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Sneak Peek into the Fall 2023 First Term Survey Qualitative Data

DASA Assessment creates and publishes the First Term Survey qualitative and quantitative reports. While the Fall 2023 qualitative report is finishing up, DASA Assessment wishes to share a sneak peak into some of the responses!

The First Term Survey is sent to all first-year and transfer undergraduate students in their first fall or spring semester at NC State. As they complete the survey, they are asked to answer quantitative and qualitative questions. The themes shared here are from two of the open-response questions.

The Questions

  • What have been your biggest struggles at NC State so far?
  • What support do you need from NC State faculty and staff to be successful during your first year at NC State?

What have been your biggest struggles at NC State so far?

1,052 first-year and 235 transfer students responded to this question. Most students responded with comments about struggling with making friends, time management, managing their workload, and classes in general.

“Meeting new people after the first few weeks, and after welcome events are no longer happening.”

“Making real connections, it’s easy to engage people in class but continuing those connections outside are difficult.”

“Finding like-minded individuals who I can develop long-term friendships with.”

“One of my biggest struggles has been managing my time well. It feels like there are so many things I need to do for classes, so many things I want to take advantage of at NC State both socially and personally, and I don’t have time to be part of everything.”

“Managing my time so I’m not just doing school the whole day or just relaxing the whole day, and making deep and lasting connections with others.”

“Making friends, but that is mostly my own fault. I live 40 minutes away in [redacted] County and I am often not able to stay on campus long enough to attend club meetings. Also, I am a junior but I am 27 years old and I sometimes feel awkward because I am older than the majority students.”

“Lack of community because I am obtaining my degree online. I am on campus for specific speakers this semester – but I don’t know anyone other than the instructors. Everyone has their clique established…and sometimes it gets really lonely. While I have other methods of connecting with people in my personal life, the experience of being off-campus has been a little isolating. I have one foot in the life of a college student and one foot in the life of a wife, a mother, and a business owner.”

What support do you need from NC State faculty and staff to be successful during your first year at NC State?

948 first-year students and 203 transfer students responded to this question. The most popular themes were sharing the wish of support and understanding from faculty & staff, tutoring and academic support resources, and advising support. Encouragingly, it was also a theme for students to state that faculty and staff are already supportive of students.

“The understanding that students have more going on than faculty may assume.”

“Simply open mindedness, respect and understanding as I adjust.”

“I feel like understanding is what I need because everyone has different backgrounds and upbringings so the first year at NC State is an adjustment for everyone.”

“Just letting us freshman know more about the tutor options”

“More tutoring open for all courses. More times especially more flexible schedule for TA help sessions.”

“I am not sure, right now with my academic struggles I think the most helpful would be tutoring as most of my classes do not have any tutoring offered. And I think it would be helpful if Moodle calculated and informed you of what your total current grade was.”

“I think talking to my advisor more frequently would be helpful.”

“In person talks with advisors”

“One-on-one advising that I have received in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences has been the best tool to help me adjust.”

“Plenty of advising opportunities and guidance on how to create a realistic degree plan to graduate on time.”

“I had a lot of support from my academic advisor which was really comforting, and as helped me a lot so far.”

“What you guys have been giving is good. You constantly send emails reminding us of resources available and my advisor is always there to help me”

“I am unsure of what support is needed. But the instructors I have do a lot to make sure that students aren’t left behind. I may make use of [honor society’s] tutoring session for my major specific classes.”