Are you an incoming Freshman looking to understand how to demonstrate interest in a college? Are you wondering if showing your interest will affect your admission decision? If you can answer yes to either of these questions, we will help you find the information you seek.
Finding a college that you feel can be home for the next few years is not easy. However, once you have done so, it’s important that you don’t just keep that interest to yourself. We will provide several methods and techniques to help you demonstrate interest and show you how it could affect your admission. To gain this information and more, all you must do is keep reading.
What Does ‘Demonstrated Interest’ Means in College Admissions?
‘Demonstrated Interest’ means you, the student, have taken a step in letting a college know that you are interested in its institution. It also means that you have demonstrated efforts above and beyond what a normal prospect would. Colleges also want to know that if you are offered a space for admission, you will take it. Demonstrated interest is the answer to this.
Demonstrated interest is a tally of all the things you can do to show interest in a given school. This can be done in several methods, which we will explore further in the article, from interviews to campus visits. Some students and parents may argue that this is unfair because students with more means have a greater opportunity to demonstrate interest. However, there are digital methods which can be performed as well.
Why is Demonstrated Interest Important to the College Admissions?
If you’re wondering how to get into your dream college, demonstrated interest could be your ticket in. Though your test scores, GPA and extracurricular activities may have met the admission criteria at a given university, that does not mandate that there is a spot for you. If you and another student have the same academic profile and they showed interest in the school, and you did not, the space would likely go to them. Not showing interest in your top school could be the difference between an acceptance and rejection letter or being waitlisted. Colleges want to know that you are as eager to be there as they are to have you. This allows them to predict which students will likely enroll rather than see the admission letter as the trophy.
11 Ways to Demonstrate Interest in Your Chosen College
Applying early shows a definite interest in a given college or university. This means that a student applies early action or early decision. Both show an interest in a university, with one being more committed than the others. If you are unfamiliar, an early decision means that it is a binding decision if you are accepted. You may only go early decision with one university. Therefore, this is a surefire way to confirm your interest in the university and a reason that many early-decision applicants are admitted. Though early action will be a way to show interest, if you are applying early action, your decision is non-binding.
Opening Your Emails
This may sound weird; however, opening your email is a great way to show interest in a college. Emails will likely have data analytics embedded within them that will report if it has been opened and any click-throughs back to the university.
Requesting Information from the University
Requesting information is another great way to express your interest. This would ideally be done through an online form or system. Universities will likely have small contact forms that allow you to collect interest in the university and a selected major. This is a great catalyst to kickstart your involvement with the admissions team.
Attending College Events
If you live in the area or, you can travel for events. Attending events that will help you communicate with the admissions team is a great idea. This may include any prospective student events or college events, which may allow you to acclimate to the university lifestyle.
Schedule a College Tour
Scheduling a college tour is a formal way to introduce yourself to the admissions staff. Though it may be enticing to roam the campus freely on your own, setting up a tour will allow you to meet individuals and see parts of the university that you may not have access to on your own. Following up after your tour to thank the individuals involved is also a great way to show the faculty you are serious about the university and that it is high on your list.
Connect with the Admissions Team on Social Media
Though not the most traditional way of engagement, social media has become a great way to disseminate information and a part of our everyday lives, especially for high school students. In recent years, universities have done more to engage on social media and even host live events for students to engage and ask questions. Following college admissions pages is a great way to get insider tips on applying and things you can do to beef up your application.
Some schools will include an admission interview that students can elect to participate in. This demonstrates a high level of interest and gives you one-on-one time with the admissions team. These interviews will traditionally be handled in person and virtually for students who cannot attend a session on campus. If you also have a non-traditional application, this is a great way to speak to your academic trajectory and some items that may be seen as pitfalls. Not only are you showing interest, but you’re also explaining your story in your own terms.
Connect with Alums and Students in Your Area
Another way to demonstrate interest in a college is to reach out to the admissions office and ask to connect with alums and even first-year students in your area. This allows you to get a first-hand account of the university and connect with individuals within your area. This can be particularly helpful for out-of-state students who may want to have an ally on campus.
Attend Info Sessions – Virtually or Online
If your high school hosts various universities, be on the lookout for admissions visits from your selected university. You should also check local listings for info sessions and college fairs in your area. This will allow you to meet the regional admissions team in your area. However, if you are not able to attend these sessions in person, don’t be discouraged. Many universities are expanding their virtual offerings to include online information sessions, allowing you the same level of interaction minus face time.
Join the Mailing List
Joining the university mailing list allows you to showcase your interest and state up to date on college happenings. Admissions offices will usually have mailing lists specific to admissions information rather than regarding the university as a whole. This allows you to tailor your interests specifically to admissions.
Write the Supplemental Essay
A supplemental essay is a great way to showcase your interest in a college. It can show your intention if admitted and even why the university would be a great part of your life. This is not an option at all colleges, but if it is an option, it can be a great way for the admissions team to get to know you. This is also a great way to showcase what you have learned about the college or the extent of your research.
If a supplemental essay is not possible, use your statement essay to showcase your interest. The perfect college interest statement shows examples of why students love the university and why it is an integral part of your success story.
How Does Demonstrated Interest Affect Your Admission Chances?
There are various levels to how demonstrated interest may affect your admission decision. Some schools, which you will see in the next section, emphasize demonstrated interest more than others. These schools will likely have software that allows them to track your interactions with the university.
If you are unsure where to find information regarding the importance of admission, that can be found within your prospective school’s common data set. Section C7 of the Common Data Set will show the “level of applicant’s interest”. Schools will have the option to select between 1 of 4 choices. These choices include Very Important, Important, Considered, and Not Considered.
You may want to make your face known if it is considered very important for your institution. If things like interviews or events are optional, you should strongly consider doing them if you can. This ensures that you give the school your interest and that you don’t miss great opportunities.
Some activities will demonstrate a higher level of interest than others. For example, doing things like requesting information or attending virtual sessions is an example of a low-engagement activity. In contrast, doing things like attending campus events or connecting with admissions counsellors are areas that show higher levels of interest.
9 Colleges Where Demonstrated Interest Matters
If you feel like applying to schools where demonstrated interest is important for you, there are several college options for you to look into. However, if you do plan to attend an Ivy college or highly selective school, you will not find them on this list. For example, for a school like USC, demonstrated interest is not relevant. These schools have a problem that smaller schools will likely never have; they always receive interest. Tracking a student’s interest at a school like this would be hard and potentially worthless.
Schools where demonstrated interest matters the most would be smaller, private schools. These schools have fewer spaces and are looking to prioritize admission to students who know they want to be there. In the list below, you will find colleges where demonstrated interest is extremely important.
1. Morehouse College: Atlanta, Georgia
2. Ithaca College: South Hill, New York
3. Syracuse University: Onondaga County, New York
4. DePaul University: Chicago, Illinois
5. Butler University: Indianapolis, Indiana
6. Rutgers University: Camden, New Jersey
7. Appalachian State University: Boone, North Carolina
8. SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry: Syracuse, New York
9. Auburn University: Auburn, Alabama
Wrapping Things Up: How to Demonstrate Interest in a College?
We hope this article has helped you better understand what demonstrating interest in a college means and how to do so. You likely already do several traditional activities, including opening emails and requesting information from schools that will show a demonstrated interest in a university.
Be mindful that all colleges do not take demonstrated interest into account when applying. However, there are several colleges where demonstrated interest matters, like Morehouse University, Rutgers and even SUNY. Regardless of where you end up applying, we hope you have created the blueprint for how to get into your dream college and that this article pushes that plan forward.