The aim of a university outreach team is to
guide students to make informed decisions
about post school or college life. Outreach
events such as careers fairs, workshops,
assemblies, and on-campus events are
designed to give students a forum for asking
questions about university life and their futures.
Although universities offer many opportunities, we can only measure how helpful they are by learning about the experiences of the students. It is crucial we receive feedback to make sure we are engaging students during their time with us, not just lecturing them about accommodation or finance!
1. To measure the “effectiveness” of events
Students should leave an outreach event feeling more informed about their options and/or university life. To do this, we need to know if the event was useful. Including a question on the form along the lines of what did you learn during X event? can gauge how much information students are retaining.
2. To assess delivery
Asking students how clearly and effectively the information was delivered helps the outreach team learn how the event could be improved. This is particularly useful during the age of webinars. It can be more difficult for a speaker to gauge audience reactions for example when sessions are delivered in an online format.
3. To improve future events
Feedback can be used to improve collaborative relationships. More personalised communications can be sent to students who sign up for emails, or to teachers or advisers relating to any upcoming events which they feel would be helpful.
Common feedback from an information-heavy workshop, such as student finance, suggest that workshops could be more interactive. This approach may require extra work, but it helps ensure that students are retaining the information.
Below are some key factors to consider when
drafting your own evaluation form(s):
1. Explain why
It is important to stress to students why we ask for feedback and how useful it is for us to hear their thoughts.
2. Length and layout
Consider time constraints. The shorter the questionnaire, the better. A visible progression bar on the page identifies how quickly the form can be completed. Questions should be a blend of qualitative and quantitative but a long response for each question is unnecessary. Adopt alternative measures such as a 1 = Poor to 5 = Excellent scale.
Most universities are going paperless where they can, and there are websites and apps for constructing a form. A link or even a QR code can be disseminated after the event and the results exported into a desired format.
You want the student to feel they can be as honest as possible. Consider not asking for names – simply their school and year group. If the comments will be used for marketing purposes, make sure you ask for consent to use this for the intended purpose.
5. Separate the mandatory from the optional
Universities will have questions they want answers to, often based on their own team strategies or targets. But be careful not to include questions where the subsequent answers would not have a useful purpose.
This free newsletter will include information on university events added to UniTasterDays, as well as details about new webinars and blog releases for you and your students.
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