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Articles / Applying to College / Does Contact With Departments Beyond Admissions Count Toward "Demonstrated Interest?"

Does Contact With Departments Beyond Admissions Count Toward "Demonstrated Interest?"

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Aug. 19, 2019
Does Contact With Departments Beyond Admissions Count Toward "Demonstrated Interest?"

I am applying to college soon and I am not able to visit a lot of the schools on my list. Some school websites list "demonstrated interest" as being important in their decisions, so I'm trying to stay in contact with them. Do other college departments share information with admissions? For instance, if I've been in touch with the golf coach or the head of the Education department, will they tell admissions about that and will it count as demonstrated interest? Or do I need to be directly in touch with the admissions office?

Admission officials understand that many students can't visit campus, and they won't hold it against you, as long as the campus isn't an easy trip from home. (More on that in a minute.)

This “Ask the Dean" column offers tips on what you can do to prove your love to your target colleges when you can't do it in person. Note also that, within this column, you'll find a link to yet another “Ask the Dean" with additional advice on “Making the Most of College Fairs When You Can't Get to Campus." Fairs can be a great way to connect directly with admissions staffers ... often the people who will actually be deciding your fate. And, as you'll see when you read these two articles, your first step should be to connect with your regional admissions rep via email so that you can explain that, despite your enthusiasm for the school, your “touring" will be limited to your computer screen.

However, if a college is less than two or so hours from home, admission officials may be wary of your interest if you don't visit. Unless you're from a disadvantaged background or there are other extenuating circumstances that would make the trip difficult (such as physical disabilities) then you should try to find a way to go. If you've already ruled out your family car or public transportation as means to get there, perhaps you can tag along with a classmate who's heading that way for a day. If none of your friends fit the bill, ask your school counselor if she or he can refer you to other prospective visitors.

If you've contacted coaches, professors or anyone else on campus from afar, this can certainly show your interest, but don't count on the word getting back to the admission office. One thing we've all learned from the “Varsity Blues" scandal is that admission officials and coaches seem to communicate a lot these than one would expect! If you're an athletic recruit, then the admission committee should get your name from the coach. But this won't necessarily indicate that you're actually eager to enroll, and — if you aren't a top pick — the coach may not even mention you at all.

Likewise, if you exchange messages with faculty members or administrators, there's an outside chance that they will report these exchanges to the admissions office or even write a letter on your behalf, but few colleges have a protocol in place that requires notifying admissions following contact with a high school student. So it's up to you to relay such contact in an email to your regional rep. But, as noted in one of the “Ask the Dean" columns cited above, “ ... admission folks are busy and don't need new pen pals. Too many attempts to seem enthusiastic will merely make you seem annoying."

Thus, try to find a balance between demonstrating your interest and demonstrating your own good judgment by not overdoing it!


If you'd like to submit a question to College Confidential, please send it along here.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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