What is an Alumni?

In University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Alumni is probably a term you have come across quite frequently. Going to university exposes you to many new terms, which you may not be familiar with! Alumni can definitely be seen as a new term and you may wonder what it means.  It is important to familiarise yourself with new words which you may encounter at university. Therefore, it is essential that you know what this term means!

The term alumni refers to former students who have graduated from a university. When you graduate from university, you can become part of the alumni association for your institution. This allows you to maintain a connection between yourself and the place from where you graduated. The singular of ‘alumni’ is ‘alumnus’, which originates from the latin word for ‘nourished’. Thus, the term implies that education is nourishing to a person.

If you want to discover what this strange term actually means, carry on reading!

What is an alumni student?

The dictionary defines an alumnus as ‘a male graduate or a former student of a school, college or university’. This definition can be found on the Free Dictionary website, if you click here. Although this is the traditional definition, in everyday use, the words ‘alumnus’ and ‘alumni’ are often considered gender-neutral terms.

When students graduate, they are referred to as alumni. This term acts as a synonym for the word ‘graduate’. You may even have heard these ex-students referred to as an ‘old-boy’ or an ‘old-girl’.

Becoming part of alumni can allow previous students to be involved in something called an ‘alumni association’ for their university.

This involves bringing students together in order to maintain a connection with their university and fellow graduates. More information about alumni associations can be found on the Southern New Hampshire university website, if you click here.

This means that after you graduate, you are still seen as part of the university. This can be seen as a positive thing because it creates a sense of belonging.

This is especially advantageous if you enjoy university! If you are wondering whether you would enjoy going to university, check out this article from Think Student, to help you decide if it would be the right choice for you.

What is the difference between alumni and alumnus?

The words alumni and alumnus can often be mixed up because they sound so similar. However, you need to be aware of the key differences between them.

Alumni refers to a group of male or female graduates. In comparison, alumnus describes one male graduate.

Therefore, alumni is the plural form of the noun, whereas alumnus is the singular form of the noun. This means that alumni describes a group of graduate students, whereas alumnus only describes one singular graduate.

More information about this can be found on the Ask Any Difference website, if you click here.

Remember, you can go to university at any age. Therefore, these terms can refer to graduates of any age. Check out this article from Think Student to discover more about this.

Are you an alumni if you don’t graduate?

Certain schools have different perspectives of which students can be referred to as alumni. The definitions of ‘alumni’ and ‘alumnus’ both include the term ‘former students’.

This means that students who didn’t graduate but are former students of the institution could potentially be referred to by these terms.

More information about this, as well as the different ways to refer to graduates, can be found on the YourDictionary website if you click here. Some schools still refer to students who haven’t graduated as alumni and some don’t. However, this depends on each individual institution.

Why are alumni useful for universities?

Treating an institution’s alumni well can definitely be beneficial for the organisation! This is because it encourages these ex-students to spread good words about the university.

It also increases the likelihood that they will support the university financially, when they hopefully acquire high paying jobs. They can do this through making donations. Alumni also have the power to increase brand recognition through association.

I would encourage you to be an active part of the alumni. This is because it can allow you to maintain connections and the life-long friendships you should form at university.

If you are at university now and are struggling to make friends, then I encourage you to read this article from Think Student, which has plenty of advice on this topic and things you can try.

Being at university is not only about getting the degree you want, but also about making friends for life! Being part of the student alumni is definitely a great experience.

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