Increasingly, colleges across the country are seeking innovative and cost-effective strategies to boost on-campus student recruitment and retention. With factors such as declining enrollment, an increase in popularity of distance education and other barriers to success for institutions nationwide, it is now more important than ever for university officials to stand out from the competition.
College archery is a solution, not only for retaining students already enrolled, but for recruiting new students to campus.
Recently, the 2019 National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) National Tournament attracted nearly 20,000 archers in Grades 4-12. NASP® is just one of many organizations offering youth archery that is building a robust pipeline of student-athletes nationwide. By the time many of these archers have reached an age where they are applying to colleges, they have been participating in the sport for a decade or more, and they are excited about the prospects of collegiate archery, including national recognition and elite competitions.
Whether your institution is aiming to meet its goal of increased recruitment, retention or both, understanding the benefits of the sport of archery and the characteristics of many participants can help accomplish these goals.
Many instructors and coaches report that participating in the sport of archery can lead to increased focus, self-confidence and overall academic improvement. In a stressful environment like college, with the rigors of academics, archery is widely reported to be a cathartic activity with physical, emotional and mental benefits. In addition, it is widely reported archery can be a niche for students who do not have an interest in participating in more traditional team sports.
Not only is archery a lifetime sport that can be introduced at any age, it is a sport that is accessible for both able-body and archers with disabilities. Archery is truly unique in that age, physical ability, gender and other traits that may prevent someone from excelling, or even participating in a different sport, can allow an individual to flourish in the sport of archery.
Furthermore, archery can be a relatively low-cost sport to implement, and it can be conducted in existing recreational spaces such as gyms, soccer fields and baseball fields.
Nationwide, over 90 colleges and universities are offering archery as a student organization, club or varsity sport, with new programs being continuously added. Institutions are recognizing the high-caliber students this activity can attract and also seeing the level of interest that can be generated on-campus from first-time archers falling in love with the sport and developing a new passion.
Being equipped with this knowledge can help university officials as they make key decisions on what programs to fund. Don’t miss out; take action today and start a collegiate archery program.