Can Athletic Events Be a Tool for Admissions?

9.14.2017 »
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With colleges starting Fall classes, it’s also the start of something else – the Fall sports season. But how can admissions benefit from these events?

College Students At An Athletic Event

In early 2017, it was reported that 26 million people watched the college football national championship game,1 and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was the most-watched in 24 years2. With national coverage on these schools during the playoffs and tournaments, it’s no wonder that these schools would see benefits: increased admissions applications and overall awareness. Now, we know that not every college and university has this advantage. So, how can your school best utilize your athletic events or even intramural sports in your admissions efforts?

With most college sports being far less expensive to attend than their professional counterparts, many alumni and community members will choose to attend these events. This gives your school an opportunity to reach potential students in a setting other than a formal campus visit.

Get involved before the game.
If your school typically has a tailgate before a game, your admissions team should have a family-friendly booth/tent to engage with the crowd. You can pass out water, snacks, provide face-painting, etc. This is a great time for individual colleges within a university to shine. Be sure to promote any upcoming open houses, campus visit days or other events for potential applicants to attend.

Shine a spotlight on intramural sports.
Even if your school doesn’t have a large athletic department, intramural sports are another great way to show prospective students an authentic look at campus life and how to get involved at your school. Highlighting these on social media not only engages current students, but gives future students something to look forward to.

Take advantage of major events.
Homecoming is a time when many alumni bring their families back to their college campus. Host an event during the week or weekend prior to the “big game” for another opportunity to connect with potential applicants. Have a special campus tour or host a lunch event.

Include all sports in the action.
Besides football or basketball, your other sporting events like soccer, volleyball or tennis are other events you can get involved with. Having a special “future students” event at a soccer game can give these students another opportunity to see the campus beyond your typical tour and get a feel for your school’s culture. These are also great to highlight any additional benefits your school may have such as free tickets to students for home sporting events.

Utilizing athletic events in your recruitment marketing strategy will help your admissions team add another face-to-face interaction with your future students and show them an authentic, “inside” look at your school.

1 ESPN MediaZone


Interested in discussing other ideas for your recruitment marketing strategy? We'd love to talk! 

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