Graduate Students Exit with Satisfaction

Posted: March 16, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

More than 90 percent of exiting George Mason graduate and law students said they would recommend their academic programs to prospective applicants, according to the annual Graduate Student Exit Survey (GSES) for the 2003-04 academic year. Further, 48 percent said they would “strongly” recommend their graduate program to prospective students. This is a four percent increase over last year, and the highest percentage in three years. Eighty-eight percent would enroll in their program again, if they were to start over.

Released last month by the Office of Institutional Assessment (OIA), the report documents graduate students’ views on a variety of topics, including their satisfaction with the education they received at George Mason. Of the 2,318 graduating students, 1,947 students, or 84 percent, completed the GSES. Of these, 78 percent said George Mason was their first choice in graduate institutions and 18 percent said it was their second choice. However, 50 percent of law students said George Mason was their first choice, 30 percent lower than master’s students and 24 percent lower than doctoral students. Overall, the key three highest-rated factors in the respondents’ decision to come to George Mason were the relatively low cost, the availability of financial aid and assistantships, and the recommendations of friends who attend or have attended the university.

When evaluating their academic programs, 96 percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that their department or program has taught them “a great deal,” with 91 percent saying that they thought the intellectual caliber of their fellow students was high. Ninety-six percent of respondents said the courses they took were valuable to their goals, and 92 percent said their program had provided them with good preparation for their future goals.

In regard to the teaching faculty, 96 percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that faculty members were well qualified to teach their courses, and 92 percent believed that the courses they took were well taught. Ninety-four percent agreed that faculty members had prepared carefully for their graduate courses, and 90 percent agreed that faculty within their department or program were interested in the welfare and professional development of graduate students.

A majority of exiting graduate and law students felt they had sufficient opportunities to conduct quality research (88 percent), were able to present conference papers (66 percent), had adequate opportunities to perform or otherwise display their talents (87 percent), and were able to obtain assistantships (65 percent.) Altogether, 87 percent of those who had an assistantship position believed that it contributed “very much” or “somewhat” to their professional preparation.

In regard to the on-campus computer network and information technology services, 94 percent of respondents believed that the equipment and technology available through University Libraries was adequate, while 91 percent believed that the on-campus computer network and internet technology resources overall were adequate.

For a copy of the full In Focus report on the Graduate Student Exit Survey for the 2003-04 academic year, contact the OIA at 703-993-8834.

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