Graduated Students Survey
N = 19
More than half of the 19 respondents to the Spring 2012 survey were School Counseling graduates; six from Student Affairs, and one each from Community and Addictions Counseling. More than half of the respondents had achieved certification or licensure. We were encouraged to see that 63% indicated that their graduate degrees were directly related to their employment. Salaries were above the $40,000-$50,000 range for 84% of our respondents.
Job preparation and career advancement were primary considerations in pursuing a graduate degree for the majority of respondents. Slightly more than half (53%) were interested in preparation for further study and 68% stated that personal enrichment was very important in pursuing the degree. A strong percentage (63%) stated that completing the program helped them to reach their goals for pursuing the degree.
We asked participants to rate their experiences in the program using an A to F grading scale. An A or B was indicated for at least 50% of respondents on all items. Advising continues to reflect a challenge for the program faculty to address. Although most respondents scored the program in the A to B range, there was greater variability in response. The faculty have started to use collective advising programs (group advising sessions, Blackboard Advising Communities, and interactive individual advising sessions when individual face to face meetings present a challenge) and infused intentional points in the program when students must meet with advisors to address this challenge. Course variety was also more varied in response. We are exploring curriculum expansion to a 60 credit hour program (in line with the 2009 and projected 2016 CACREP standards) which we hope will offer a bit more flexibility in course offerings. Finally, the convenience of class schedules was more varied in response. In the past our students were primarily part-time and evening courses were preferred. In recent years, we have a greater percentage of full-time students and students who have needs for alternative scheduling that we have begun to implement. With respect to strengths, graduates found the program atmosphere, quality of teaching, and faculty morale and enthusiasm to be particularly high. Consistent with counselor preparation research, the internship was particularly strong and in another section of the survey graduates indicated that this was a formative experience in their development as counselors. Program information appeared to be readily available to students while they were in the program, and they rated their peers as being of high quality and committed to their studies. Overall, more than half of the respondents gave the program an A, and 95% an A or B.
The objectives of the counseling program appeared to be consistent with graduates’ perceived preparation for the profession. Objectives that were particularly highly rated were interacting effectively with others, individual interviewing and counseling, group work, and professional and effective writing. All other areas were rated positively, suggesting that program objectives are continuing to meet the needs of counselors entering the profession. As a result of participating in the program, graduated students obtained a job (63%), perform their jobs more competently (47%), are better prepared for another advanced degree (68%), and feel better about themselves (74%). They do not reflect tremendous interest in certificate programs we might offer, which helps in program expansion planning. Overall, our graduates rated the program and their experiences highly and provided sound feedback for continued program development.