Enrolled Student Survey FAQ’s

Why should I take the USC ESS?

For years we have struggled to get students to answer these surveys. See the response rates below.

Year Enrolled Students Responses Response rate
2014 18,035 1960 10.9%
2015 18,623 1790 9.6%
2016 18,490 1937 10.5%

Because of this, the credibility of survey results has been in question. This year, we’re only trying to reach a few representative students and we’ve made the survey significantly shorter (113 questions in prior years vs. 26 questions now) than in the past to minimize the burden. You were selected over thousands of other USC students. Your perspective on the USC experience speaks for others, and will shape our understanding of the academic community and inform policy decisions across campus.

What is the USC ESS?

The ESS is a student experience survey. The Office of Institutional Research worked with the Division of Student Affairs, the Office for Residential Education, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, academic advisors, Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development, the University of California and the University of Minnesota to create the survey. The questions cover a broad range of topics, from academic experiences to how you spend your free time—a snapshot of undergraduate life at USC.

Is the data gathered on the USC ESS confidential?

Yes. We do not share your individual responses, and your answers are only published in aggregated form. Any comments you provide are suppressed if it is possible to identify a person from what is written.

Who is eligible to take the USC ESS?

Degree-seeking undergraduate students enrolled at USC, who are at least 18 years of age, are eligible to take the USC ESS. Students in the following categories are not eligible to take the USC ESS survey:

  • Students under the age of 18 as of April 8, 2018
  • Graduate students
  • Professional students
  • Non-degree seeking students
  • Correspondence students

This year we’ve created a statistically representative sample (instead of a census). You were selected randomly based on one of the following characteristics: enrollment status, class level, first-generation status, whether you are a member of a fraternity/sorority, or whether you are classified as an underrepresented minority.

How long does the survey take to complete?

The USC ESS takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Thank you for participating in USC’s USC ESS Survey!

Ray Gonzales
Office of Institutional Research
University of Southern California