Demonstrated Interest? What does it really mean and why does it help you get into college?

Post By: COYD Staff

college application processStatistically, “demonstrated interest” has become an increasingly important factor in college admissions. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) Admissions Trends Survey, an increasing portion of colleges have rated a student’s demonstrated interest in attending an institution as a “considerably important” factor in the admission decision. However, before you start to run with that, it is important to know the full picture.

First, you need to understand why “demonstrated interest” is important to admission offices.

1) Lower Transfer rate: Studies show that students who show demonstrated interest are less likely to transfer in the middle of their college career.
2) Efficiency: Colleges want to accept student who will actually attend. Not knowing the complete freshmen class until a few weeks before the first day of school can be a headache both administratively and financially.
3) Yield: Universities want to boost their yield. The yield is a measure of selectivity based on the share of admitted students who enroll. According to US News and World Report, they are considering adding the yield back into the rankings. They believe that “the yield is a very good proxy for student views, because it’s how much students value their acceptance from that particular college.” The higher the yield, the “better” a college’s reputation.

Second, you need to understand that “demonstrated interest” means different things to different schools.

To give you an example, let’s take Stanford University. On the Stanford University’s website, when asked the question “Does Stanford show preference in the admission process for students who have demonstrated interest by visiting, calling and emailing?”, their answer is:

“Not at all. Contacting the Admission Office is neither a requirement nor an advantage in our admission process. We offer campus tours and information sessions to provide you with the information you need to make an informed college choice, not to evaluate you. And we welcome calls and emails for the same reason. Please do not feel compelled to contact us to demonstrate your interest in Stanford; we know by the very fact of your applying that you are seriously interested in Stanford. We don’t keep records of prospective student contacts with our office.” *

However, if you look at Trinity University’s website, you will see “We also note students’ demonstrated interest in the university, including campus visits and contact with admissions representatives.”

Be sure to check the university’s website to find what the university of your choice has to say about demonstrated interest.

However, even though Stanford doesn’t encourage calls to demonstrate interest, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to see interest in other ways. For instance, the acceptance rate of those who apply early is consistently higher than for those who apply regular decision. So if you really want to attend Stanford, applying early is “demonstrating interest” in the university, and the figures show that this method of demonstrating interest will help your chances. Go to an earlier post to read about Applying Early to college to see if it’s right for you.

For many of the highly ranked schools, boosting their yield is not a huge concern for them. Most of them already have very high yields. But what is important is quality students. Students who have purpose, intention and vision are students that can be the nation’s future leaders. So if you clearly show why you are applying to Stanford and show sincerity, this is another way “demonstrated interest” will benefit your chances of admission.

Now that you understand those 2 points, below are things to keep in mind when you show a school that welcomes direct demonstrated interest like Trinity University.

1. Quality over quantity.

There are so many ways to demonstrate interest in a college: campus visits, interviews, contact with the admission office via e-mail or phone, applying early, content of essays, face-time with representative at a college fair, and sending a thank you note after an information session on a college campus or an interview.

When I say quality, I mean you need to approach the above demonstrations of interest with sincerity, intentionality and professionalism. It’s better to do half of them very well than all of them half as well.

2. Don’t harass the admissions office!

Don’t cross the line that separates interest from obsession. Not only is it annoying, but it is also desperate and a bit scary.

3. Don’t let your parents demonstrate your interest for you.

The last thing they want is to admit a student that is forced to apply and attend because of their parents. It shows immaturity on the student’s part. Admissions officers are admitting a student, not their parents.



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