Each year we complete dozens of studies for clients that address some facet of the academic experience. An amalgam of these studies reveals that students often have a richer definition of the academic experience than do many colleges and universities. For example, traditional-age students use some 18 different variables to define the academic experience, including:

  1. Quality of faculty
  2. Availability of faculty
  3. Classroom experience
  4. Advising
  5. Quality of other students
  6. Availability of classes
  7. Class size
  8. Library resources (not necessarily books)
  9. Core academic facilities
  10. Opportunity for student research
  11. Graduate school placement
  12. Job placement
  13. Honors experience
  14. Academic assistance
  15. Technology
  16. Internships and co-ops
  17. Registration
  18. Travel abroad

As you think about this list, consider two things. First, are you aggressively managing these variables? Do you, for example, routinely evaluate current practices and are you committed to monitoring best practices?

Second, have you developed a rich visual and verbal vocabulary to communicate the many dimensions of academic quality to prospective students, parents, and such internal audiences as current students, faculty, and staff? Do you have the photographs, the illustrations, the data, and the anecdotes to tell a rich story?

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