Frequently Asked Questions

The list below contains answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. 

For definitions of common terms used in Student Outcomes, see the Glossary.

To see an overview of BC Student Outcomes, check out:  
BC Student Outcomes: An Introduction to B.C.'s Post-Secondary Student Surveys

Still have questions? Please visit our Contact Us page.


What are the annual surveys and why are they conducted?

There are currently four student groups being surveyed annually:

  • Baccalaureate Graduates
  • Diploma, Associate Degree, and Certificate Students
  • Apprenticeship Students
  • Trades Foundation and Trades-Related Vocational Students
  • Former students are asked a series of questions related to their educational experiences, subsequent employment and further education. The information they provide helps shape the future of the post-secondary education system in this province and is used in a variety of ways by a number of organizations. For example, the results help colleges, universities, and institutes to develop and improve their programs and enhance their curriculums. Career counsellors use the information to help current and prospective students map their career paths, while the provincial government requires it for accountability purposes and labour market analysis.


    Who collects Student Outcomes data?

    The BC Student Outcomes team at BC Stats manages the collection and distribution of information from former post-secondary students on behalf of the BC Student Outcomes Research Forum (the Forum). The Forum represents the interests of the ministry responsible for post-secondary education and all of the participating post-secondary institutions.


    How is the privacy of survey respondents' answers protected?

    The collection and dissemination of student outcomes data is conducted in compliance with the Statistics Act and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation. One of the benefits of collecting information under these acts is that we can assure respondents that their privacy will be protected. All the information collected is used for statistical and research purposes only and is shared with the participating organizations under the provisions of Information Sharing Agreements, which ensure confidentiality and place limits on the data that can be shared. When survey results are published, individual answers are combined so no one can be identified.


    What kinds of questions are former students asked?

    Former students are asked a series of questions about their employment and any further education they have taken since leaving their post-secondary programs. They are also asked for specific feedback on many aspects of the programs and courses they took and to assess their level of satisfaction with their overall educational experience. In addition, there are questions on topics such as student finances or further education that may not appear every year.

    Questionnaires for the annual surveys can be found on our Publications page.


    I'm a former student. Why should I respond to one of these surveys?

    Your feedback is important! By communicating your experiences, you help institutions improve the experience of future B.C. post-secondary students. Results provide information that institutions use to improve the programs and respond to student concerns. For the data to be useful at the program level—where real change can be made—it is essential that we maximize the number of respondents so we can have confidence in the results.


    How is information from the Student Outcomes surveys used?

    • For evaluation and program improvement - Program staff at institutions and the provincial government use the data to change or develop programs, and labour market analysts use the data to assess the supply of and demand for labour in British Columbia.
    • For accountability purposes - Student outcomes data provide important information on the state of the post-secondary education system in British Columbia. The data support the development of key performance indicators, which are used by the provincial government to assess the effectiveness of the post-secondary education system.
    • For making knowledgeable choices - Information about the outcomes of former students and their opinions on the quality of post-secondary education programs are important resources for prospective students. High school and college counsellors use outcomes information to help students plan their education and their careers. Employment and training counsellors use the data to support recommendations for funding educational and training programs for their clients.


    How is BC Student Outcomes information useful for post-secondary students in British Columbia?

    The information can be very useful for students— future, present, and former—to help them make key decisions about their academic and career paths. For instance, if a student is currently enrolled in a health program at a British Columbia university, college, or institute, they can view the employment rate and median hourly wage for former students of health programs, as well as learn how satisfied their peers were with the education they received. This and other information can help students decide whether to seek employment as soon as they graduate or pursue further educational opportunities.


    What is the Dashboard?

    The Dashboard provides the public with a graphical overview of high-level results from the three BC Student Outcomes surveys. Information is available by survey, by institution, by program group, and by program name, allowing users to see results for specific programs.


    I'm an institutional researcher at a participating institution. How can I access data?

    Please contact the director or manager of your institutional research office, or contact a Student Outcomes manager for more information.