Myth: Applying To A College Is All The Demonstrated Interest I Need To Show

Two students visiting a college to show demonstrated interest

Flickr user COD Newsroom

Applying to a college may tell them that you are interested in attending their institution but it does not tell them much about your ‘level of interest’. That’s where demonstrated interest comes in.

Colleges are well aware that every student will have created their own shortlist of colleges to apply to. Moreover, each student will different match, reach and safety colleges depending on their academic and professional goals. When you submit your application, it doesn’t tell the college whether they are among your first three choices or the bottom of your safety list.

To college admissions authorities, your level of interest matters a lot. Students who are very interested in attending their school and show it are usually given preference. This is of course on condition that they meet all other requirements.

Why Your Demonstrated Interest Matters To Colleges

  • It increases the chances that you will accept their offer

A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into sending out acceptance letters, most of it on calculating the amount of financial aid they can offer accepted students. When you turn down their offer it means they have to then recalculate the financial aid that they can offer to wait-listed students.

  • It reduces the odds that you will transfer to another college before graduation

Students who demonstrate interest are more likely to have made their choice of school and program after having done their research. This makes it more likely that they will complete the program and not transfer to another school.

  • It boosts their reputation

Numbers mean everything to a school’s reputation. Having a large number of students transfer mid-way through the program can hurt their reputation. As we said earlier, students who have done their homework on a particular school are more likely to stay on for the full four years. This increases their graduation numbers and gives their reputation a huge boost.

What You Can Do to Demonstrate Interest

Some ways you can demonstrate interest and boost your chances of getting accepted into the college of your choice:

  • Show that you’ve really taken the time to research the school and its programs and facilities.

In your essay highlight a specific feature that really spoke to you and solidified your interest. While answering other questions, look for opportunities to mention specific details that show you’ve done your homework on the school.

  • Schedule a campus visit.

A campus visit takes your research on a school to a different level and allows you to give more insightful answers to essay prompts and interview questions.

  • Apply early.

Applying early tells a school that you are among their top three choices, increasing your chances of getting accepted.

  • Connect with college faculty during your campus visit.

If you’ve chosen your major, making an appointment to speak to the professor teaching that major speaks volumes about your level of interest. Professors enjoy having interested, engaged students in their class and may let the admissions officers know about your interaction. You could even sit in on a class when you visit.

  • Asking the admissions department questions

Asking questions via email or through their social media pages will put you on their radar. Be careful about the questions you ask though. Flooding them with frivolous questions will only attract negative attention.

Remember, demonstrating interest requires you to do more than just submit an application. This is especially important when it comes to your top three choices of schools.

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