How to Demonstrate Interest

In the world of the Common Application, demonstrating interest is showing colleges that you are truly interested in their institution and not just checking a box. Why do colleges care? Colleges are very interested in yield, or the number of students who are admitted that choose to enroll. Yield is important because it has become a proxy for popularity—the higher the yield, the more popular the school. Yield is also an important number in the US News and World Report rankings. If colleges want to move up the ranks, increasing yield numbers is very important.  In general, the highly selective colleges (think Stanford and the Ivies) do not need to measure if students are interested, they are always going to have high yield numbers. However, many other private and public institutions use demonstrated interest as a factor in admissions. 

For our College Calm students, check each school on your list to determine if they care about demonstrated interest. The scale is: VERY IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT, CONSIDERED, NOT CONSIDERED. You can find this on your College Kickstart report from your family meeting or in Counselmore in the grid version. If demonstrated interest is considered, important or very important, you should do a few of the following things, so each school knows you are genuinely interested. 


10 Ways to Demonstrate Interest at Colleges

  1. Apply Early Decision (ED): This is the ultimate form of demonstrating interest as you you telling them you will attend if admitted. No question on yield here.
  2. Apply Early Action (EA): Submitting your application for early action shows you are a student who can get things done and that this school is important enough to you to complete it early. 
  3. Rock your supplemental Essays: The essay questions colleges require you to write have significance– they want to learn more about you to decide if you are a good fit for their school. You need to do a ton of thinking, researching, and revising to write a strong supplemental essay.
  4. Attend a college visit to your school: Admissions representatives will be traveling virtually and in-person to your school. Did you know that often time the person who does the visit is also the person who reads your application? Visits are happening RIGHT NOW. Check with your college and career office or look on Naviance/ Scoir/Maia. Sign up, attend and ask some questions.
  5. Visit the college in person: If you have the time and the means, it is great to visit campuses. It shows you are willing to travel and you also get to meet current students and “see” what it is like on and around campus.
  6. Request a virtual/ in-person Interview: Check the school’s interview policy and if interviews are offered, look online for ways to sign up. ** only for seniors
  7. Request Information: Proactively find a button on the admission’s website that says something like, “request information,” “inquire,” or “join our mailing list”. 

  8. Open emails: If a college you are interested in sending you an email, open it. They are keeping track of what you open, what you click on, and how long you spend on their site. **** You do not need to open everything!

  9. Attend a virtual event/visit: If you cannot visit in-person, go to the school’s website and sign up for a virtual event. Some will be live, and others will be asynchronous. Live events are often more interesting. 

  10. Reach out to a faculty member or coach: If you know what you want to study, ask the admissions office if there is a faculty member they recommend you contact. You can also email a faculty member that is doing work you are interested in pursuing in college. If you think you could be a recruited athlete, look on the website and contact the coach.


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Some Truths about Testing

Standardized testing is often the most unpleasant and anxiety-producing part of the college admissions process. We wanted to take the time to answer your most pressing questions and give you the resources you need to figure out what is best for you. In the coming months, we will also go more in-depth into different topics addressed below.

What do my PSAT Scores mean? (more…)

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What is the difference between a liberal arts college and a research university?

Below are definitions and examples of different types of colleges (liberal arts colleges, research universities, specialty schools and comprehensive colleges). Much of the content is from College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, by Robin Mamlet and Christine Vandevelde. This is a great book if you are looking for a comprehensive and easy to read book for both parents and students about the college process.


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What’s in a College Mission Statement?

Choosing the type of college that matches your educational priorities and goals is just one step in the process of finding schools that are a good match for you. One of the best places to start is to look at a school’s mission statement or letter from the President. The language, tone and content of a mission statement can tell you about university priorities, values and strengths.


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