football-557565_1280Can school spirit only be found on college campuses with football stadiums holding 100,000 spectators? After visiting more than 150 college campuses across the country, I can say with utmost certainty that school pride is alive and well on campuses from coast to coast no matter what their size or athletic conference.

Many mid-sized and small-sized colleges have coveted rivalries and traditions that are akin to schools ten times their size. The Lehigh vs. Lafayette football game is a prime example and is credited as college football’s most played rivalry. The pride and coveted traditions upheld by students and alumni are anything but small. But, school spirit is not just found in the football stadium. Long standing hockey rivals Colorado College and University of Denver have been facing off for over 56 years. Games are now played in Coors Field Stadium in Denver drawing crowds exceeding 35,000 on game day. Back East, Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University have a popular North Country hockey rivalry that warms the hearts and spirits of these Upstate NY fans.

School spirit can be found in many places outside of athletics too. Shared campus experiences and traditions are what bond students for decades to come. Middlebury College in Vermont celebrates winter’s snowy landscape with its three-day Winter Carnival. Snow sculptures, bonfires, fireworks, and a winter ball are just some of the non-athletic traditions found at the oldest student-run carnival in the country. Another coveted tradition is Carnegie Mellon’s Carnival, a weekend celebration that draws thousands of students, faculty and alumni. The highlight of the weekend is the 100-year-old “Buggy” competition, where campus organizations build and race soapbox like vehicles in a relay race. Perhaps the most common and popular tradition on college campuses across the country is the annual spring festival. It’s a great way to celebrate the nice weather and take a break before final exams with campus activities, food trucks and live music.

If a Big Ten University is your right college fit that’s great. But, if you’re looking for school spirit don’t limit your college search to a few big universities. Instead, explore the possibilities. In the end, college is about learning, making new friends and feeling at home. When the fit is right, enthusiasm and pride in your school comes naturally; that’s school spirit.


© 2016, Admissions on Track. All rights reserved.

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