What is Demonstrated Interest?
Demonstrated interest is any action that shows a college that your student is interested in attending their school. This can include things like visiting the campus, attending college fairs, emailing or calling the admissions office, asking for letters of recommendation from teachers or counselors who know your student well, getting involved in extracurricular activities that are related to your student’s major or interests, and submitting an application essay that shows your student’s passion for the school.
Why is Demonstrated Interest Important in the Admissions Process?
Demonstrated interest can also impact whether a student may be admitted or not. Some colleges track student’s demonstrated interest and use it as part of the admissions process when they evaluate applications.
Colleges want to admit students who are excited about attending their school and who are likely to enroll if they are admitted. Demonstrated interest is a way for students to show colleges that they are excited about their school and that they are likely to enroll. This can be a helpful factor in the admissions process, especially if you are applying to a competitive school.
As a result of declining yield rates, some schools are now considering demonstrated interest as a more important factor in the admissions process. This means that students who demonstrate interest in a school by taking the time to learn more about it and to interact with the admissions office may have a better chance of being admitted.
Which Colleges Track Demonstrated Interest?
Here is a list of colleges that track demonstrated interest as very important in their Common Data Set:
- American University
- Cooper Union
- Dickinson College
- Hampshire College
- Ithaca College
- Morehouse College
- Quinnipiac University
- Syracuse University
- Thomas Aquinas College
- United States Air Force Academy
- United States Naval Academy
These colleges all consider demonstrated interest to be an important factor in their admissions decisions. The importance of demonstrated interest can vary from college to college, so it is important to review the Common Data Set for each college that you are interested in applying to.
How to Demonstrate Interest
There are many ways to demonstrate interest in a college. Here are a few ideas to show a school you are genuinely interested in them:
1. Sign Up for the Admissions Office Mailing List
Signing up for a college’s mailing list is one of the easiest ways to show that you are interested in their school.
Even if you already receive mail from the school, be sure to sign up for their email list on their website. This shows the admissions office that you are interested in learning more about the school and that you are taking the initiative to stay connected.
It’s also a great way to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the school, such as upcoming events, new programs, and changes to the admissions process. You can then use this information to your advantage when crafting your supplemental essays or preparing for interviews. Be sure to use the same email address that you will use when applying to the school.
2. Meet An Admissions Officer In Person
The best way to make a lasting impression is to meet someone in person. Take advantage of opportunities to meet admissions representatives at local college fairs and when visiting the school in person during your junior year.
A trip to visit the campus is one of the most important ways to show them you’re genuinely interested in attending their school, so you want yours to be successful.
If you can’t take the trip to visit campus, sign up to meet them at your high school (if your school hosts college info sessions) or at any other local events they might host in your area when they come to town
3. Write a Detailed Supplemental Essay
Not all schools require a supplemental essay. But for the ones that do, it can sometimes be the first essay they read in your application.
A supplemental essay is often a great way to show interest, because it often requires you to research the school beforehand and shows the school why you would be a good fit for each other.
Including specific examples of what you find interesting about their programs and resources in your essay is a great way to make your essay pop.
4. Write to Your Admissions Representative
You can typically find the contact information for your local admissions representative on their website.
Admissions officers are people just like you and love hearing from students. You can write them a note after you visit their school and include details from your visit.
Or if you don’t have a chance to visit, but they are your top choice, write them a letter expressing your genuine desire to attend and include details on why you love their school while including any additional questions you may have.
Just make sure the questions you ask aren’t readily available online.
5. Apply Before the Admissions Deadline
While applying early action or early decision shows a school that you are interested in attending, even applying a few weeks before the deadline can demonstrate your eagerness and enthusiasm. It also shows them that you are driven and organized enough to submit your application early.
Don’t rush your application, though – you want to make sure you’re still submitting your best work.
6. Write Well-Researched “Why Us” Essays
Lastly, some colleges and universities require a supplemental essay and the most commonly asked question is “Why do you want to attend our school?”
There may be different versions of this, but the end goal is the same. The school is asking you to show them exactly why you want to study at their school, how you would take advantage of the resources and opportunities offered, and what you would contribute.
The most time-consuming and perhaps most important part of this essay is researching and utilizing specific examples and then relating them back to you.
In addition to potentially improving your chance for admissions, demonstrating interest helps you develop strong communication and networking skills. More importantly, it is an opportunity to show colleges that you’re more than an applicant, you’re a real person with a real interest in being part of their community.
7. Visit the Campus
One way to demonstrate interest in a college is to visit their campus. This is a great way to learn more about the school and to get a feel for the atmosphere. You can take a tour, attend a class, and meet with current students and faculty. This will give you a better understanding of the school and its programs, and it will also show the admissions committee that you are serious about attending.
Tips for Demonstrating Interest
Here are a few tips for demonstrating interest in a college:
- Be genuine. Don’t try to fake interest. Colleges can tell when you’re not being genuine.
- Be specific. Don’t just say that you’re interested in the school. Tell the college why you’re interested in the school.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for the college to come to you. Take the initiative and reach out to the college.
Demonstrated interest is an important part of the college admissions process. By following these tips, you can show colleges that you’re interested in attending their school and increase your chances of getting accepted.
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
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