As you start your college search, you may come across the term “demonstrated interest.”
We’re going to explain the importance of demonstrated interest in college admissions. We’re also going to give some tips to get into the college of your dreams.
What Is Demonstrated Interest?
Demonstrated Interest means exactly what it sounds like. It refers to the amount of interest you show a specific college in attending their school. If you show a college that you’re enthusiastic about attending their school, that is demonstrating interest.
Colleges use demonstrated interest to gauge how serious you are about attending their school. They also use demonstrated interest to estimate the number of accepted students that will ultimately attend their school.
Colleges know that you have some level of interest if you’re applying in the first place. But, they also understand they aren’t the only school you’re applying to.
How Important Is Demonstrated Interest?
You would think that all colleges would use demonstrated interest during admissions. After all, it can help them measure how interested applicants are in their school. In reality, only about 37% of colleges use it.
Colleges decide on an individual basis whether to use demonstrated interest. The good thing for you is that colleges are upfront about it. They typically share this information on their admissions website.
Colleges that use demonstrated interest are more likely to admit students with a high interest in their school. But, they also won’t jump to admit students who aren’t a good fit for their school in the first place. That means that only showing interest in a school won’t make up for low grades.
If a college doesn’t use demonstrated interest, no amount of interest you show will make a difference.
How Can I Show Demonstrated Interest?
Now that you understand demonstrated interest, let’s explore how you can use it to your advantage. At the end of the day, demonstrated interest can help set you apart from other candidates with similar qualifications.
So, what kinds of actions can you take to show demonstrated interest? Here are a few:
- Visit the college. As we mentioned, college visits are a great way to see if a college is a good fit for you. You’ll be able to tour the campus, meet with an admissions officer, and even speak to current students. Some schools offer fly-in programs to help low-income students pay for the visit.
- Attend college fairs. This can be a great alternative to visiting colleges if you aren’t able to. It allows you to have face-to-face conversations with representatives from the college. If you attend one of these fairs, make sure you sign up for their email list. This will not only show interest, but it will also prove that you were there.
- Attend online events. Many colleges offer webinars or online events. Attending these events is another good way to show interest.
- Communicate with the admissions office. Being in consistent contact with the admissions office can be a positive thing. We don’t suggest that you bombard them with trivial questions every day. But, inquiring about things like internship opportunities shows that you are serious about the school.
- Sign up for the school’s email list and start opening emails. Many schools use a database tool to track whether applicants open emails.
- Apply early. This is another way to show the college that you are serious about going there. If you know that you want to attend the school, apply through early decision. In this case, if the college accepts you, you will have to attend.
- Meet with an admissions officer during a high school visit. Some colleges send admissions officers to high schools to talk with students. If they come to your school, be sure to meet them.
- Arrange an alumni interview. This is a great way to find out more about school while showing your interest. If you can’t travel to the campus, this is a good alternative.
- Follow the school on social media. If you are interested in attending a school, you’re likely following them on social media. If not, now is the time because it’s a great way to show interest. ‘Like’ their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Colleges can track your interactions with their social media accounts. So, don’t be shy with those likes and retweets. Make sure that your interactions are genuine.
Schools That Use Demonstrated Interest
Here is a list of some schools that use demonstrated interest. This list isn’t exclusive so if you don’t see a school on here, check their website.
- American University
- Boston University
- Brandeis University
- Case Western University
- Cooper Union
- Georgia Tech
- Ithaca College
- Lehigh University
- New York University
- Northwestern University
- Skidmore College
- Tulane University
- Trinity College
- University of Arizona
- United States Naval Academy
- University of Florida
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- University of Michigan
- Washington University in St. Louis
Schools That Don’t Use Demonstrated Interest
Here are some schools that do not consider demonstrated interest:
- Arizona State University
- Boston College
- Bowdoin College
- Brown University
- Bucknell University
- Clemson University
- Colorado State University
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Emory University
- Georgetown University
- Harvard University
- Kettering University
- Ohio State University
- Princeton University
- Stanford University
- Towson University
- University of California (all branches)
- University of Georgia
- University of Kentucky
- University of Oregon
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Wesleyan University
- Yale University
Colleges use demonstrated interest to measure how interested an applicant is in their school. Is it the end all be all? Absolutely not!
Demonstrated interest alone won’t guarantee your admission. Your grades, test scores, and personal statement are much more important. Devote time into demonstrating interest only after you have taken care of everything else.
Finally, make sure that your actions come off as authentic. If you are interested in a school, it will be easy, and useful for you to show it.