College Coach Kara Courtois’ former college roommate called her in early fall to ask a question about her daughter’s college application process that went something like this: “We can’t decide whether it’s worth the time and money for Leah to visit these colleges where she wants to apply. What do you think?” A big part of this question was asking about whether colleges will penalize Leah’s application or not take her application seriously if she has not visited campus or “demonstrated interest” in this way. But what is actually considered “demonstrated interest” when it comes to admissions?
The most common ways to demonstrate interest tend to be:
- Taking a campus tour
- Writing a supplemental application question along the lines of, “Why do you want to attend this college?”
- Meeting with an admissions representative during that rep’s visit to the student’s high school
- Viewing a virtual tour on the college’s admissions website
- Speaking with an admissions representative at a college fair
- Researching the college online or via social media
(CAUTION: You’ll notice that we do NOT suggest emailing admissions counselors with random questions as a form of demonstrating interest! Asking genuine questions that can’t be answered on the website is fine, but “fluffy” emails have no impact on any part of the application. That’s a myth we dispel daily.)
A similar question we often get from students is often: “Which colleges ‘track’ demonstrated interest?” Most colleges are honest as to whether or not they track interest, but they don’t necessarily yell it from the rooftops, so you may need to dig into an admissions office website or even call the office to confirm their policy. To our knowledge, there’s no exact science to knowing which colleges absolutely take demonstrated interested into account when reviewing a student’s application, but the smaller the college, the more likely it is to do so. Statistically, a student is more likely to take an offer of admission if they have visited campus or gotten to know the college through one or more of the ways listed above. So, if your student thinks they are interested in a campus that’s fewer than 5,000 students, you might start with prioritizing those visits.
For more information on demonstrated interest, see Kara’s full article on the College Coach Insider blog at blog.getintocollege.com.