11 TIPS TO SHOW DEMONSTRATED INTEREST IN A COLLEGE
Without a doubt, the GPA, rigor of classes taken, and standardized test scores tend to have THE biggest impact on college admissions.
However, many students get good grades, take challenging classes and perform well on standardized tests.
So colleges must look at other factors as well…
Your child’s extracurricular activities, community involvement, essays and ability to complete a strong application also have a big impact on getting admitted to their ideal college.
But today, I want to address a topic you may have never heard of: DEMONSTRATED INTEREST.
What is demonstrated interest??
Demonstrated interest is the degree to which your child shows a college that they are sincerely interested in attending that school.
Why is demonstrated interest important?
If a college admits 1,000 applicants. And 900 of those admitted students choose to attend a different school. Then the college will have too few students in their incoming class.
So college admissions offices wants to know: will your kid choose to attend THEIR school if they’re admitted?
How does this affect admissions?
Let’s say your child is applying to College X. And Tommy down the street, who has the exact same grades and test scores and extracurricular involvement as your child, is also applying to College X.
The college can only accept one of the two kids.
Your child has shown College X that this school is the #1 choice. Tommy has shown very little interest, and will probably not attend if he is accepted.
So which of the two kids will College X choose to admit to their school?
You guessed it…College X would probably accept your child over Tommy.
So how does your kid show demonstrated interest?
Here are 11 tips for your child to show that they are truly interested in attending a college….
1. Attend college fairs
Some colleges track the number of interactions your kid has with their school. Attending a college fair is a great way for your kid to connect directly with a representative of the college – just make sure that they sign in at the event so that the college has a record of their attendance.
2. Visit the campus – and be sure to sign in!
This is one of the best ways for your child to express true interest in a college. When you visit a campus with your kid, make sure that they sign in at BOTH the official information session AND the official campus tour.
3. Sign up to receive information from the college
Does the school send out a newsletter or helpful tips about their admissions process? If so, make sure your child is signed up to receive this information! When applications are received, some colleges will check to see if your kid is on their email list.
4. Connect through social media
If your child is interested in a college, it can be helpful to follow that school across social media channels like Facebook and even Instagram. Just make sure that your child has privacy settings set, and no incriminating or inappropriate photos can be found on their profiles.
5. Participate in personal interviews if given the opportunity
Not every school holds interviews with individual students. However, if your child is given the opportunity to interview with a faculty member, admissions representative or a member of the alumni community, they should ABSOLUTELY participate. This is a great way for schools to see that your kid has a strong interest in attending their school.
6. Connect with professors, coaches and faculty
Not only can these individuals tell the admissions office that your child is interested in attending their school and that would be a great fit, but these conversations can be extremely beneficial when it comes to writing strong essays. If your child has taken the time to get to know members of the college community, and references these conversations in their essays, colleges will see that they are truly interested in their school.
7. Write a strong “Why Us?” essay
In one form or another, many colleges will ask your child to write an essay about why they want to attend their school. This is an excellent opportunity for your child to show that they have really done their research on the college, and that they are a great match for that school.
8. Apply early
Applying early to a school takes hard work and dedication, and sometimes even binds your child to that school if they are accepted. This really shows a college that your kid is highly interested in their college. Some schools have higher acceptance rates for early admissions compared to later/regular submission dates.
9. List a favorite college first on the FAFSA
Some colleges want to know if your child listed their school first on the list when completing the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). If your child has an absolute first choice, put that school at the top of the list. If not, make sure to list the schools in alphabetical order.
10. Use the same name & email address for everything
Make sure your child uses the same email address for every step above. For instance, if your kid signs in at career fairs and campus tours and interviews with one email address, and then uses a different email address when submitting their official application…the school will have no way to know that your child has been demonstrating interest all along!
11. Use an appropriate email address
Last but not least, make sure your child has an appropriate email address when signing in to events and submitting applications. Sarah.Smith@gmail.com is way more appropriate than firstname.lastname@example.org. Colleges will notice this.
Not every college tracks demonstrated interest, but many competitive schools do notice and take these factors into consideration when making admit or deny decisions. But regardless of whether or not a school notices or tracks demonstrated interest, if your child has interest in attending a school, they should be executing the 11 tips above in order to gain more information and make sure that the school is the right fit for them as well!
Has your kid started showing demonstrated interest in any schools? Let me know in the comments below!