One story-line that pops up frequently this time of year is the idea that a school that does well in the NCAA tournament will see an increase in application numbers, or in the number of students enrolling. This is popularly known as the Flutie Effect, after Doug Flutie of Boston College, whose dramatic game-winning Hail Mary pass in a 1984 game has been credited with raising the college’s profile among applicants and leading to a dramatic increase in applications.
A 2009 study by economists Jaren and Devin Pope suggested that participating in the NCAA basketball tournament does translate into higher undergraduate application rates the following year: a 1% increase for teams that make the tournament, 3% for teams that make the Sweet 16, 4-5% for teams that make the Final 4, and up to 7-8% for the champion.
A 2013 working paper by Doug Chung at HBS also explored the relationship between college athletics and applications, and found that applications do rise at schools that experience success in basketball and football. Chung regards athletic success as a form of advertising for universities.
Is athletic success a factor in your decision-making process?
If you’re applying to graduate school, are you interested in a field related to athletics, such as sports management or marketing, or sports medicine? Were those interests shaped by your experience of intercollegiate athletics? Let us know!
By Dr. Rebecca Blustein, Accepted.com consultant since 2008, former Student Affairs Officer at UCLA’s Scholarship Resource Center, and author of the ebook, Financing Your Future: Winning Fellowships, Scholarships and Awards for Grad School. Dr. Blustein, who earned her Ph.D. at UCLA, assists our clients applying to MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs. She is happy to assist you with your grad school applications.
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