Franklin Countys First News

Coping with College: Demonstrated interest

Ellie Duley

By Ellie Duley

If you are a high school student who is planning to hit the road this summer and visit colleges, or if you are just thinking about colleges, learning about demonstrated interest is important.

What is demonstrated interest and why should you care? Both are good questions. Many colleges have a system to track your interest in them. This could be a result of the Commonapp. Colleges were starting to see what they called stealth applications. These applications were from students who had, prior to the submission of their application, shown no interest in the school.

These stealth applications proved problematic for colleges because colleges really only want to admit students who will at least consider attending. Colleges are very careful to track their numbers and if a large number of students who are accepted decide to attend than this is very, very good for the school. A very qualified student who applies, but hasn’t demonstrated any interest is a bit of a risk for colleges because they have no idea how interested, (probably not very if he hasn’t even signed up for mailings), this student is and how likely he is to attend if accepted. Colleges don’t want to mess up their numbers!

Demonstrating interest is easy and can be done in several ways. In some cases it might even tip the scales in your favor. If you are vying for a spot and are as equally qualified as a student who hasn’t demonstrated any interest the spot may go to you!

Visiting is the first and obvious choice for demonstrating interest. Make sure to register in advance and sign in when you get to admissions. Sometimes you will get a business card from your student tour guide at the end of the tour. If you have questions for them feel free to contact them. That is another touch point and sign of demonstrated interest. Please don’t contact them just to demonstrate interest-everyone is busy!

Social media is an easy an easy way to demonstrate interest. Like the school on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest. If the school is in snow country you will see lots of pretty pics of the first snowfall. Also, if you are into sports do the same with the sports team that you are interested in. If you hate basketball, but love women’s hockey then follow the women’s hockey team and skip men’s basketball unless you want to see promotional posts before every game. In other words, just follow what you are interested in.

You can also get on a mailing list by going online and telling the college a bit about yourself. You will get mail-email, regular mail and probably both. Some schools have virtual tours on their websites where you can actually demonstrate your interest as you tour the college from your bedroom. You will need to register for the virtual tour and this will put you on a marketing list so make sure it’s a school that you won’t mind hearing from.

Even emails to admissions to ask a quick question are often documented, but don’t overdo it here. Emails to professors could count as well.

If you are at a college fair and fill out the info card you will be put on a mailing list and this will show interest. Be careful how many ways you contact the school to get on their mailing lists and make sure that you use the same name every time. I have gotten duplicate mailings from colleges under both Ellie Duley and Eleanor Duley and it’s really frustrating. Especially if you care about the health of the planet!

If you take a business card from the admissions rep at a college fair and email her later this is also a form of demonstrated interest. If you have a burning question for the rep and don’t hear back immediately it may because she is on the road doing other fairs so be patient.

When college reps come to your school you will most likely sign up in guidance. You may even have a chance to talk with the rep one-on-one if other students can’t make it to the meeting.

No matter how you demonstrate interest you will most likely end up on a marketing or mailing list. This is one reason to be careful and deliberate about where you demonstrate your interest. You could get mailings and emails from colleges for years so don’t just contact a bunch of schools that you aren’t really interested in and ask for more info. On the other hand, if you even think you might be interested go on and demonstrate some interest. Colleges love to feel the love.

Ellie Duley is a certified school counselor and is currently working privately with students and their families all around the state of Maine, with all aspects of the college process.

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1 Responses »

  1. Thanks for this well informed and insightful analysis Ellie. I had no idea that universities would consider this a factor though there again it's been a few years since I had a horse in the race so to speak.