped the areas of least satisfaction.
  • Nearly one in three students strongly agreed their program had sufficient theoretical focus (32.3 per cent), but less than one in five strongly agreed their program had sufficient practical focus (19.5 per cent). MD students handed out the highest practical focus rating (89.5 per cent), while the Faculty of Information and Media Studies handed out the lowest (40.6 per cent).
  • More than six in 10 students thought evaluations – marks and exams – were fair (60.4 per cent). MD students felt most fairly graded (90 per cent), while the Faculty of Information and Media Studies felt least fairly evaluated (25 per cent).
  • What faculty walked out with the most self-confidence thanks to their Western experience? MDs (84.2 per cent). The least? Education (49.1 per cent).
  • Faculty most likely to recommend Western to a friend? Dentistry and MDs (100 per cent). Least likely? Education (80.8 per cent).
  • Nearly nine in 10 Faculty of Information and Media Studies students (86.2 per cent) think they grew as writers. No surveyed dentistry student felt the same way.