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  • Nitin Jain

Ways to Show Demonstrated Interest + Colleges That Track It

Updated: Apr 26

Admissions officers are under enormous pressure to meet their enrollment goals by May 1st of each year. The best way to meet enrollment is to have a high yield rate, which refers to the percentage of admitted applicants that go on to enroll in the institution. The best way to have a high yield rate is to admit students whom you suspect are highly motivated to enroll at your college over all of their other prospective schools. The measure that admissions officers use to hone in on candidates who are likely to enroll is called demonstrated interest. Demonstrated interest refers to the actions a student takes to show their interest in a college or university. Demonstrating interest can be an important factor in the admissions process, as it shows the college or university that the student is serious about attending.

Here are some ways students can demonstrate interest in colleges:

  1. Apply Early

Early application, especially for an early decision, demonstrates to the college that you value it highly and that you are willing to attend it.

2. Join the college’s mailing list

Sign up to receive marketing materials from colleges. This is a great way to be looped into events and other opportunities to engage and learn more. Typically, admissions offices will have a spot on their webpage to sign up to receive more information. Doing this will identify you as a prospective applicant. Colleges can also see if you open their emails. You don’t need to open every single one, but instead, just the ones that are genuinely of interest to you—a major you may be interested in pursuing, an announcement for an open house, etc. If there’s a link in the email, follow the link.

3. Attend Information Sessions and Campus Tours

Campus tours and information sessions, whether in-person or virtual, are a great way to learn more about a school before you decide if you want to apply. This is where you can see the campus, learn about the school and its offerings from an admissions officer, and get your questions about applying answered by school representatives. This is one of the best ways to demonstrate your interest, as registering for these tours and sessions records your visit to the school. A virtual tour and information session can also help you decide if you want to invest in visiting the campus in person. Colleges track your participation in these, too.

4. Follow Colleges on Social Media

Many colleges host live sessions on social media to show the unique aspects of their school and to offer a live Q&A with students, faculty, and alumni. Visiting a college’s social media page also offers a glimpse into campus social life as well as fun extracurricular and organized activities that may be offered. Checking out their pictures and videos can give you a good idea of whether this is your cup of tea–or not!

5. Contact your regional admissions officer

Your regional admissions officer is a great resource! Students can email their regional admissions officer to ask questions that are not easily found online. Admissions officers can also connect you with professors and faculty to answer more specific questions about their departments, class sizes, teaching preferences, etc., or even other students if you want to learn more about campus life or student lifestyle!

6. Attend College Fairs

Attend virtual or in-person college fairs and stop by the college’s booth. Colleges typically gather attendee information for the students they interact with and track attendance. It is also a great opportunity to introduce yourself to your regional admissions representative, ask questions, and chat with them one-on-one. This allows them to become familiar with you and put a face to your name.

7. Sign up for optional admission interviews

If you are a senior, sign up for an admission interview, if offered. Interviews not only help you learn more about a prospective college or university but also help them learn more about you. Think of it as an opportunity to tell them about anything you may not have been able to include in your application.

8. Be purposeful and thoughtful in your supplemental essays

Many schools require applicants to compose an essay about why their school appeals to them. Take this invitation as a serious opportunity to show an admissions committee that you’ve done your homework on their school. This serves the purpose of conveying that you are genuinely excited about enrolling.

9. Connect with professors

Reach out to professors with genuine queries. You can mention these interactions in your essay to demonstrate curiosity and proactiveness. But before you contact them, learn about the department, read up on the university’s research, and ensure your interests align.

Here is a list of colleges that consider demonstrated interest:

To understand which of these programs is ideal for you, speak to your mentors at OnCourse who will be able to make the most effective recommendations while keeping in mind your interests, your current academic standing, and your resume. If you are not enrolled with OnCourse, reach out to set up a consultation meeting to understand more about our mentoring programs for students from Grade 8 to Grade 12.

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