Demonstrated interest is very simply showing a college that you have an interest in them. You see, colleges are a lot like you in that they like to be liked. Think about it. If someone is nice to you and asks you lots of questions about you and shows an interest in you, aren’t you going to like those people? Of course you are.
Colleges want to know who likes them because they are trying to figure out the business side of college. If they offer you an acceptance, are you likely to attend their college? If not, then they want to find other people who are more likely to come if invited.
So how do you show interest in a college? You visit the college. You attend presentations where that college is going to be present. You stop by the college’s booth at one of the national college fairs. You email the admissions representative that covers your state and ask some good questions about the college. You interview. You send them your test scores.
Do you need to do all of these things? No. But the more interest you show the more they will believe that you are a good candidate for their college.
Now let’s be clear. Showing interest in a college will do you no good unless you have the grades and test scores that make you a reasonable candidate for that college. It is not a replacement for grades and test scores.
Finally, not all colleges use demonstrated interest in their admissions decisions. Although it varies from college to college, generally the colleges that are more likely to use demonstrated interest are the smaller colleges that take a more holistic approach to admissions. But there are some mid sized research colleges that also use demonstrated interest. Two that come immediately to mind are Washington University in St. Louis and Emory University.
But the number of colleges who use demonstrated interest is increasing. In the 2012 State of College Admissions Report that just came out last week, 21% of colleges said demonstrated interest was of considerable importance which is a higher percentage than counselor recommendation, class rank, teacher recommendations, subject test scores or interviews. Moreover, 30% of colleges said it was of moderate importance and 25% said it was of limited importance.
So, keep this in mind if you hear that a college in which you may have an interest is going to be visiting your high school. It’s worth it to take a few minutes to show your interest.
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