At American universities, numerous traditions take place that date back many years. Each university has its own unique traditions, in various forms and sizes. In this blog, we will tell you more about some of these significant traditions at American universities.


One of the most celebrated traditions at American universities is “homecoming.” It is an annual event where alumni return to their school. Often, homecoming coincides with a major American football game or a formal gala.

Game Day experience

Attending a sports event at an American university is completely different from a sports event in the Netherlands. It is not just about the sport and the game itself but also about the entire experience surrounding it. Students and university fans often gather outside the stadium hours before the game for elaborate tailgate parties. During a tailgate, people barbecue, play games, and enjoy drinks. In short, there is a lot of festive atmosphere and camaraderie.

Graduation ceremonies

The graduation ceremony is a significant event at most universities in America. Graduates are honored, and they get to receive their well-deserved diplomas. The ceremonies often take place in large stadiums to accommodate all friends and family members. Parents and relatives from all over the world fly in to attend this special moment. These graduation ceremonies are traditionally concluded with the iconic tossing of caps into the air.

Spring Break

Spring Break is a well-known tradition among American college students. During this vacation, students flock to popular destinations, such as Florida or Mexico.

Rivalry between different universities

Many American universities have a historic rivalry with other universities, especially in the realm of sports. Games between rival teams are often followed with great enthusiasm and pride by students, alumni, and supporters. An example of two rival universities is Harvard University and Yale University. Since 1875, an annual football game takes place between the schools in November. This game is also referred to as “The Game.”

In addition to the more well-known and relatively common traditions that take place at almost every university in America, there are, of course, several traditions that are specific to only one university in the country. Below, we will also highlight some of these unique traditions.

Birthday dunk

Usually, birthdays are celebrated with festive gatherings or a delightful dinner at a nice restaurant. However, if you’re a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, your birthday takes a different turn. For many years, there has been a tradition of dunking the birthday person into the fountain. What makes this tradition unique is that it can happen at any time of the day. You can be pulled out of bed, snatched from the dining hall, or even interrupted during class. Even former President Obama, who is an alumnus of Occidental, almost fell victim to this tradition in the past.

Baker House Piano Drop

Since 1972, students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been dropping a piano from the roof once a year. The event takes place on Drop Day, which is the last day for students to drop their classes for the spring semester. It’s quite a literal interpretation of the term “dropping.” It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. You can check out the video footage of the event here.

The mini 500 (Georgia Tech)

The Mini 500 is an annual tricycle race held at Georgia Tech University. The event has been organized since 1969 and takes place every year on the Friday afternoon before the Homecoming American Football game. Teams, consisting of seven members (four racers and three pit crew members), must race eight laps on “Peter’s Parking Deck.” Each team is required to change their front tire three times during the race, usually after the second, fourth, and sixth laps. All teams aim to complete all eight laps as quickly as possible without damaging their tricycle. Fun footage is guaranteed, check it out below.


The THON weekend is a 46-hour non-stop dance marathon that takes place every year in February at Penn State University. The marathon is held for a charitable cause, with the majority of the proceeds going to the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports the fight against pediatric cancer. THON has raised over $114 million for this cause since the tradition began in 1977.

The above traditions are just a small selection from the rich history of American traditions, and there are many more to discover. If you want to experience these college traditions up close and become a student-athlete, please fill out this form, and we will gladly get in touch with you to discuss your options.