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As the Class of 2012 finished their last semester as undergraduates, MIT administered to all seniors the online Senior Survey, asking them to reflect on their experience at MIT and their plans for the future. MIT conducts a senior survey once every two years. Of the 1046 seniors this year, 72.8 percent responded to the survey (“answered at least one question”).

According to the survey, 38 percent expressed being “very satisfied” with their overall undergraduate education, with 49.7 percent “generally satisfied”, 2.6 percent “generally dissatisfied”, and only 0.1 percent “very dissatisfied”.

Student perceptions of faculty availability, instruction, and support opinions were mostly overwhelmingly favorable, with 56.5 percent being “very satisfied” and an additional 35.5 percent “generally satisfied” with “opportunities to participate in research with a faculty member.” In fact, 87.8 percent of respondents reported that they participated in research with a faculty member at some point while at MIT.

However, the main outlier regarding academic experience was about “academic advising before declaring a major,” where 32.2 percent were generally dissatisfied, 11.5 percent were very dissatisfied, 41.9 percent were generally satisfied, and only 14.5 percent were very satisfied.

On matters of campus services and facilities — such as athletic facilities, library resources, counseling and health services, housing, security, and laboratories — the Class of 2012 responded largely positively. But 50.1 percent were dissatisfied with the “administration’s responsiveness to student concerns,” and 63.9 percent were dissatisfied with MIT’s food services. Responses to extracurricular opportunities, intellectual excitement, social environment, and other aspects of campus life were also all generally positive — with the exception that 55.9 percent were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with student government.

The senior survey results also indicated that students felt MIT helped develop skills like thinking critically, understanding and using quantitative reasoning, creating original ideas and solutions, and ability to learn on their own. On more qualitative skills, however, they rated development in writing, leadership skills, resolving interpersonal conflicts, developing self-esteem and self-confidence, and placing current problems in historical/cultural/philosophical perspectives much lower. Most noticeably, 48.5 percent of respondents reported that since entering MIT, they have undergone very little or no improvement in reading or speaking foreign languages, which can likely be attributed to MIT’s lack of a foreign language requirement.

Another 74.6 percent agreed that they have found a balance between academics and extracurriculars. 22.8 percent reported that during the fall term of senior year, they spent no time on physical fitness. Throughout their time as an undergraduate, 70.7 percent of respondents received some sort of financial aid from MIT.

Plans for the future

As of the time of the Senior Survey, 46.7 percent of seniors expected to remain in Massachusetts this fall, followed by 20 percent going to California and 7.8 percent going to New York. Of those who expected to be employed, engineering, computer science/technology, consulting, and financial services encompassed the largest percentages, with 25.8 percent, 17.4 percent, 15.1 percent, and 10 percent respectively.

The MIT Global Education & Career Development (GECD) is conducting a separate survey that has now been open for three weeks. According to Associate Director of MIT Career services Deborah L. Liverman, the results as of last Wednesday (at which point 50 percent of seniors had responded) indicated that 52 percent of the Class of 2012 will be working, and 38 percent will be attending graduate school. Additionally, 4 percent are enrolling in another educational program (such as a second bachelors degree or a post-baccalaurate premedical program), 1 percent are on distinguished fellowships, and 4 percent reported “other,” which included traveling, postponing their employment search, or being otherwise undecided. Of the 52 percent going to work, 82 percent had accepted an offer at the time of their response. The GECD survey will remain open until the end of August.