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Santa Clara University Students Rate Their College Experience As Top Notch in 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 18, 2010 – From academics to community service and social functions, Santa Clara University (SCU) received exceptionally high marks and praise from their own students in the 2010 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the most comprehensive assessment of effective practice in higher education. 

Since 2000, the NSSE has measured student involvement in key practices related to learning, persistence, and graduation. Each of the 603 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada that participated in the survey received scores from some 400,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students in five benchmark categories. 

SCU scored significantly higher than the national average in all five areas: 

Categories SCU Freshmen National Freshmen SCU Seniors National Seniors
Level of Academic Challenge 62.2 54.1 65.2 57.5
Active and Collaborative Learning 48.2 43.7 58.2 51.4
Student Interaction with Faculty 37.7 35.2 48.5 42.4
Enriching Educational Experiences 33.9 27.9 57.6 40.5
Supportive Campus Environment 67.9 62.5 65.1 59.6


An overwhelming number of SCU students were satisfied with their overall educational experience with 90 percent of freshman students reporting a favorable image of the University and 88 percent of seniors saying they would choose SCU again if they could start their college career over. When asked to what degree were studying and spending time on academic work emphasized, 83 percent of first year students cited substantial emphasis.
The survey also found that by the time students are seniors, 78 percent have participated in community service or volunteer work, which is very important at SCU where faculty educate leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion. This number is expected to climb with the class of 2013, the first set of students required to add community-based learning to their coursework in order to graduate.
The scores are based on a 0-100-point scale and determined by responses from 946 randomly selected SCU students who answered the survey. Some of the questions they answered pertain to:
  • How often students gave class presentations, asked questions in class, or prepared two or more drafts of papers/assignments before turning it in;
  • How often students voluntarily tutored/taught other students, participated in a community-based project, or used an electronic medium;
  • How often students received prompt feedback from faculty on their academic performance, worked harder than they thought they could to meet expectations, or worked with faculty on activities other than coursework;
  • How much their coursework emphasized memorizing, analyzing, or synthesizing; and
  • How much reading and writing they did during the school year.
While colleges and universities use NSSE to address how and where they can improve their academic and campus life, high school students can use it to determine where they want to apply.
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley. Santa Clara offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s degrees in a number of professional fields, law degrees, and engineering and theology doctorates. Distinguished by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, Santa Clara educates leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion grounded in faith-inspired values. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara is California’s oldest operating institution of higher education. For more information, see

Media Contact:
Connie Kim Coutain | | 408-554-5126 o | 408-829-4836 c

Tags: National Survey of Student Engagement, NSSE

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