Demonstrated Interest – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Demonstrated Interest – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

By now, your applications have been submitted. So now you just wait, right? Well, no, not exactly. There are some actions you can take that will make a difference at many colleges, particularly independent colleges and universities. It’s called “demonstrated interest.” Students show demonstrated interest when they take various actions that signal to a school that they are seriously considering it. And it can possibly enhance your chances of admission.

It’s important to understand that NOT ALL colleges factor demonstrated interest into their admission process; but many do. Some colleges are straightforward about it and let students know that they are looking for various types of contact. Other colleges keep track of contacts, but don’t advertise the fact. Demonstrated interest, as it turns out, can motivate students to interact with colleges in ways that they would not have otherwise. In the process, students make contacts that are beneficial, and they learn about programs and opportunities that become important when it comes time to make that final decision about which college to attend. Here’s how it works.

Let’s say you apply to a college using the Common Application and that’s all it hears from you. You send in the Supplement and all the supporting documentation required, but that’s it. At some colleges – those where demonstrated interest is a factor in admission decisions – you may be put on the Wait List and not receive a letter of acceptance. While this may not seem fair, colleges want to admit students who are genuinely considering attending. Colleges want a high “yield,” which is the percentage of students they admit who actually enroll. If they only receive an application and nothing else, that isn’t encouraging to them.

So how can you demonstrate that you are a serious applicant and that there is a reasonable chance you will attend this college if admitted? There are lots of ways.

  1.  Visit the college, before you apply or after you apply but before the decisions are out. When you visit, make sure you take the student guided tour and fill out the information card….so they know that you have been there.
  2. Have an interview on or off campus, if possible. After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer.
  3. If an admission counselor comes to your school or your town and you are invited for an information session or an interview, GO! If you can’t go, respond to the invitation with gratitude and explain why you can’t make it: an exam, a game, a play rehearsal, etc.
  4. Keep in touch with the admission counselor who visits your region and is the first reader of your application. If you receive recognition for something after you’ve sent in your application, let him or her know about it. This could be recognition that’s academic, athletic, artistic, or for some extracurricular activity.
  5. If you are interested in a particular major, contact that department to find out about internship opportunities or areas of professors’ emphases. If a professor is impressed with your level of interest, he or she is likely to let the admission office know.
  6. Similarly, if there is an activity that interests you, be in touch with the person in charge: examples – soccer coach, Hillel Director, head of the music or theater department, debate team coach, faculty advisor to the campus newspaper, to name a few.

Don’t bother trying to figure out which colleges include “demonstrated interest” in their admission decision. Instead, take a little time to demonstrate your genuine interest in each college to which you have applied. It can’t hurt, it might help, and you will very likely gain some valuable information in the process. Good luck!

If you have any other questions about selecting a college, or the admissions process, feel free to contact me through my website at  or call me at 760.877.7200. I’d love to answer your questions!

Andrea K. Frimmer, M. Ed.
Prep 4 College Now, Inc.

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