Staff Editorial: Communication and student satisfaction

GW is worth attending – and attending again – a recent study found.

The percentage of 2010 graduates who would choose to attend GW if they had to make the decision again rose to 67 percent–the highest it’s been in five years–according to the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. About 20 percent of students said they might choose GW again, while 13 percent said they probably or definitely would not.

GW has made tremendous strides in improving student satisfaction in recent years.

In the last 50 years, the University transformed itself from a regional commuter school to an internationally recognized institution. As a result, the academic quality of the institution has risen dramatically, with stronger students and professors coming to GW every year.

All of this feeds into student satisfaction and happiness at the University, and it will continue to do so in the future.

With endeavors such as developing a new, long-term academic strategic plan, the University is clearly creating the academic infrastructure for student satisfaction. But there is another element of the institution that might be even more critical to propel student satisfaction forward: the small, yet important details of campus and residential life at GW.

What can often be an overlooked element of student satisfaction is the day-to-day interaction that the student body has with the institution. For the vast majority of students, having a positive campus and residential experience is the most important aspect of college.

Students remember unanswered FIXit requests. They remember the frustration of dealing with Student Technology Services when their Internet connection is slow or nonexistent. And they can’t reclaim the lost time that it takes to weave through a seemingly endless maze of bureaucratic red tape to discuss their financial aid package.

And ultimately, it can be these seemingly minute dealings that can define an individual’s experience at GW.

It might be unfair that students often assess the entire University based on these small interactions, but they do add up. The truth is, students want to feel served by the University.

And bureaucracy, inaccessibility and a lack of transparency thwart that.

The best way the University can ensure it is providing students with a strong campus and residential experience is by allowing for frequent and open lines of communication.

The University should constantly seek feedback regarding the different offices, departments and services that students use. This will help the administration understand the concerns students may have about different aspects of GW.

If students are frustrated with certain issues, it is in the University’s best interests to communicate what exactly is being done to alleviate any problems. Students want to know GW can be responsive and versatile, and that it is not the bureaucratic monstrosity it is often portrayed to be.

When students encounter issues with academics or student life – and they inevitably will at some point during their college careers – they want to feel they are informed about the right office or administrator to contact. By making it clear which department or individual can best help with a particular issue, students will feel that they are able to navigate the University.

As the University continues to grow and expand, it can never forget what makes graduates truly happy that they spent four years as a Colonial.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.