Monday, May 31, 2010

Survey Leaves a Majority of Students Asking, “What is the K Plan?”

Kalamazoo College’s K Plan, known primarily as four essential aspects that embody the “K Experience” (the liberal arts curriculum, internships/externships, study abroad, and the Senior Individualized Project), seemingly have much more emphasis placed upon it during recruiting efforts than once students are actually paying money for it.

Our findings demonstrated that over half of K students cannot name two out of four parts of the plan, and 33% of students didn’t know what the K Plan was at all. This may be due to the fact that 71% of students surveyed had not discussed the K Plan with their adviser this year, which could explain the lack of awareness students have regarding it. Even if prospective students are constantly told about the K Plan they will soon forget it if it is never mentioned again.

However, when we examined the four parts of the K Plan individually, satisfaction seemed to be par for the course, as seen in the graph below, and the overall satisfaction with Kalamazoo College received an average score of 7.38 on a ranking scale of 1-10 - showing that while the college is not in trouble when it comes to student satisfaction, it definitely has room for improvement.

Delving further into the concept of the K Plan, we discovered that only between 31% and 54% of all sophomores, juniors, and seniors have participated in an internship or externship. While this statistic may seem impressive upon first inspection, we would like to remind readers that internships/externships are one of the major components of the K Plan and that it is interesting that maybe less than half of all students ever engage in one of the “corner stone” achievements Kalamazoo College is supposed to provide.

The K Plan does provide a comprehensive educational experience that surely benefits the students that comes to Kalamazoo College. However, if the college wishes to use this as a marketing tool, it would be in their interest to carry the image of the K Plan throughout the college experience in order for students to identify with the program that is, in one way or another, shaping their lives. The K Plan is as unique as the students it is guiding through college – it is up to the college to make sure it isn’t kicked to the wayside once that first check comes in.

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