Loyola Chicago Ramblers. Michigan Wolverines. Villanova Wildcats. Kansas Jayhawks. What do these schools have in common? Well, for one, they made it to the Final Four Championship. But there’s something else they will soon share: an application bump.

Link Between Basketball Scores and Application Numbers

According to a recent analysis based on research from Bloomberg and conducted by the Department of Education, colleges and universities that exceed their expectations for March Madness receive extra awareness and higher application numbers. The data points out several upsets and the correlating application bump, including Florida Gulf Coast’s 2013 advancement to the Sweet Sixteen that resulted in a 27.3 percent increase in applications.

It’s not just upsets that get attention. Bloomberg’s data shows that the further along schools make it into March, the more interest they get. The quantity of applications increases and so does the quality. A 2013 study from Marketing Science found that when schools achieve athletic prestige, applications increase from both high-achieving students and students with lower SATs. When these lower SAT students see others who have flourished at the school, they can envision the same for themselves.

March Madness is Good for the Bottom Line

As for interest in the school, the impact does not disappoint. Immediately following a win, social media mentions skyrocket. Twitter followers and Facebook impressions soar. Traffic to the schools’ websites significantly increases.

Attention is widespread, with schools gaining awareness in parts of the country where they normally wouldn’t be recognized. And, we can’t forget that March Madness as a whole is good for the higher education sector. Sales of college apparel spikes as do royalties from licensed sales.

What Sports Performance Means for Your School

In the grand scheme of things, only a few colleges make it into the NCAA. Even fewer advance into March and get noticed. So, why does all this talk about sports performance make a difference for your school?

While athletics are something that some prospective students consider, most do not. That said, all students look for a school that will give them a great all-around experience. They want to know that there will be opportunities for involvement and advancement. A great sports team sends the message that a school has an active community and a great spirit.

Whether it’s an impressive golf team or an acknowledged swim team, use your school’s athletic performance to create awareness. It’s an excellent way to invite people into your higher institution and drive up application numbers.