Why Demonstrated Interest Is So Important

Bunch of students standing inside Penn State's University Park campus.

Flickr user Penn State

It may help to start by explaining what exactly demonstrated interest is. Demonstrated interest refers to the extent to which you show the college that you are eager to attend their school.

Why Demonstrated Interest Matters To Colleges

You would think that just the fact that you’ve applied to a college shows that you are interested in attending that particular college. While that may be true, it is only half the truth. The admissions authorities are well aware that all students who have applied to their college have also applied to several others as well. What they want to know is whether they are your top choice, second choice or last choice college. When you demonstrate interest, it shows that they are your top choice.

Colleges prefer to enroll students who demonstrate interest for both logistical and financial reasons.

Firstly, students who are eager to attend their college are more certain to have done their research into the institution and their programs and are less likely to want to transfer to a different college during the 4 years.

Secondly, it makes it easier for colleges to predict their yield. Yield, in this case, refers to the percentage of students who decide to attend a school that has accepted them. Students with a higher level of interest in a school are more likely to respond positively, which means the college does not have to depend on wait-lists to meet their goals. It makes it easier for them to make plans.

Another lesser-known reason why colleges pay so much attention to demonstrated interest is that students who are passionate about attending an institution are more likely to make donations to their alma mater.


So How Can You Demonstrate Your Interest In A College?

The single best way to demonstrate your interest in a particular college is by scheduling a campus visit. Take the tour. Speak to the faculty. Attend a class or two in session. If you can, stay the night in the dorm. A campus visit will give you lots to speak about when your interviewer asks you why you want to attend that particular college.

Applying through Early Decision is another way to demonstrate interest as it means you are committed to attending their college. Early decision is binding. If the college accepts your application, you will have to attend.

The easiest way is by liking and following the school on their social media platforms and interacting with the faculty and students. All colleges may not check whether you are following them but those who do are sure to be impressed.

Two important things to remember about demonstrated interest are:

  1. By itself, it does not guarantee that you will be accepted
  2. It does not make up for poor academic performance

However, it can tip the scales in your favor if the admissions committee has to decide between two evenly matched applicants and you have taken the trouble to demonstrate interest.

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