About Institutional Research Surveys

Senior Survey

About This Survey
The purpose of surveying our students is to engage in continuous improvement of the education and other services offered at Notre Dame. We appreciate your willingness to cooperate with this effort. Occasionally, students express concerns about certain aspects of the survey. Frequently asked questions are addressed below.

Why do I have to fill out this survey to get my commencement tickets?
This survey is a key component of Notre Dame’s efforts to assess the outcomes of the undergraduate experience. It is therefore extremely important that we gather information from as many students as possible. Linking the survey with the ticket distribution process is one way to enhance participation. Similar methods are used at many colleges and universities around the country. The senior survey is part of the record-keeping that a place like Notre Dame normally maintains. It shares some characteristics with other information you provide the university during the admissions and enrollment processes. In asking you to complete the survey, we appeal (1) to your inclination to give voice to student concerns and (2) to your willingness to support an earnest effort on the part of the University to improve itself. In return, the University, specifically through the Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Research, makes a commitment to safeguard the confidentiality of your responses and to use the information as conscientiously as possible.

How is the confidentiality of my information ensured?
We follow strict procedures controlling the use and storage of survey data. Data about you as an individual reside in the Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Research. We do not release any individually indentifiable information you provide on any survey. Moreover, findings are reported only for groups that are sufficiently large to ensure that individuals cannot be recognized through their responses. In summary, we take firm measures to make sure that your responses remain anonymous to the public. We protect sensitive information you provide about yourself so that, even for appropriate uses of the information, no one can tell which individuals provided particular responses. This information includes such things as attitudes, behaviors, values, and evaluations reported in the survey.

Why are some of the questions so personal?
We realize that parts of the survey inquire into matters that might be somewhat difficult to reveal to others, even with assurances of confidentiality and anonymity. The short answer to this question is that we are interested in many aspects of your experience and cannot determine how well Notre Dame is doing by sticking to safe, simple questions. For example, a person’s college experience typically includes a wide variety of activities. The more you share about the nature and frequency of your varied activities, the better we can address one of our major concerns: which college experiences are associated with which changes?

In addition, the senior survey asks for financial information, particularly loans. While we understand many in our culture feel reluctant to share such information, we remind you that it is not used to examine your personal situation. Instead, it is combined with other responses to determine what Notre Dame students can expect. The results are shared with officers of the University so that decisions about tuition, fees, financial aid, and other matters can be informed by the actual experiences of former students.

In the end, you have the option of skipping items you are still uncomfortable answering. We respectfully request that you use this option prudently.

Why do you ask for financial information when you have ID numbers and can presumably get this information from the Financial Aid Office?
There are two classes of information that are not present in the Financial Aid Office’s information. First, that office has information only about the aid that the university administers, and we want to know more about how families finance college when university-administered aid is inadequate or absent. Second, we want to know more about the impact of indebtedness which is a very important concern of the university.

What can I do if I have further questions?
If you would like to talk more about these issues, please contact us at irsurvey@nd.edu.