College Scandals Impact

by Mass02026 on December 9, 2016 - 11:56pm

During the process of applying to college, students are greatly influenced by the media. One thing specifically that has been studied is the effect that media coverage of college scandals has on the amount of applications that particular school will receive the next year. Too much surprise a significant decline in applications was recorded. When negative information comes into the limelight, students are going to pay attention. Access to the media is literally at student’s fingertips. When students receive this kind of information they are very responsive.

Scandals on college campuses happen frequently and when they make it into the news they always become a big deal. These kinds of incidents range from cheating, to hazing, to rape. Recently there was a study conducted that investigated the impact media coverage of these scandals had upon the school. To start, a dataset of scandals that happened at the top 100 United States universities between 2001 and 2013 was created. Though the overall impact of scandals on college campuses seemed to be small, researchers discovered scandals that received high levels of media coverage lead to a ten percent drop in applications that university received the following year. The impact also was seen when the schools dropped roughly 10 spots in the US News and World Report college rankings. The study provided evidence on the role of the media in reaction to scandals and its lasting impacts on universities nation wide.  

The dataset consisted of the top 100 national universities measured by the U.S. News and World Report for 2015 to focus on colleges who tend to be more selective when drawing from a national pool of applicants (Luca, Rooney, Smith 2016). These specific applicants are more likely to consider a colleges attributes beyond its cost and location, as well these universities receive a lot of student and media attention. Researchers used Google searches of media content published online, specifically they typed the full college's name followed by a variety of scandals and picked ones with top coverage.

After discovering in fact there is a correlation that comes with extensive media coverage leading to decreasing numbers of applications, it can be seen that students really do care about the image their school has. These kinds of scandals not only provide information about the school, but also act as a deterrent since most colleges are unlikely to have another Luca, Rooney, Smith 2016). The impact media has isn’t only detrimental to college applications. Tiger Woods sex scandal let to a drop in the stock price of his corporate sponsors, specifically a decreased sale of Nike golf balls, who is one of Wood’s main sponsors (Luca, Rooney, Smith 2016). When applying to college applicants should consider the various effects of a scandal. Scandals provide information about a school, but has also been seen to act as a deterrent. A colleges is unlikely to have a second scandal in the following years, and universities are likely to implicate stricter rules for their students. As a result of colleges being more likely to receive fewer applications in the following year of an incident, fewer applications means those applying have a higher chance of getting in. 

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