College Corner: Explanation of Demonstrated Interest

Cristele Moztarzadeh, Copy Editor

With most early action and early decision deadlines over, college applicants continue to look for ways to strengthen their profile. Displaying demonstrated interest works in prospective students’ favor because it lets college admissions officers know just how much you would like to go to the school in question. 

There remain a variety of strategies to showcase demonstrated interest. With the pandemic, it may be hard to visit colleges, a common form of demonstrated interest. However, virtual tours and online video interviews work as great replacements to get a feel of the campus and put your best foot forward. Many schools have sections on their undergraduate website where one may schedule an interview. Interviews allow for admissions officers to receive a more personal insight on yourself and help you stand out within the thousands of applicants. 

If unable to schedule an interview through Zoom or another video-chatting session, emailing stands as a great alternative. Emailing the admissions officers of any school and asking them questions about the application process or the school itself tells them how you wish to perfect your application and your eagerness to attend. Your questions could vary from school-life to specific classes you wish to take. Any inquiries you have about a specific school should definitely be asked.  Admissions officers aim to aid interested students, so make sure you reach out to schools of interest. 

When reaching out to admissions officers, make sure you include aspects about yourself which make you stand out from other applicants. Try to ask unique questions which you may not find on the school’s website. If you want to learn more about a major, research beforehand and ask about certain teachers or classes which fall under that major. If you take interest in a certain social aspect of the school, explain why you care so much about it, say the school’s inclusivity or competitiveness and how you could help the school in terms of that aspect.  

Attending college fairs, many of which have turned virtual, and signing your name to receive emails from the school works as a show of demonstrated interest as well. However, keeping track of the emails remains extremely important too. Some colleges know when you open and click on the information provided in the email.

Reading your emails may help you discover types of demonstrated interest for schools. Although the amount of emails you receive every day may seem overwhelming, they really work in your favor. Many college emails include meeting dates and important information about the school.

A very effective form of demonstrated interest lies in your essays. For schools which ask the popular “Why Us?” prompt, take careful consideration into what you write. Explain how the school in particular would be the best school for you and vice versa. For schools with different supplemental essays, if they offer you an “Additional Information” section, you could use it to write about why the school and you seem like the perfect match.   

Keep in mind, all schools use demonstrated interest differently. Some barely use it at all, unless you create a great personal connection with an admissions officer. According to a National Association for College Admissions Counseling 2017 report, approximately 14% of colleges find demonstrated interest extremely important and 26% said it was moderately important. Definitely check if the school you wish to show demonstrated interest in takes notice of it beforehand. 

If you show a significant amount of interest in a school, college admissions officers are bound to take note of it. This may ultimately help you get into the school of your choice.