Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)


The Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) elicits information from entering first-year students about their high school academic and co-curricular experiences, and their expectations for college. BCSSE is paired with the National Survey of Student Engagement, which is administered later in the academic year to the same cohort of first-years, as well as to seniors. BCSSE is administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.

BCSSE results and reports

St. Olaf has participated in BCSSE since Fall 2007. We receive a variety of reports comparing our students’ responses with those of students at peer institutions. We also receive an advising report for each participating student, which we share with students’ faculty advisors.  BCSSE results have been used at St. Olaf to inform faculty development programs, guide academic advising, and inform programs for incoming first-years.

Fall 2017 results

In Fall 2017, BCSSE was completed by 733 (93%) of the 791 incoming first-year students. Results suggest that incoming first-years performed well academically during high school and have similar expectations for St. Olaf. They are expecting an extremely social college experience and want to be exposed to various types of diversity.

BCSSE questionnaire (Fall 2017)

BCSSE Respondent Characteristics

Gender, race/ethnicity, first-generation status, and other information about BCSSE participants

BCSSE Item Results

Frequencies and percentages of first-years’ responses to each item on the BCSSE questionnaire

BCSSE Mean Scale Scores

Results for five composite scales: high school academic engagement; expected first-year academic engagement, persistence, and difficulty; perceived academic preparation; and the importance of campus environment.