Information for Students, Parents,
Thank you for your interest in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, pronounced "nessie"). Our agreements with schools that participate in NSSE prevents us from reporting the results for individual colleges and universities. However, individual schools may provide their NSSE results if asked. In fact, many institutions have posted key findings from their students' responses to the survey on their institutional Web sites. To learn more about a specific institution's NSSE results, we encourage you to visit their Web site or to contact the admissions office of the school directly. In the meantime, please explore our site more closely for valuable information on the college student experience.
Who can benefit from NSSE information?
- Students currently enrolled at colleges and universities who have been invited to complete the survey
- Parents, students, high school counselors, and college admissions staff involved in the college search and decision-making process
- Professional education and career counselors
What does NSSE do? Who is surveyed? How are the results used? Find answers to these questions about how NSSE helps colleges and universities understand how their undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college.
The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) is an initiative by public four-year universities to supply basic, comparable information on the undergraduate student experience to primarily students and their families, but also to campus administrators, campus leaders, faculty, the public at large, and also legislators and public policy makers, through the College Portrait. The College Portrait seeks to produce comparisons, not rankings, to assist prospective college students to choose a “right fit” university.
NSSE has been selected as one of four assessment instruments about students’ experiences and perceptions for the VSA. Read more
More detailed information in question and answer format targeted to parents and students on how NSSE survey results can be used in the college search process.
College and universities participate in the NSSE survey because they want to learn more about what their students think and do so institutions can improve the undergraduate experience. When students receive an e-mail inviting them to participate in the NSSE survey, find out what they need to know.
For Parents and Students Making College Decisions: A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: Questions to Ask on Your College Visit
Our newly revised pocket guide for parents and students is provided through school counselors, college admissions offices, educational organizations, and is also available for download on the NSSE Web site. The guide suggests questions that students and parents might ask on a campus visit or when exploring colleges on the Web to help make the difficult choice as to what institution best fits the student.
The Spanish-language version of the Pocket Guide to Choosing a College -- Una Guia de Bolsillo Para Escoger una Universidad: Preguntas a hacer en tus visitas universitarias, is available for download and free copies are provided to high schools, colleges and non-profit education organizations.
Learn more about the NSSE Pocket Guide in this short YouTube video
NSSE Pocket Guide Is Now Mobile!
Use the QR code below to access a streamlined mobile version of NSSE’s pocket guide. Have suggestions at your fingertips for questions you
and your parents might ask as you tour campuses to learn more what students are doing and thinking at a particular college or university.
>A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: NSSE 2014 Answers from Students
A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College: NSSE 2014 Answers from Students (this report was formerly named the Student Experience in Brief) provides a snapshot of the level of student engagement on campus and is based on student responses to selected questions from the pocket guide. The pocket guide brochure and report were designed primarily to aid prospective students and their families during the college search process, but institutions may also find the report a valuable resource for a variety of on- and off-campus constituencies. View a sample of the Pocket Guide report
NSSE and the VSA College Portrait
The VSA recently mailed out over 16,000 promotional packets and new College Portrait posters to high school counselors across the country. You can find more information and download the flyer (PDF format) from the VSA Web site.
What Educators are Saying about the NSSE Pocket Guide:
"I plan to give a copy to each junior and senior. We will discuss the survey, the colleges who have participated, and how to use the questions in the booklet. I teach a class called 'Senior Seminar,' which spends significant time on college research and application strategies. I also meet with juniors and their parents in the spring to officially open the college search process."
- Director of College Counseling, private school, Snyder, NY
"I will distribute them to the entire junior class when I make presentations to them in the spring. I would also like a few to have available for parents who drop in to my office and for younger students. I also intend to put the link to your website in my Junior/Senior Planning Handbook so that families can become familiar with NSSE."
- College and Career Advisor, high school, Pleasant Hill, CA
"I am very excited about getting these guides. They will be so helpful for our juniors and seniors who are beginning the college application process. Thanks!"
- High School and College Program Coordinator, youth program, Chicago, IL
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