Application Process

Know Why Demonstrated Interest is Crucial

You've probably heard about demonstrated interest, and so you are wondering what it is. Well, demonstrated interest is how schools and colleges determine how much students are interested in joining their institution. 

And because of this, demonstrated interest has become vital in the admissions process. In some cases, candidates who fail to show demonstrated interest may find their admissions on the waitlist.  

So why is demonstrated interest crucial

Colleges are targeting a specific number considering the available resources they have: The first reason why demonstrated interest matters so much to colleges is that they usually have a particular number of students they would want to admit. 

But why would they have a specific number they want to enrol? Won't, they be limiting potential candidates? But try to think in this line. What if they enrol 150 or even 300 more students, don't you think there will be a problem? 

First, there may be limited space for learning, and probably, the hostels won't be adequate to accommodate every student. So this is why colleges must have a specific number in mind. 

Colleges are targeting to meet their yield: The second reason why demonstrated interest is crucial is that colleges are targeting a specific yield. Yield is the percentage of students who choose to accept a college's admission. Usually, students have the option to either reject or accept an offer by the college. Colleges would, therefore, be approximating a specific number of students who will take their offers. When they fall below par, they will have to go back to their waitlist to fill the remaining spots. 

Additionally, it is essential to note that a university's reputation goes down if many students fail to accept their offers. This is because yields are tied to US rankings. Students and parents usually check the college's ranking before they send out their applications. So, a college is not likely to receive many applications if students are consistently rejecting their offers. That is why colleges have to make sure you have demonstrated interest before offering you a chance. 

There are some colleges that take demonstrated interest very seriously. But take note that these colleges weigh demonstrated interest differently. That said, below are some of the colleges that consider demonstrated interest and how they weigh them: 

  • American University considers demonstrated interest very seriously. 
  • Barnard College considers demonstrated interest to a standard level. 
  • Bates College views demonstrated interest as necessary. 
  • Boston University considers demonstrated interest as important.  
  • Carnegie Mellon University considers demonstrated interest as essential in the admissions process.
  • Case Western Reserve University views demonstrated interest as necessary. 
  • Colby College considers demonstrated interest at a standard level. 
  • Colorado College considers demonstrated interest at a standard level. 
  • Connecticut College considers demonstrated interest at a standard level. 
  • Dickinson College considers demonstrated interest as very important.

Colleges That Demonstrated Interest Do Not Count in Their Admission Write-Up

  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Amherst College
  • Williams College
  • Colgate University
  • Cornell University

While some colleges consider students with demonstrated interest, some will admit students with the right qualifications despite not showing their interests. Most non-elite schools, however, consider demonstrated interest, and as such, it would be best if you do so. 

Not only does demonstrated interest entails emails, but also doing all the above activities. Just remember to stick to the lanes for relevancy.  

It is worth noting that demonstrated interest is a separate activity, which makes optional interviews and supplemental essays a plus. Make sure to snap such an opportunity if the prospective college intends to offer. This will show the admission committee that you're a perfect fit for the school, so you should be offered a chance to attend. While this isn't a disadvantage, opting for such an opportunity will only diminish your chances of enrolling in the school. 

You should check this for the colleges you are applying to. This process is dead simple - simply google, "Does (college's name) consider demonstrated interest?"  

Once you've done that, you will learn whether the school in the picture track demonstrated interest. If you intend to enroll in any of the Ivies schools, please save yourself that hassle because demonstrated interest doesn't matter to them. Even so, you can do virtual pre-visits just to make sure that you're making the right choice of school. 

If the Google search doesn't turn up as expected, head over and Google the name of the prospective school with the words "Common Data Set" and read on to see some of the factors that matter to the school the most. You'll find something close to a screenshot that clearly outlines the school's requirements.  

So should I demonstrate interest and how? 

We have talked about why colleges track demonstrated interest and looked at some of the colleges that take it seriously and those that do not. However, demonstrated interest is critical, and every student must take it seriously. In some reputable colleges, it can either increase or lower your chances of getting admitted. 

The following are few of the methods that you can use to show demonstrated interest:

1. Applying early decision

This can be a debate for some people, but I always recommend to apply early to your dream university. one of the indicators that you are showing interest in a specific college is applying early decision. And BTW, there are a ton of advantages that come with applying early decision. But you only need to apply early decision if you are very sure that the college is your perfect match. 

Now, the reason why you only want to apply early is that the decision remains binding if your application is accepted unless there are valid reasons why you will not attend. That means that you must make sure that the college you are applying to is your perfect match and that you won't change your mind later. 

2. Participate in interviews

Alternatively, contact your high school counselor or directly contact the admissions personnel to inquire if they interview within your town. Grab this chance and ask a few questions about how students lead their lives while on campus and show interest in joining the college. You can later send a thank you letter or email to show that you enjoyed the interview and the conversation. 

3. Open emails

Another way to show demonstrated interest is to sign up for the university's newsletter from their website and be among the first to receive university updates. When you receive such emails, it would be best to open and click relevant links that come with the emails. The colleges can track the opens, and the clicks as a way of tracking demonstrated interest. 

But it is important to note that no matter how many emails you will open, how many links you will click, demonstrated interest isn't the only determining factor. There are tons of other considerations, such as your essays. So make sure you are all round. Ensure that everything in your application is on point. 

According to a report by the National Association for College Admissions Counselling, admission factors in many colleges include grades, high school curriculum, and test scores. Demonstrated interests are just additional ways to help students stand out when all these have been looked into.

4. Optional essays

Applying to any college would help if you take those things they consider optional because these are opportunities to help you stand out. For example, if the university gives an optional essay, make sure you have written that essay and write it correctly. Because doing some shoddy work has no difference with not doing it at all. 

5. Reach out to your admissions rep

Most colleges have specific admissions representatives who are tasked with going through applications. Fortunately, these are the persons who will be mediating for your application at the admissions table. Therefore, it is vital to reach out to such individuals in person, send them an email, and develop a stellar relationship with them. Building relationships is one of the surest ways of earning trust from professionals. 

6. Visit the College

Paying virtual visits to your top-choice college is another excellent way to show your interest. If possible, request an appointment with the admission committee or even the students to take your through. Also, meeting with the chairman in the department you intend to specialize in is a plus. This will help you garner all the first-hand information and prove your genuine interest in the school. And yes, you'll also know whether or not you're fit for the school.  

7. Meet non-admission staff 

Building healthy relationships with non- admission staff members of the school shows your sincere interest in the school. Ask for relevant staff members who are pursuing courses pertinent to your interests. Be positive and ask genuine questions that will help leverage your demonstrated interest. Your first impression should, however, say much about you. Who knows, they might speak with the admission committee on your behalf. Meanwhile, you can include all your experiences with them in your supplemental essay.   

8. Have a productive conversation, regional representatives 

If you have a specific question in mind, it would be best to reach out to the regional representative rather than visit the admission committee. Your local representative should be well informed, so rest assured that you'll find helpful information. Meet them in-person whenever they attend a conference that's within your region. 

9. Consistent communication 

While this might seem annoying, having consistent communication with the admission committee will help a long way. Make it professional, though, by adhering to all the rules of the school. Also, sending thank you emails to the admission committee and staff members won't hurt. Instead, it shows your undying care for them. 

10. Do your research

I'm guessing that this is one of the best ways to demonstrate your college knowledge and show that you consider the school a perfect fit for you. Know everything about the school from academic programs through extracurricular activities. You can do all these by doing in-depth research, meeting former students, reaching out to staff members, as well as the admission committee for matters of concern. 

11. Check out the school's website regularly

Colleges are best at tracking the activities taking place on their websites, and as such, they can watch all your activities. Many school's websites have designed their pages to show the number of links you've clicked on, the specific sections you've visited, and the maximum time you've spent on the site. Not only will this indicate your interest in the college, but also higher chances of enrolling in the school.  

12. Follow the waitlist instructions

Unfortunately, not all students are accepted in their dream schools, and as such, some might be waitlisted. If that's the case, make sure that you follow the waitlist instructions to a tee. Submit all the necessary documents, including the optional articles you previously excluded on your original application. Meanwhile, refrain from using the information you used on your previous application. Seek help from relevant sources if you find challenges in your waitlist application. You may as well contact the school and inquire about their anticipation.   

13. Interact with the school on social media

While most colleges don't spend much of their time on social media, they will still notice your active participation on their social media pages. But how do you ensure your active contributions? Well, liking the school's numerous pages will show your interests to the school. Not only that, but you'll also garner relevant information regarding the college.  

14. Show your sincere gratitude using short emails and notes

This is a no brainer life skill; however, most people fail to show gratitude for service done. Using a few minutes of your time to say 'Thank You' won't hurt. Put it simple and don't go further than that because things might turn out to be obnoxious. You can also keep the conversation going by asking them relevant questions.  

15. Overnight program 

Most colleges that demonstrated interest counts tend to offer overnight programs for potential students to tour the school and attend classes. Colorado and Grinnell University, for example, provide overnight tours to the school for soon-to-be students regardless of the background. On the other hand, Wellesley University provides opportunities for students with demonstrated interest and those admitted in the spring. Colleges such as Hamilton and Bates offer a diversity of overnight programs apart from the opportunities set aside for prospective students.  

If you're opportune to visit any of these colleges, please do so. Aside from opportunities for prospective students, Wellesley includes a travel grant. You can also share your experiences for your two-days visit to the prospective school.  

In Summary

Demonstrated interest is crucial and will help you learn more about your dream school, their requirements, and whether or not it is the most appropriate school for you. However, it is also important to note that demonstrated interest may just increase your chances but will not guarantee you a place at any university. It is therefore crucial that you take every application component seriously.