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We're All Ears #2: Settling In

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Student opinion is at the heart of MSU’s work planning and enhancement processes and is integral to informing how the Union can improve the quality of everything they do. Student surveys form a robust statistical evidence base for making decisions on how to best prioritise resources to have the most positive impact on the student body

The ‘We’re All Ears’ initiative was established to learn more about how students engage with their Students’ Union, University, studies and welfare. These surveys aim to gain insight into how students are engaging with college life and highlight opportunities or areas of concern. This particular survey set out to gauge the wellbeing of the student body and their satisfaction levels with various areas so far this Academic Year.

Download the Full Survey Report.


  • Financial Challenges (59%), Heavy College Workload (56%), Time Spent Commuting (44%) and Mental Health Problems (39%) and Employment Problems (33%) were identified as the Top 5 factors impacting negatively on the college experience.
  • Mental Health Problems show a 6 point drop from the Summer Student Opinion Survey (45%>39%).
  • 90% Positive Awareness Rate for Union services.
  • 54% want to be more involved with the Union (become a REP etc.). Up 4 points on Summer Student Opinion Survey (50%>54%).
  • 81% agree that the SU is concerned with their wellbeing. Up 2 points on Summer Student Opinion Survey (79%>81%).
  • 80% would like to be more involved in extra-co-curricular activities on campus.
  • 40% often have the feeling they don’t belong on their course.
  • 27% often have the feeling they don’t belong in Maynooth University. Up 4 points on Summer Student Opinion Survey (23%>27%).
  • 28% have seriously considered leaving Maynooth University.
  • If we treated the respondents as one person, averaging out their responses, they would score 12 on the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index. This indicates poor wellbeing and the possibility of screening for depression.*


This survey collected complete and viable data from 211 Maynooth students across all faculty and year levels. The sample size of 211 out of a population of 11689 gives a maximum margin of error of 5.5% with a confidence level of 90%. Given the sample size the results should be viewed as an opinion poll rather than a fully representative survey. It is also worth noting that a high number of First Year students responded compared to other years. Students were invited to participate in the survey via social media invitation. Data collection took place from October 30 to November 02, 2018.

* Concerning the WHO-5 Wellbeing Index:The 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) is among the most widely used questionnaires assessing subjective psychological well-being. Itis a short questionnaire consisting of 5 simple and non-invasive questions, which tap into the subjective well-being of the respondents. The scale has adequate validity both as a screening tool for depression and as an outcome measure in clinical trials and has been applied successfully across a wide range of study fields.

This Index would usually be applied on a personal scale, so caution should be applied when applying average scores from a sample. The score of 12 is also a borderline result and within the margin of error. As such, the result should be regarded as an indication of general wellbeing across the sample and not a scientific representation.

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