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12 Ways Students Can Demonstrate Interest to Colleges

Demonstrated interest is the process by which students display their interest in a particular college by engaging in activities that then become known to the college’s admission committee. Here are 12 suggestions for improving your demonstrated interest profile. The degree to which colleges consider demonstrated interest varies dramatically from "not at all" to "very important."

1. Recruitment Material: Respond early to recruitment mailings and emails from colleges to get on mailing lists.

2. Request Info: Fill out “Request Info” form on college admissions website to get on mailing lists.

3. Become “College Literate”: Research college websites to become literate about specific strengths and signature programs at each school in preparation to talk with college representatives on campus, online or by phone.

4. College Fairs: Attend college fairs, ask questions, and sign up for more info or give the college rep your card.

5. Social Media: “Like” the college’s Facebook page and other social media. Be careful with this if you have aFacebook page with any inappropriate comments in the news feed. Admissions officers can also find you thisway.

6. Campus Visits: Sign up for and attend campus tours and information sessions. Many colleges pay attention tothe efforts that students take to visit their college, especially full pay students. According the The Chronicle ofHigher Education, many colleges will not accept students if they have not taken the time to visit their campus ifit is within six hours drive time from the student’s home. Some colleges waive the admissions fee if the student comes for a campus tour. Always try to find out who the local admissions rep is while at a campus visit and ask for his/her card.

7. College Interviews: Interviewing with either an alumni interviewer, and especially an admissions officer, putsyour face to the name on your application, and gives you the opportunity to talk about your strengths and howthey would fit with the strengths and mission of the school, which you have already researched.

8. Supplemental Essays: A targeted supplemental essay showing you understand the strengths and programs ofthe college to which you are applying and how it fits with your strengths will show admissions that you will be agood match for their school. If you really feel that this college is your first choice, state it clearly in thesupplement.

9. Apply ED, EA, or REA: Applying early shows the college that the student believes this is the best fit college for them. Applying Early Action, although non-binding, shows proactivity in the process and interest in the college. Restrictive Early Action, an option for colleges like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, is similar to ED except it is non-binding, but restricts the applicant from applying early to any other private college, so in that way it shows singular focus. Selective Early Action is an option at Tulane (which offers EA and SEA), and lets the student tell the school just how interested they are without the decision being binding. Acceptance rates are usually higher for Early Applications; however, the applicant pool is usually stronger.

10. Apply Before Any Deadline Date: Instead of waiting until the deadline to submit an application, submitting an early application in the weeks before the deadline gives some admissions offices a chance to consider your application first and make a decision before the rush of other applications. As a Cornell admissions rep once stated, “Better to be the #2 tuba player considered than the #20 tuba player.”

11. Thank You notes or emails: If an Admissions Officer or Alumni Interviewer has either interviewed you or beenof help in answering questions, students should at the very least send a thank you email and preferably a handwritten and mailed note. Since handwritten notes are a dying tradition, this will especially make the studentstandout for the effort they took. Plus, it is the polite thing to do!

12. Waitlist: If a student is waitlisted and interested in attending a college, he/she should mail their waitlist replycard ASAP and discuss with their high school counselor and IEC the best way to communicate with the college during the waitlist period. Generally, I recommend a student write a note to the school including any new information that would show positive progress and reiterate interest, and then follow up with another short note about a month later. Even if the student does not get off the waitlist, they can look back on the process and know that they did everything in their power to communicate their interest.