This is also a tale of two college-bound students. One wants to attend a college with a great football team to root for and the other wants to stay far away from any rah rah activities. Both are missing the bigger picture.
School spirit isn’t just about cheering for a favorite sports team. It’s about creating a strong bond that survives graduation. From enticing students to apply to facilitating alumni to become generous donors, both the institution and the individual have a huge stake in this continued relationship.
The more students are attached to their school, the greater their impetus to succeed and do their school proud. The more successful the college is in developing the skills and knowledge of it’s future graduates, the more likely the college reputation will increase. The better the school’s reputation (brand), the more students will want to apply, attend and graduate.
This is a list of some major school spirit benefits for both colleges and students:
- College brand grows
- Higher college ranking
- More students apply
- More alumni donate
- Greater research/business opportunities
- Pride in their school
- Greater prestige of diploma
- Higher self-esteem
- Better education and more motivation
- Alumni and others want to hire/do business with grads
Encouraging students who will thrive and become successful donors to the college and make notable achievements beyond the campus is a win/win for both.
So I tell the student who wants to be a fan that it is essential to also fan what the college offers in programs, activities, location and opportunities to maximize the college experience.
Then I say to the apathetic student that college is about nurturing passions in learning to grow academically, socially, and financially so don’t miss out on what else the college offers. (It’s usually included in the college bill anyway.)
As students finalize their college lists, send in applications, and wait for admission offers, they can begin to really analyze what the college can do for them and what they can do for their college. They will soon realize the true importance of school spirit to college choice.