Alumni vs Alumnus: Difference and Comparison

Often, people tend to confuse alumni with an alumnus. In some instances, they sound the same while they may seem very different in others.

Nonetheless, there is a definite difference between the two worlds, and knowing the differences can help out on certain occasions and avoid any confusion.

Alumni and Alumnus are two words that are often used interchangeably but do have a distinct difference. This article looks at the difference between the two words and identifies when they should be used.

Key Takeaways

  1. “Alumni” is the plural form used to refer to a group of people who have graduated from a particular educational institution.
  2. “Alumnus” is the singular form, referring to a single male graduate, whereas “alumna” represents a single female graduate.
  3. Using the appropriate term when referring to graduates is essential for accurate communication and respecting their accomplishments.

Alumni vs Alumnus

Alumnus is a singular noun that refers to a male school or university graduate. For example, John is an alumnus of MIIT University. Alumnus is a plural noun that refers to a group of graduates of a school or university, which can include both men and women. For example, The alums of MIIT University.


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Alumni vs Alumnus

Alumni is a plural word used to call all the former students/pupils of a school/college or university. The alums of a higher or secondary education place are the former students who attended the school.

They may be known as Old Boys or Old Girls, and they often keep ties with each other, meet regularly, and help support each other. These associations are organized into regional or national networks.

An alumnus is a former school, college, or university student. Alums are also referred to as old boys or old girls, and ex-students or graduates of the institution are often referred to as its alumni.

Treating an organization’s alums well can be a strategic advantage. It creates goodwill among the organization’s ex-members and encourages them to remain involved or support it financially.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAlumniAlumnus
DefinitionAlumni is a term used to describe a group of male or female graduates.One male graduate is referred to as an alumnus.
Grammatical formAlums may be utilized for a mixed-gender group or a group of guys.Alumnus is the masculine singular form.
ClassificationFormer MemberAlumnus is a term used to describe only a single graduate.
Alumna refers to female alumni, while Alumnae refers to a group of female alumni.Alumni is a term that refers to former members, workers, donors, or others associated with a particular educational institution.The term “alumnus” refers to a former male student member.  
Gender-specificAlumna refers to a female alumni, while Alumnae refers to a group of female alumni.Only male graduates are included in Alumnus.

What is Alumni?

Alums is the plural form of the Latin noun alumnus, a student who attends a school, college, or university. It was initially for the masculine gender, but it can also be used for females.

The word comes from the Latin roots al- (“away from”) and -minus (“gift”).

The use of “alum” to refer to a single former student is less common and would be understood by fewer people. In that sense, it is similar to the term “old boy,” which refers specifically to former male students.

Alumni may also refer to an individual’s association with an institution, whether they are a past or present student or perhaps a staff member.

It is often used as a Latinate synonym for such terms as graduate and old boy or old girl, e.g., “He studied at the university between 2005 and 2009 before taking up his current position as alumnus.”

Alum relations are essential to colleges and universities because they provide financial support through donations and help to increase brand recognition through association.

Alums also serve as mentors and role models for current students.


What is Alumnus?

An alumnus is a male or female school graduate, although the term is used in the case of specific colleges and universities for former students who have graduated.

Taken directly from the Latin word “alumnus,” meaning “nourished,” the term was first used in the 1600s to describe a school-bred person. By the 1700s, it was used to describe those who contributed financially to their alma mater. 

In 18th-century England, it also became associated with schools that churches ran, as many religious schools took in orphans and poor children.

After World War II, the word gained popularity in the United States when soldiers returned home from war and began attending college on the G.I. bill.

In today’s society, alums are most commonly recognized for their contributions to their school through fundraising activities and philanthropy.

Alum members often organize reunions for themselves and other alums who have graduated in recent years. 

These reunions can take anywhere from 10 to 30 years after graduation, depending on how long the graduate left the institution.


Main Differences Between Alumni and Alumnus 

  1. Alumni is a term that refers to a group of male or female graduates, whereas alumni refers to a single male graduate.
  2. Alums is the masculine plural form of the noun, while Alumnus is the male singular form.
  3. It can be used for mixed-gender or male-only groups, while Alumnus is reserved for single male graduates.
  4. Alumni are used for the particular educational institution, former members, employees, contributors, or others associated with a specific educational institution. And The word “alumnus” is used for an individual male graduate. 
  5. Alumna is a female alumni, Alumnae is a group of female alumni, and Alumnus has only male graduates.
Difference Between Alumni and Alumnus
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