When college and university administrators want to get feedback about their schools, their greatest resource is their graduates. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have current contact information for your alumni. Having that on hand is not only essential for collecting feedback — it’s also useful for everything from communicating about upcoming events to asking for donations.
The next step is deciding what you want to learn from alumni feedback. Administrators hoping to collect comments from former students might be stumped when planning the content and the number of questions to ask.
After all, your alumni’s time is precious, and asking them to fill out a survey that doesn’t directly benefit them is asking a lot. It’s best to keep things short and sweet, while still ensuring you get the information you need.
Have you ever offered to give feedback and then realized halfway through that the form required more effort than you expected? You’re not the only one. This is why it’s good practice to put the most essential information you need to collect at the very top of your alumni feedback survey. That way, when your alum reaches the 10th question and starts to hit their limit, they’ll be slacking off on the questions that weren’t as important anyway.
Below, we discuss potential questions to ask alumni on feedback surveys. And we show how JotForm can assist with creating the perfect form to collect your alumni responses.
5 question types to ask alumni
- Contact information
- Graduate school
- Overall satisfaction
Types of questions to ask alumni
Is the address you have on file for your alum current? If you’re still sending emails to the person’s school email address — or regular mail to their parents’ address — chances are there’s a better way to reach them.
When you’re sending hard copies of alumni mailers, ensure they’re getting in the right hands and not ending up in the recycle bin. People tend to relocate more often in the years immediately following graduation, so it’s likely you have an old address on file.
Here are some contact-related questions to ask alumni:
- What’s your current home address, email, and phone number?
- What’s the best method to contact you?
Some of the best feedback you can get comes from alumni who’ve just graduated. It’s important to ask questions about how they found employment — they might share tactics that would be helpful for seniors who are close to graduation.
It’s also useful to have real data on job placement. After all, you can use that information when you’re promoting the school to prospective students.
Here are some employment-related questions to ask alumni:
- How long did it take you to find work after graduation?
- What field are you currently working in?
- Is your current job directly related to your college major?
- Do you feel our school adequately prepared you to find a job?
Not every alum will go on to pursue a graduate degree, but for those who do, it’s useful to collect data on acceptance rates, the types of degrees they earned, and more.
It’s also helpful to know if and why your alumni chose to either stick with their undergraduate school for their next degree or look elsewhere. There’s a good chance many students will be considering their options, and this information can be great to include with your resources for seniors.
Here are some questions about graduate school you might include:
- Did you attend graduate school?
- Where did you enroll in graduate school?
- Was the graduate degree offered at our school?
- If yes, why did you or didn’t you consider our school for graduate studies?
Many schools treat their alumni like extended family, offering events and other opportunities for them throughout the year. One way to see which offerings resonate the most with your alumni is to ask questions about how often they engage with their alma mater. You may ask specific questions about recent events or just ask how interested your alumni are in returning to campus.
This is also a great way to identify and recruit volunteers for alumni speaking events, which can be a great resource for current students.
You might consider asking these questions:
- Have you attended any alumni events at the school?
- Have you returned to campus for any reason? If yes, why?
- Did you attend any events with alumni as a student, and did you find them helpful?
- Would you be willing to speak at an alumni event?
- Would you be willing to make a donation to the school?
Some of the more basic questions to ask alumni include those related to how satisfied they are with their decision to attend your school. It’s helpful to ask former students these questions once they’ve been in the real world for a few years and can reflect on how their time at your school benefitted them.
Many alumni will think more favorably of their school if they still feel a connection to it after graduation (and here’s where alumni events help). This gives you an opportunity to test whether your alumni still appreciate the education and resources they received from your school, and it’s often easiest to ask them to respond using a scale.
You might include questions like these:
- On a scale from 1–10, how satisfied were you with your overall experience at our school?
- On a scale from 1–10, how likely are you to recommend our school to someone else?
- Do you have any suggestions about how we could have improved your experience?
- What were the most positive aspects of your time at our school?
- Do you have any additional comments on your experience?
Collecting alumni feedback with JotForm
If you’re looking for a proper tool to send feedback surveys to your school’s alumni, JotForm can help. JotForm has 140+ alumni form templates, including a helpful alumni contact directory form that will make collecting and organizing essential contact info from your former students a lot easier.
There are a number of readymade forms to choose from, but every school is different — that’s where the JotForm Form Builder comes in handy. It allows you to create your own form from scratch or make tweaks to an existing form.