In today’s college admissions cycle, schools rely heavily on the notion of “demonstrated interest” to determine whether a student should receive an offer of admission.
The first thing to understand is that many colleges track every single one of your visits — both physical and electronic/virtual — in order to determine your level of demonstrated interest. From their perspective, they place the highest value on attendance at on-campus events such as tours, open houses, and information sessions.
Developing a strong level of demonstrated interest throughout all stages of the application process is important, but more specifically, attending as many on-site college events as possible should be your top priority and here’s why — visit(s) are logged, tracked and quantified by the school in excruciating detail.
A high level of demonstrated interest directly influences the student’s chances of receiving an offer of admission. As researchers at Lehigh University show in their recent article titled, Demonstrated Interest: Signaling Behavior in College Admissions , “By making on-site contacts, applicants could increase the probability of their admission by about 22 percentage points if the applicant is in the second highest SAT quartile, or by about 34 percentage points if the applicant is in the highest SAT quartile.”
Every year, colleges turn to Slate — a data-gathering platform used by more than 750 schools — to gain detailed knowledge such as the frequency and length of time each student spends on the school website. In fact, through Slate, schools even know how many times you have phoned the Admissions Office, whether you’ve opened their marketing emails, and which links on the website you have clicked on. For this reason, students also need to signal their interest in certain colleges by making the most of virtual demonstrated interest.
Below is a check-list to follow for strengthening your overall level of demonstrated interest:
- ON-CAMPUS VISIT/TOUR/INFORMATION SESSION
College visits that are unofficial do not count. Be sure to sign up through the Admissions Office for an official visit. If an on-campus visit is impossible, take a virtual tour through the school website.
- OPEN HOUSE
Attend a campus open house, often scheduled in the fall.
- LOCAL RECEPTION/INFORMATION SESSION
Take advantage of local opportunities to connect by attending an Admissions event hosted by a local alumni club. Usually, the Admissions Representative assigned to your geographical region will give a presentation and answer questions from students and their parents.
- COLLEGE FAIR
Connect with your local Admissions Representative or an alum at a college fair.
- SCHOOL WEBSITE
Explore the website and visit academic departments, organizations, sports, and events pages.
Taken together, the on-site and virtual visits comprise a certain quantifiable level of demonstrated interest for each and every applicant. Used correctly and strategically, these suggestions for improving your demonstrated interest in a school will help strengthen your application and get you one step closer to an offer of admission.