Alumni Surveys: Looking to the Past to Find the Best Path Forward for Your Independent School

By Daniel Chiat, Vice President, Measuring Success

As schools look forward to the 2018-19 school year, it might seem premature to reach out to alumni. But checking in with recent grads is a great way to enhance a lifelong relationship. It is also a good time to check in with older alumni. Alumni surveys are a great tool, not only for accreditation purposes, but for generating insights into future institutional improvements. In addition, a focused, validated assessment tool for alumni can help your school:

  • Collect information on the current academic and career status. This information can be useful for recruiting new students and reassuring parents that their child is in the right place.
  • Determine whether alumni have an interest in becoming supporters of the school. They can be a great networking choice as an ambassador for the school, or for future financial support.
  • Gather real data on alumni perceptions from rating teachers and facilities to understand the long-term value of extracurricular activities.
  • Stay current/make improvements to the college admissions process.

Survey Methodology

All surveys are conducted online. We work to make the survey long enough to get you the information you need to be useful and informative, but short enough to be completed to best suit the time constraints of busy alumni. In addition, we strive to get high response rates so that the data collected is statistically significant to report back to schools. To ensure that we have a high response rate, we may include incentives for respondents (something small that is appealing, but not prohibitively expensive). While we typically have the best response rates from those students who view your school the most favorably, we attempt to get to a cross section of former students so that you can gauge what you are doing wrong as well as what you are doing right. An alumni survey shouldn’t just be about praising your efforts but giving you meaningful feedback so that you can make changes that improve the educational experience for current and future students, and your reputation in the community.

Survey Design

As a company focused on data-driven solutions in the independent school sector, Measuring Success has significant experience in the practice of quantitative measurement. We know the questions to ask, year-over-year to not only look at historic trends, but to help you forecast solutions when those trends aren’t going in the right direction. A solid survey depends on many factors (some of which are difficult to predict when first attempting to develop a survey). We have produced alumni surveys for scores of independent schools, giving us a proven track record for administering survey instruments to your most critical audiences (alumni, parents, students, and faculty).

What Can We Do with the Information?

You don’t want a survey that you stick in a drawer and never look at again. That is a waste of your money and our time. To that end, we help your school with post-survey recommendations, based not only on survey outcomes, but also what has been successful for other schools. We present the information in dashboards that allow you to compare variables over the long term. We conclude our efforts with a consultation to present the results but also include a web-based training so that the right people on your team can learn to interpret the results, then work toward better outcomes. We include information for participating alumni and preferences on how they want to engage with your school.


After the initial consultation with your team, we take approximately four weeks to formulate the survey (adding custom questions to our Alumni Survey template), push the survey out to your alumni, collect and analyze the responses, and report back to you. From there, you can make necessary adjustments in the coming school year. In addition, as year-end fundraising efforts kick off, you’ll have an idea of top prospects and messaging.

To learn more or begin a no-cost consultation, contact Daniel Chiat.

Daniel Chiat works with independent schools and faith-based groups, helping them achieve data-driven sustainability. Prior to his work with Measuring Success, he spent three years at Accenture doing technology delivery and project management. Daniel graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Economics.