Let’s suppose that you were selling your car or your home, and were looking for sincere buyers. You don’t want the tire kicker, do you? Someone serious about a purchase is the very person you’d like to see come down the path to your door. Colleges are similar when it comes to the students who apply.
By visiting schools, or attending regional information sessions, or participating in college nights at school when college representatives come to meet and greet potential applicants, a student may literally leave a calling card, or at least a name on a list that makes its way to the admissions office. Details accumulate in the application dossier. Did Sally or Sam go that extra step to make their choice of school known to admissions?
Colleges refer to this realm of the admissions process as “demonstrated interest” on the part of students, the initiative students demonstrate. Along with visiting the campus for an information session and campus tour, try to observe a class, participate in an interview if offered, send a thank-you note, e-mail or call your regional admissions representative to ask questions, and mail an update of your grades and achievements before the end of first semester senior year.
Among more selective private schools, demonstrated interest has become a subtle but important factor that allows admissions departments to more accurately work with all the thousands of applications they receive. Interest has become an enrollment predictor: students who demonstrate their interest in a college are more likely to be admitted.
Universities also report a high correlation between demonstrated interest and students who do well in their educational communities and keep campus morale high. So, the colleges are singing this song: if we’re your choice, show us in as many ways as you can.
Have you visited college websites recently? They grow more informative by the month. You can even converse with admissions personnel! You’ll also learn where regional information sessions are being held (if you live in a metro area), and whether alumni/alumnae interviews are available.
Everything you do to get in to a school makes its way to that dossier, the admissions file containing your high school life and times. Yes, your transcript and test scores are still highest on the list – with your extracurricular commitments and essays following closely behind. But with increased population – and, thus, increased competition – you need every edge you can get. Put on your angel wings– fly high to demonstrate your interest. Because the devil is often in the details.