SUMMER SESSION STUDY
MILLS CONSULTING GROUP
1038 Ashbury Drive
Decatur, Georgia 30030
As part of their efforts to build attendance during the Summer Session, the Office of Undergraduate
Education and Enrollment Services are interested in gathering some relevant data/insights from
students. Hence, the following objectives were established:
• Develop a better understanding of the attitudes towards and perceptions of Summer Session
across relevant target audiences:
- Students who have attended a Summer Session
- Students who have not attended a Summer Session
- Incoming freshmen for 2015 who were not required to attend Summer Session
• Determine factors that would increase students’ likelihood to attend Summer Session.
• Gauge interest in four (4) theme-based Summer Session concepts:
- Study Abroad-Type Experience
- Honors-Type Experience
- Real World Experience
- Incoming Freshmen Experience
• Better understand ways in which to communicate the Summer Session to students.
• 2,194 responses were returned (16.4% return rate). Of those surveys returned, 1,210 surveys
(9.1% response rate) were fully completed and used for subsequent analyses.
• Survey topics included:
- General attitudes/perceptions related to academics
- Reasons for not attending Summer Session
- Reasons for attending Summer Session
- Experience with Summer Session
- Likely to attend Summer Session
- Likely to recommend Summer Session
- Impact of factors (registration, finances, course schedule, social life, campus support) on
likelihood to attend
- Evaluation of theme-based concepts for Summer Session
- Suggestions to improve Summer Session
• For this study, statistical testing was conducted at the 90% level of confidence.
• The chart below reflects various margin of error rates at the 90% level of confidence based on a
range of sample sizes relevant to this report.
Sample Size Margin of Error
• Caution: Even if a metric used in this report has proven statistically significant in testing, it does
not necessarily mean that it is important or meaningful (for example, comparing data by colleges).
Such connotation must rely on the judgment of individuals who understand the relevant operating
unit and the issues being explored in the market research study.
General Attitudes/Perceptions of Academics
We observe a percentage of students (51%) whose goal is to get a degree in 4 years and a percentage of students
(45%) who believe it may be more desirable to take more than 4 years to graduate. Seven in ten of the students
surveyed (70%) feel “it would be nice to graduate in 4 years; however, it is more important to balance my academic
workload and personal life.”
Reasons for Not Attending Summer Session
There are a variety of reasons for not attending Summer Session:
• I usually have a summer job or internship (64%)
• I need a break from the normal school year, Fall/Spring Semester (42%)
• I don’t need to attend Summer Session in order to graduate on time (28%)
• I live out-of-state, out-of-country, or just too far away and I need to go home (28%)
• I can’t afford summer housing costs on or near campus (22%)
Reasons for Attending Summer Session
There are a variety of reasons for attending Summer Session. The top two reasons are (1) Not having a summer
job/internship or other obligations (48%) and (2) Looking to accelerate my graduation date or graduate in 4 years
• I did not have a summer job/internship or other obligations, so this option became viable (48%)
• I was looking to accelerate my graduation date or graduate in 4 years (42%)
• I am in the co-op program and want to stay on schedule (34%)
• I like the different campus environment during Summer Session (28%)
• I live in/near Atlanta and can take a few courses without paying extra for housing (26%)
These reasons (for attending or not attending) can be used in developing the proper messaging to induce enrollment
among students who have not participated.
Likely to Attend or Likely to Recommend Current Summer Session
Students who have been at Georgia Tech longer have higher recommend-to-attend percentage than students who are
more recently enrolled. This finding suggests that many of the “older” students have developed a perception that
attending Summer Session would have been (or has been) a valuable experience; that is, as the traditional 4-year
graduation date approaches (or has been missed), these students are able to have a somewhat different view of
Prior summer students have a more positive perception of Summer Session; higher recommend-to-attend percentage
than likely-to-attend-again percentage suggests that these students seek a variety of experiences during the summer
(for example, study abroad, job/internship, vacation).
Students who reside in Georgia (in metro Atlanta or outside Atlanta) have higher likelihood-to-attend and likelihood-to-
recommend percentages than other students.
Drivers of Quality of Summer Session Experience
Among current Summer Session students, four (4) factors emerged as key drivers impacting their experience:
• Quality of interaction with faculty/professors in the classroom
• Quality of interaction with faculty/professors outside the classroom
• Making the entire Summer Session experience something unique and different from the Fall and Spring terms
• Social life (opportunities to make friends, attend social functions)
The positive feedback on the Summer Session concepts (Likely to Attend rating and verbatims) could probably be
attributed to the degree to which the concept incorporates each of these four factors.
Factors That Could Increase Likelihood to Attend Summer Session
There are many individual factors that would increase the likelihood of students attending Summer Session, aside from
the four bundled concepts tested. Students show greater likelihood of attending Summer Session if issues are
addressed related to several key areas:
• Course availability;
• Registration process;
• Cost-of-attendance (e.g., tuition, discounts for housing, books, and food); and
• Course scheduling formats.
Perceptions of 4 Summer Session Concepts
Each of the four (4) Summer Session concepts has a positive perception among students; their Likely to Attend/Enroll
Rating is higher than the initial Likely to Attend Rating (based on perceptions of current Summer Session).
Summer students tend to have a higher Likely to Attend Rating for several of these concepts than other students (non-
participating students and incoming freshmen) do. Because of their first-hand experience with Summer Session,
summer students have a unique perspective on met and unmet needs.
Students who reside in Georgia have a higher Likely to Attend Rating for some concepts than other students (out-of-
state and international). However, international students show particularly high ratings for certain other concepts. Out-
of-state students give the lowest ratings for all concepts.
The concepts showing appeal across the largest number of demographic subgroups are:
(1) Real World Experience, and
(2) Study Abroad-Type Experience.
Descriptions of these concepts and target audiences for these concepts are provided on the next two pages.
Description of and Target Audiences for Real World Experience Concept
Through the Center for Career Discovery and Development, many students at GT have an opportunity to participate in
a co-op program, which provides academic credit for structured job experience. At this new Summer Session on the
GT campus, you will have the opportunity to be exposed to similar “real world” experiences without having to make a
long-term employment commitment, so as to support your career discovery and development. In addition to offering
traditional classes in the Short and Long Summer Session, GT will include other activities:
- Opportunities to have class visits to corporations and business settings
- Hold class discussions with corporate visitors
- Participate in case studies that reflect real corporate situations
These activities, features, and benefits are added to make your Summer Session a fun, enjoyable experience while
immersed in real world professional environments. This Summer Session will enable you to engage in a condensed
“co-op-style” experience and explore how your academic areas of interest fit with career opportunities.
Rated Highest Among 4 Concepts Rated Second Highest Among 4 Concepts
• Overall sample of survey participants
• Current students who have not previously attended summer school
• Incoming freshmen
• College of Engineering students
• College of Computing students
• Students who enrolled in 2013, 2014, or 2015
• Transfer students
• Non-transfer students
• Out-of-state students
• International students
• Male students
• Asian/Pacific Islander students
• Black/African American students
• Hispanic students
• Scheller students
• Ivan Allen students