Admissions

How ‘Demonstrated Interest’ Can Help Your College Admissions Chances

Comments Off on How ‘Demonstrated Interest’ Can Help Your College Admissions Chances 29 August 2017

Just as students worry about finding the right college and getting into it, college admissions offices worry about finding the right students. Even if a student is a good match, some colleges might not admit them if they are unlikely to enroll. College admissions offices use demonstrated interest to try to predict the likelihood that an applicant will enroll if admitted.

The use of demonstrated interest is not just about colleges trying to increase their yield, which is the percentage of admitted students who enroll. Sure, a college’s yield can influence the college’s rank in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best colleges. But, more importantly, it makes the number of students who enroll more predictable. Getting too many students to enroll can be almost as bad as having too few students enroll.

If you don’t play the demonstrated interest game right, it can affect whether you get into your dream college.

Demonstrated interest is one of the top 10 college admission criteria, favored by about one in six college admissions offices.

Unfortunately, first-generation college students don’t have the experience to know how to increase their odds of getting in. Low-income students might not be able to afford to visit every college of interest to them, which might be misinterpreted by the colleges as a lack of commitment to enrolling at the college if they are admitted.

You might think that applying for admission clearly demonstrates that you are interested in the college. But, a student can enroll in only one college. If you’ve applied to more colleges, the odds of your enrolling in any one college are lower. The colleges want to see signs of strong interest in their institution.

Here’s how to show the colleges that you really, really like them. Give them the reassurance they need and they will be more likely to admit you.

The most important form of demonstrated interest is whether you visit the campus. Visit the college, go on a campus tour, schedule an in-person interview with an admissions officer, sit in on a class, eat the cafeteria food and stay overnight with a student. Let the admissions office know in advance when you’ll be visiting.

Some colleges recognize that low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students cannot afford to visit every college. These colleges sponsor fly-in programs, where the college admissions office covers the cost of your visit.

If the college doesn’t offer a fly-in program and you can’t afford to visit, but really like the college, tell them. Some colleges that don’t have formal fly-in programs will nevertheless reimburse travel costs for students who can’t afford to travel to the college. Others will note this in your file, so that your admissions chances aren’t affected by the lack of a college visit.

You also can try to find ways of working around limited travel funds. Ask the college if they have a virtual tour. Ask if you can have an interview with a local alumnus or by telephone or Skype. Ask when an admissions rep will be in your area and schedule an interview with them. Maybe the college will participate in a local college fair.

Ask the college for admissions literature. Usually there is a form you can fill out on the college admissions office’s web site. If you have a meaningful question that isn’t answered by the literature or web site, ask the college by email or social media. Follow the admissions office’s Twitter handle and join their Facebook group. Participate in the college admissions office’s Twitter chat, if they have one.

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for admission. Submit your application a few weeks before the deadline.

Answer all optional questions on the college application, not just the required questions.

If someone is particularly helpful in answering your questions, send a thank you note.

Colleges track all of this information. As you interact with the college admissions office, it will demonstrate more genuine interest in enrolling at the college.

But, don’t overdo it. Don’t stalk the college admissions officer.

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