College Choice Survey

Description | What does the instrument measure? | Sample Survey Items | Can the instrument be modified? | When is it best to administer the instrument? | IRB approval | Using the Results |Download the Instrument


The reasons students choose to attend another university , especially those you have recruited heavily, is always a question of interest. The CSS is designed to survey those students to help understand their reasons for making that choice and is based on a survey developed and tested by the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Texas at Austin. The resulting data can help you improve your recruiting methods and outcomes.

What does the instrument measure?

The instrument gathers data on why students (male and female) who were accepted into your college/department of engineering did not enroll and matriculate at your university.

There are many ideas about why students who are accepted at an institution don’t come-- better scholarship offered elsewhere, not enough personal contact, etc. Without effectively collected data, however, you may not end up correctly targeting your efforts and funding so to increase your “yield” of accepted students. This quick instrument (only 2 pages) will collect data that will allow your institution to take action.

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Use the survey with students who do enroll as well so you can compare the two groups.

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Sample Survey Items

sample questions

Can the instrument be modified?

The survey questions have been tested. To meet your specific objectives, you may wish to change or add additional questions to the survey such as institutional information and specific, institutional-related questions.

When is it best to administer the instrument?

Administer the CCS Survey in the spring, as near to the deadlines for acceptance to your University or Program as possible. Alternately, arrange to send it automatically to students as they turn down their offer from your institution.

Does this instrument require me to get Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval?

Contact the IRB at your institution - they must answer this question for you. As with all AWE instruments, a complete review and approval from your institution’s Institutional Review Board may be required prior to implementation of this survey. A good rule of thumb is that if you any data that will be reported outside your organization, you need IRB approval.

IRB requires that when you administer surveys, you must educate participants about possible risks and benefits involved in taking surveys, obtain their consent before involving them in your research and keep them informed about how data will be used. This is called the "informed consent process."

Visit The Institutional Review Board (IRB) Process page for more information about the informed consent process and to see examples of informed consent documents.

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Using the Results

  • Identify why accepted students did not enroll.
  • Provide data that can help you take action to result in higher yields of accepted students.
  • Gather same data from those who do enroll and compare the two groups.
  • Gather and provide data to help support requests for additional resources to address identified problems.

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Developed by The Pennsylvania State University and University of Missouri
Funded by The National Science Foundation (HRD 0120642 and HRD 0607081)