Completing the Senior Exit Survey: What Comes Next for Graduating Seniors?

College and Career Readiness

Although senior year traditions and celebrations may look different this spring, seniors across the country are still preparing for their lives after high school. Students are in the final months of planning before they embark on their next endeavors, whether that means enrolling in a four-year or two-year college, learning a trade, enlisting in the military, entering the workforce, or pursuing a gap year. Before students leave our (virtual) classrooms, the senior exit survey provides an opportunity for educators to better understand their intended plans and gain insights to improve postsecondary planning going forward.

Each year, RISE high schools administer this survey to all seniors prior to graduation. The purpose of the survey is to better understand students’ plans after high school, as well as their experiences and perceptions of postsecondary supports. Additionally, these surveys can help to identify which in-school supports have been most helpful for students and when students begin to think about their postsecondary goals. RISE partner schools have used the information and results collected in past surveys in a number of ways, positioning them to do the following:

  • Identify any last-minute supports for seniors without clear postsecondary plans.
  • Celebrate seniors’ individual plans at Senior Signing Day events.
  • Provide an opportunity for seniors to share the requisite information to receive text message support over the summer (learn more here). This has proved helpful in preventing summer melt. Summer melt occurs when students apply and earn admission to college, but fail to complete the enrollment process by hitting key milestones like submitting financial aid forms and health documents, or taking certain placement exams during the summer months between high school and college.
  • Understand broad trends for a given class, as well as how these trends evolve over time.
  • Gain deeper insights on the postsecondary planning process from students to engage in improvement cycles related to college and career readiness.

RISE supports partner schools in administering a senior exit survey in early May and completing data collection by mid to late May. RISE provides a recommended senior exit survey that draws upon other evidence-based surveys used across the country. Our survey questions can be integrated with existing surveys, or implemented as-is, depending on a school’s preferences. If you’re a RISE educator beginning to plan your school’s senior exit survey, please work with your RISE school support team around planning and logistics!