Demonstrated interest is a way that colleges and universities can gauge how serious applicants are about attending their school. As top colleges receive more and more applications, it has become more difficult for admissions committees to predict yield, or how many students will enroll. As a result, many schools seem to be placing more importance on applicants' demonstrated interest to ensure that they are offering admission to the students who are most likely to accept their offer. .
Not all schools consider demonstrated interest during the admissions process, and among schools that do consider it, the degree to which it is considered will vary. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s 2019 admission report, 40 percent of schools surveyed considered student’s demonstrated interest as moderately to considerably important. Here is a breakdown on the percentage of colleges attributing levels of importance to demonstrated interest in admission decisions:
Schools who factor demonstrated interest into their admissions process use it as a way to track how interested or dedicated a student is in attending that specific school. The ways you show demonstrated can vary based on your proximity to the school, financial limits, and other factors. Schools look for signs of serious interest in many ways, from campus visits, attending college fairs and virtual events, subscribing to school emails, and more.
Each school has different actions they look for, so there is no specific way to show a school that you are interested. However, there are a few common actions you can take to make sure that the schools you love know you're into them. Here are the top seven ways to show colleges that you're interested.
Connecting with a school on social media may seem like it will do nothing to help you, but it is a great steppingstone for demonstrating interest. Following the school on social media will keep you informed on any important admissions updates and allow you to chat with the college in an informal way via replies and comments. And, on the off-chance the school looks at your social media page (most likely to happen if you link to it in your application), it’s always a good idea to have a well-curated online-presence, including a good history of interaction with the school’s social media page.
In an article by U.S. News, certified educational planner and founder and co-owner of Score At The Top Learning Centers & Schools in Florida Judi Robinovitz notes that students can use social media to talk positively about experiences on school tours and other interactions. It can be a small way to show school who you are and highlight your interests and skills. A key tip highlighted by the U.S. News article is for students to “follow and thoughtfully interact with college social media accounts.”
Local events, like college fairs, are convenient ways to speak to an admissions representative, ask questions, and show that you are interested. If you attend a college fair, make sure to introduce yourself to the admissions representative and discuss your interest in the school. Afterward, you can follow up with an email to thank them, talk more, and ask any additional questions you have.
Emailing an admissions representative is a great option for students who are unable to attend a campus tour. An admissions representative is someone from the school who oversees applications, usually assigned regionally. In your email you can introduce yourself, express your enthusiasm about attending that school, ask any questions you have that can’t be answered from information on the school’s website.
The quickest way to find your "assigned" admissions representative is to Google search [college name] + "admissions representatives." That should lead you to a school page that lists admissions reps by region, state, and even counties and high schools. Find the rep assigned to where you live or attend high school, and send them a quick note to introduce yourself and tell them that you're very interested in the college they represent.
Webinar admissions events have become very popular in recent years and very easy to access. Students who attend a webinar are showing that, while they may not be able to visit campus, they are serious and enthusiastic about the school. Webinars are a great way for schools to track the eagerness of a student. In addition to getting “points” for attending an admissions webinar, you’ll also be provided with important application information and have a chance to ask questions!
A campus tour can be a great way to show your interest in a school. Along with the opportunity to see the school in-person, you’ll also get a good idea of how you feel there – many people will visit campus and realize they can’t see themselves as a student there! Before your campus trip, reach out to see if you can schedule an interview or a meeting with an admissions counselor. If you are unable to attend a campus tour, do not worry. Virtual tours are getting better and better, and as long as you demonstrate interest in other ways, not being able to visit in person won’t be held against you.
Tip: If you do go on a campus tour, be sure to sign in so that your admissions representative knows you were there. And, if you find yourself on an unofficial tour, be sure to let your admissions rep know about that as well!
Applying early action or early decision is one surefire way to show a school that they are your first choice. Early decision is binding, so by applying ED you are promising to enroll if you're accepted (and your financial package meets your needs). Although early action isn't binding, it is still a good indicator that you are serious about a specific school.
Colleges seem to be admitting a larger percentage of their incoming classes early because it cuts down on the guesswork the admissions committee has to do. If you have a clear first choice, consider applying early. And more and more schools are offering multiple opportunities to apply early. So if you don't get in during the Early Decision 1 cycle, you can always look into applying to another school Early Decision 2 or Early Action.
Applying early is one of the best ways to demonstrate your interest in a school. But whether you apply early or regular decision, there's one more very important thing to do to show schools how interested you are.
College applications almost always ask for applicants to submit an essay explaining WHY they want to go to that specific school. This is often the part of the application that students struggle with the most, since it can be hard to craft an original and convincing essay for each school on your list. But don't rush this part of your application– it's important!
The good news is, if you've followed the steps above, you should have a whole list of reasons why you want to attend your top choice schools and specific examples to back them up. Mention your favorite part of the campus tour, your super-friendly and helpful admissions rep, and they way you sat and watched the sun set behind the library and could totally see yourself one joining the students tossing a frisbee on the lawn. Or, mention how impressed you were with the hockey rink/science labs/salad bar and how you can't wait to use them. The key is to show two things 1) you know specific and true things about the school and 2) what you know has helped you determine that this is a place you could be happy and productive.
Because remember, colleges aren't just trying to see if you'll accept their offer. They're hoping you'll stick around for a few years too.
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