The importance of demonstrated interest in college admissions is currently under debate. Some colleges and universities put more weight on demonstrated interest than others with some eliminating it all together. Given the complex admissions environment, it is essential as a prospective applicant to plan and prepare for the range of colleges to which you will apply, and that includes conveying interest.
Applicants who fall into specific categories must demonstrate their enthusiasm and curiosity for the colleges to which they apply.
Students who have achieved high standardized test scores. Schools are wary of admitting applicants with high scores and limited or no demonstrated interest, as they are concerned about being used as a "safety school."
Students who reside in a state where the majority of applicants to a particular college or university live, demonstrated interest may not be considered to distinguish applicants, on the other hand, if a student resides in a state where a specific college or university has fewer applicants, it often becomes a factor and may tip the admit scale. When a college admissions committee wants to take a risk and accept a student from an under-represented part of the country, a review of how a student has engaged is considered. When comparing two equal applicants, demonstrated interest could be the deciding factor.
Students who attend a private or a prominent public high school and whose parents have an advanced education are expected to have the resources to visit and engage with colleges.
There are many ways in which to demonstrate your interest in the colleges to which you apply beyond the campus visit.
Here are additional actions that you can take to demonstrate an interest in a college or university.
1. Complete an online information request form on college admissions websites.
2. Open emails sent from colleges.
3. Connect on Social Media.
4. Meet with an admissions officer when they visit your high school.
5. Attend a regional college fair or information session.
6. Participate in a webinar sponsored by admissions.
7. Engage in alumni or student interview when offered.
8. Reach out to an admissions officer with sincere questions that cannot be found on the website.
9. Invest time in writing your “Why this college?” or supplemental essay. Take this essay very seriously as it is a way to show an admissions committee that you have done your homework on their school and are genuinely excited about what they have to offer you.
10. Apply early. Colleges like ED applicants because they can count on them as guaranteed members of their freshman class. Admit rates tend to be higher for ED applicants.