9 Ways to Demonstrate Interest in a College

Applying to College, Building Your College List, College Visits

OK – So you’ve done your research, and decided that you really like a college. If you’ve read our blog on Demonstrated Interest, you know it’s important to show the college you are serious – but how? It’s easy – below are some of the ways we recommend!

LOW LEVEL DEMONSTRATED INTEREST

1. Connect and engage on social media
If you are already using social media, go ahead and connect with your colleges! Comment on their posts. Share or retweet what you like. Make sure to mention your top choice schools in your own social media posts. And never, ever badmouth any college in any online forum.

2. Get on the mailing list – and READ the emails
This can be done any time – simply visit the college’s website and sign up. When the college sends you email, OPEN IT. Click on the links. Colleges utilize technologies behind the scenes to see which applicants are actually reading their emails. Ignoring them can work against you! (Also, read this post on managing the influx of email that will follow.)

HIGHER LEVEL DEMONSTRATED INTEREST

3. Attend the Info Sessions (online or at your high school)
College admissions reps host a variety of information sessions, virtually and in-person. They may even visit your high school! These are scheduled events that you must register for. And the colleges are keeping track of who attends. Make an effort to attend info sessions for the colleges you are serious about – and register, so they know you were there. Try to ask questions, and introduce yourself to the representative, which may be the same person who eventually reads your application.

4. Visit the table at a college fair
College fairs are an excellent place to learn about lots of colleges all at once, and the regional admissions officer will often staff the table. Take the time to chat with the colleges you have your eye on – it’s a wonderful way to get questions answered by the people who know the college best, while also making a good impression. And be sure to fill out a contact card!

5. Call or email the admissions office
Admissions officers are friendly people (I know because I call them all the time!) and they love to talk to prospective students. So get in touch! Make sure your questions are things that can’t be found on the website – otherwise it will seem that you haven’t bothered to do your research.

VERY HIGH LEVEL DEMONSTRATED INTEREST

6. Visit campus, if possible
This is one of the strongest signals you can send to show your interest, not to mention the best way to learn about the college up close and personal. When you visit, sign up for the official tour, ask to sit in on a class and consider staying overnight in the dorms if this is offered. If you go when no tours are offered, be sure to register for a walking/driving tour, or email the admissions office afterwards to let them know you were there.

7. Sign up for an interview
Many colleges offer prospective students the opportunity to interview as part of the application process. These help the student learn more about the college, and also help the college learn more about the student. They can be conducted on campus, off-campus or virtually. Check each colleges’ website to see what they offer – and be sure to send a thank you note after your interview!

8. Write strong supplemental essays
The school-specific essays are one of the most important places to demonstrate that you’d be a great fit at a particular college. Many colleges will ask directly: “Why Do You Want to Go Here?” Others will construct questions that reflect their school’s mission or values. The purpose is the same – to gauge how well an applicant will fit at the school. Do your research before writing these essays, and let your knowledge of the school shine through.

9. Apply early
Applying Early Decision is the strongest way to show a college that they are your number one choice. This is why most colleges accept ED applicants as a much higher rate than Regular Decision applicants – they love students who are “sure-bets.” Early Decision is not for everyone though, so if you aren’t ready to commit to just one school early in the game, applying Early Action still shows a strong level of interest. At the very least, get your application in well before the Regular Decision deadline to show the college you care enough not to wait until the last minute.

If you aren’t able to do all these things, don’t fret. Colleges know the limitations that students face and don’t expect you to do all of it. But many of the items above can be done by anyone who takes the time and effort. So do what you can, and don’t sweat what you can’t.

If you decide to sign up for one of our programs, we will tell you exactly which of your colleges track demonstrated interest and help you use this strategy to your best advantage. Schedule your free 15 minute consultation to learn more!

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