What Colleges Really Want is Demonstrated Interest
You will need to demonstrate interest in a college if you want to get admitted and get scholarships. Applying to a college without showing a genuine interest in the school is likely to benefit only the college, and unlikely to benefit your child.
Showing demonstrated interest means you have shown, by your actions, interest in the college and your desire to attend that college.
- Go to a college fair and spend a long time talking with the representative.
- Go on an official college visit, and spend a day on campus.
- Research their website information.
- Reach out by phone and email to ask questions.
- Respond to emails they send you.
- Take part in in person, phone, or online interviews and conversations.
- Write application essays tailored to each college.
Demonstrated Interest Affects Value of Applying
In order for an application to have value you have to demonstrate interest in the college. When you demonstrate interest, it means you are more likely to say "YES" when offered admission. It's almost as if you get points for every time you touch the college. If you need help writing relevant, effective college applications, read my article, Tips for Tackling College Applications.
What does NOT demonstrate interest? Showing up on campus unannounced, without an appointment, and nobody knows you are there. It does not demonstrate interest if you do online searches or other research without interacting with the college, so they don't know you are doing that research.
Demonstrated Interest Affects College Rankings
The US News and World Report, for example, will rank colleges based on how many people choose to go there when they are admitted. To them, demonstrating interest increases the chance you will attend. Colleges know that demonstring interest takes time. They know if you have spent some time with their university, then you are truly interested in them, and if they admit you, that you are more likely to attend. What they do NOT want is to admit a student and have them not attend their college. Those rejections cost them, and their ranking goes down if many students reject them.
That's why colleges are more likely to admit you and give you scholarships if they think you will say YES to an offer. More admissions and scholarships are offered when a college thinks that you will stay for all four years and graduate on time. Demonstrating interest with visits can prove you are likely to stay without transferring.
The strongest way of demonstrating interest is to apply for binding early decision, but I don't usually recommend doing that unless you can pay full price for college.
If you need personal help in guiding your student to demonstrating interest in a college or in helping them write their college application essays, consider joining my Gold Care Club. I can help and be an advocate for you and your child!