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What is Demonstrated Interest?

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    In the highly competitive world of college admissions, simply completing your application is no longer enough to stand out. Colleges and universities are increasingly looking for indications that applicants are truly passionate about attending their institution. This is where the concept of “demonstrated interest” comes into play.

    Demonstrated interest refers to the actions prospective students take to show a college that they are seriously considering attending if admitted. By proactively engaging with a school, you can give admissions officers a clear signal that their university is one of your top choices. This can provide a valuable admissions edge, especially at selective colleges where yield rates are a key concern.

    So what exactly qualifies as demonstrated interest? And why do colleges care so much about it? In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about demonstrated interest in the college application process.

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    What counts as demonstrated interest?

    There are a variety of ways that students can demonstrate their interest in a particular college or university. The most common forms of demonstrated interest include:

    01

    Campus visits

    Making an effort to visit a college’s campus, whether for an official tour, info session, or just to explore on your own, shows admissions officers that you’re serious about potentially enrolling. These on-site interactions allow you to get a firsthand feel for the college culture and environment.

    02

    Contact with admissions

    Reaching out to the admissions office via email, phone, or even attending virtual info sessions indicates that you’re actively engaged in learning more about the school. Admissions counselors often track these interactions and view them as a sign of true interest.

    03

    College fairs and interviews

    Attending college fairs in your area and participating in any optional interviews offered by a university are other great ways to demonstrate your enthusiasm. These personal interactions give you a chance to make a positive impression.

    04

    Social media engagement

    Following a college’s social media accounts, engaging with their content, and even reaching out directly can all be considered forms of demonstrated interest in the digital age. Admissions teams are increasingly monitoring these online touchpoints.

    The key is to participate in these activities with intention and authenticity. Colleges want to see that you’re making a genuine effort to learn more about their specific programs and campus life. Sporadic or superficial interactions won’t carry the same weight as consistent, thoughtful outreach.

    Why colleges care about demonstrated interest

    demonstrated interest - Purdue University So why exactly do colleges place so much emphasis on demonstrated interest? It all comes down to an institution’s desire to enroll students who are highly likely to attend if admitted.

    When colleges review applications, they’re not only looking for the strongest academic qualifications but also trying to predict which applicants will actually choose to attend. This “yield rate” – the percentage of admitted students who end up enrolling – is a key metric that colleges monitor closely. A high yield rate signals that a school is attracting students who are truly passionate about attending.

    By tracking demonstrated interest, admissions officers gain valuable insights into which applicants are the most engaged and committed. Things like campus visits, email inquiries, and interview attendance provide tangible evidence of a student’s sincere interest. Colleges can then use this information to help shape their incoming class and meet their enrollment goals.

    Demonstrated interest can be especially impactful at highly selective institutions. When admissions decisions come down to splitting hairs between similarly qualified applicants, measurable displays of interest can give some students an admissions edge. Colleges want to fill their incoming class with students who will be enthusiastic, engaged members of the campus community.

    So why exactly do colleges place so much emphasis on demonstrated interest? It all comes down to an institution’s desire to enroll students who are highly likely to attend if admitted.

    When colleges review applications, they’re not only looking for the strongest academic qualifications but also trying to predict which applicants will actually choose to attend. This “yield rate” – the percentage of admitted students who end up enrolling – is a key metric that colleges monitor closely. A high yield rate signals that a school is attracting students who are truly passionate about attending.

    By tracking demonstrated interest, admissions officers gain valuable insights into which applicants are the most engaged and committed. Things like campus visits, email inquiries, and interview attendance provide tangible evidence of a student’s sincere interest. Colleges can then use this information to help shape their incoming class and meet their enrollment goals.

    Demonstrated interest can be especially impactful at highly selective institutions. When admissions decisions come down to splitting hairs between similarly qualified applicants, measurable displays of interest can give some students an admissions edge. Colleges want to fill their incoming class with students who will be enthusiastic, engaged members of the campus community.

    demonstrated interest - Purdue University

    How to effectively demonstrate interest

    Now that you understand why demonstrated interest matters, the next step is learning how to effectively showcase your enthusiasm for a college. Here are some tips to maximize your impact:

    • Initiate contact early and often. Don’t wait until the last minute to reach out to a college – start engaging with them as soon as you can. This could mean signing up for their mailing list, following their social media, or attending a virtual info session.
    • Be genuine in your interactions. Admissions officers can spot inauthentic behavior a mile away. Make sure your outreach is thoughtful and tailored to each specific college, rather than generic mass communication.
    • Time your visits strategically. If possible, try to visit colleges in person, either for an official tour and info session or by exploring campus on your own. But be mindful of scheduling – colleges typically track demonstrated interest more closely in the months leading up to their application deadlines.
    • Follow up promptly. Whether it’s a thank-you email after an interview or a quick note to an admissions counselor, be diligent about following up on any interactions you have with a college. This helps demonstrate your continued commitment.

    • Don’t overdo it. While it’s important to engage regularly, you also don’t want to come across as a nuisance. Stick to a reasonable frequency of contact and avoid bombarding colleges with excessive messages or phone calls.

    By thoughtfully implementing these strategies, you can effectively communicate your genuine interest and enthusiasm for a college throughout the application process. Demonstrated interest may just be the factor that helps you stand out from the competition.

    Demonstrated interest and the admissions process

    demonstrated interest So how do colleges actually incorporate this factor into their admissions decisions?

    Admissions officers closely track and monitor the different touchpoints they have with applicants, such as campus visits, email inquiries, interview attendance, and more. They use this data to gauge the level of each student’s commitment and enthusiasm for attending their institution.

    Importantly, demonstrated interest is typically not the deciding factor in admissions – your academic qualifications, extracurricular achievements, and overall application strength will still be the primary considerations. However, demonstrated interest can serve as a “tie-breaker” of sorts when colleges are evaluating candidates with similar profiles.

    For example, let’s say two applicants have nearly identical grades, test scores, and extracurricular experiences. If one of those students has clearly demonstrated more active engagement with the college, they may have an advantage in the admissions process. The college will view that student as more likely to enroll if admitted.

    It’s worth noting that demonstrated interest is distinct from early decision or early action applications. With those programs, applicants make a binding commitment to attend a college if admitted. Demonstrated interest, on the other hand, is a more general signal of engagement that colleges use as one factor among many in their holistic review.

    So how do colleges actually incorporate this factor into their admissions decisions?

    Admissions officers closely track and monitor the different touchpoints they have with applicants, such as campus visits, email inquiries, interview attendance, and more. They use this data to gauge the level of each student’s commitment and enthusiasm for attending their institution.

    Importantly, demonstrated interest is typically not the deciding factor in admissions – your academic qualifications, extracurricular achievements, and overall application strength will still be the primary considerations. However, demonstrated interest can serve as a “tie-breaker” of sorts when colleges are evaluating candidates with similar profiles.

    For example, let’s say two applicants have nearly identical grades, test scores, and extracurricular experiences. If one of those students has clearly demonstrated more active engagement with the college, they may have an advantage in the admissions process. The college will view that student as more likely to enroll if admitted.

    It’s worth noting that demonstrated interest is distinct from early decision or early action applications. With those programs, applicants make a binding commitment to attend a college if admitted. Demonstrated interest, on the other hand, is a more general signal of engagement that colleges use as one factor among many in their holistic review.

    demonstrated interest

    List of colleges that track demonstrated interest

    While many colleges consider demonstrated interest to some degree, certain institutions are known to weigh this factor more heavily in their admissions decisions. Here is a list of some of the top colleges and universities that closely track and evaluate applicants’ demonstrated interest:

    • Boston University
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Case Western Reserve University
    • Clemson University
    • College of William & Mary
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Indiana University Bloomington
    • Miami University (Ohio)
    • Northeastern University
    • Ohio State University
    • Boston University
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Case Western Reserve University
    • Clemson University
    • College of William & Mary
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Indiana University Bloomington
    • Miami University (Ohio)
    • Northeastern University
    • Ohio State University
    • Purdue University
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Miami
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Vermont
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Virginia Tech
    • Purdue University
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    • Texas A&M University
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Miami
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Vermont
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Virginia Tech

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    As you can see, demonstrated interest is an important factor that colleges and universities use to gauge an applicant’s genuine enthusiasm and commitment to attending their institution. By actively engaging with a school, you can demonstrate that their university is one of your top choices. 

    Remember, demonstrated interest is just one piece of the college admissions puzzle, but by proactively showcasing your enthusiasm, you can give yourself an extra boost in the highly competitive process. If you’re looking for more guidance on how to make your college application stand out, reach out to one of our experts.

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