2018 Well-Being Survey Report

The Report on the 2018 Columbia Student Well-Being Survey guided and inspired collective efforts to enhance the experience of every Columbia student.

Highlights from the findings are on this page.

Want to see the full report? Download it here

About the 2018 Columbia Student Well-Being Survey

  • The inaugural Columbia Student Well-Being Survey was administered in Spring 2018. 
  • The overall participation rate ranged from 22-51% of students, depending on the school, with an average participation of 28% (8,300 students). 
  • Based on the findings from the 2018 Survey, Columbia introduced several new programs and initiatives, including creating Columbia Welcome, extending Wellness Days, and welcoming an inaugural Vice President of Student Affairs in the Office of University Life. 

Key Takeaways from the Report on the 2018 Columbia Student Well-Being Survey:

Connection and Belonging
  • Friendships, interactions with faculty and academic classes and projects all play a significant role in helping students feel connected and a part of the Columbia community (see pp. 8-10).
  • Many students are also aware and make use of campus resources that support their well-being (p. 10).
  • At the same time, the data show that there continue to be real concerns and needs (pp. 10-11). This will guide additional efforts to support all students in their sense of connection and belonging.
Mental Health and Wellness
  • The percentage of Columbia students who reported experiencing mental health and wellness challenges, including sleep difficulties (p. 14) and challenges with focusing and concentration (p. 14), as well as heightened symptoms of anxiety (p. 15) and depression (p. 15), is consistent with national data.
  • A small percentage of this population is at high-risk for significant mental health challenges, which is also consistent with national trends.
  • This underscores the need for additional research and support in this area. At the same time, students generally scored high on the "flourishing scale" (p. 17), a validated measure of psycho-social well-being.
Sexual Respect and Gender-Based Misconduct
  • The vast majority of Columbia students have knowledge of essential information related to consent and gender-based misconduct and are aware of the resources available to them (pp. 18-20).
  • About a quarter of students reported having experienced some form of gender-based misconduct prior to coming to Columbia (p. 20); this is important because research shows that prior experience of sexual assault is a risk factor for future occurrences.
  • The percentage of students who reported experiencing incidents of gender-based misconduct at Columbia is low (pp. 21-23), relative to national data, but still requires ongoing attention.

The Lasting Impact of the 2018 Survey Findings

  • Created Columbia Welcome, a program to welcome new and returning students to campus during the first two weeks of the Fall semester. 

  • Extended Wellness Days throughout the year to provide more opportunities to take a break, practice self-care and to promote University-wide student resources. 

  • Invested in various resources to support student financial well-being, including the Food Pantry at Columbia and Columbia.iGrad.com, a financial wellness and literacy platform that's free for all students and helps them budget, manage student loans and learn about all aspects of personal finance. 

  • Welcomed Joseph Greenwell, the inaugural Vice President of Student Affairs in the Office of University Life. Dr. Greenwell works to holistically improve student well-being and the student experience across Columbia. 

  • Expanded the Graduate Initiative for Inclusion and Engagement to provide a new Graduate Welcome event, success workshops, hangouts and our signature Diversity, Dialogue, and Dinner series. 

  • Hosted more Campus Conversations events for students with opportunities to connect across differences about issues of importance. 

  • Grew the Sexual Respect Ambassador program to support greater student engagement within the Sexual Respect and Community Citizenship Initiative. 

  • Offered a new required briefing on sexual harassment for all faculty and staff to create an environment free from discrimination and harassment. 

Survey Partners

The 2018 Student Well-Being Survey could not have been successful without the support of our campus partners and the contributions of our dedicated Student Ambassadors.