It’s finally spring time! According to the College Board, most high school students take the SAT for the first time in the spring of their junior year. But how does a student choose which institutions to send their scores to? An article from the Journal of Sports Economics entitled “Understanding College Application Decisions: Why College Sports Success Matters” found that the success of a college’s sports team may be a driving influence.
Using a unique, national data set that indicates where students choose to send their SAT scores, the authors find that college sports success has a large impact on student application decisions. For example, a school that has a stellar year in basketball or football on average receives up to 10% more SAT scores. Certain demographic groups (males, Blacks, out-of-state students, and students who played sports in high school) are more likely to be influenced by sports success than their counterparts. The authors explore the reasons why students might be influenced by these sporting events and present evidence that attention/accessibility helps explain these findings.