For the past five years, the Dean of Students' office has administered the HERI Senior Survey during the check-out routine at the end of the year. The senior survey is given to students who completed a related survey from the UCLA-based research center during freshman orientation.
Wabash College Dean of Students David Hadley reports that these surveys also indicate that Wabash men are typically more self-confident, hold stronger degree aspirations and are more positive about their collegiate experience than students at similar institutions. Explaining the positive marks, Hadley says, "Once [students] are here and go through the experience...they develop the perception that they are working hard and being challenged...by developing writing skills and thinking skills." These challenges translate into a greater appreciation of Wabash. "The surveys," Hadley continues, "show that we're doing what we tell them we will do," which is provide an education that will serve them well when they graduate.
The most impressive number from the latest set of survey results tabulated by HERI for the class of '96 is that 81% of Wabash seniors indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with the sense of community on campus compared to 54% of seniors at non-sectarian four-year colleges nationwide. Additionally, 97.1% of Wabash seniors indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with faculty contact during their four years, compared to 87.9% nationally.
These numbers echo sentiments Hadley typically hears during his annual round of informal sophomore interviews during February and March. The interviews give Hadley the opportunity to learn more about why students chose Wabash over other schools and their impressions of Wabash after three semesters. Hadley notes that the positives about Wabash typically outweigh the negatives three to one. In 1997, the accessibility and approachability of faculty was by far the most frequent positive remark he heard. Regarding the quality of education at Wabash, one sophomore remarked, "It's hard to justify leaving when you have such a gift available to you at Wabash."