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What Do Colleges Want In Applications? Demonstrated Interest Explained

What do colleges look for in an applicant? Well, imagine you’re a college admissions officer trying to decide between two applicants in front of you. One is qualified to attend your college, but never came to visit, never showed up at a regional college fair, and never signed up for an alumni interview. The other did all those things. Whom would you admit?

Demonstrated Interest: Colleges Want It

Yep. You’d admit the student who had “demonstrated interest” in your school. A big reason why admissions officers look for demonstrated interest is because they want to admit students whom they believe will enroll in their school. Why? Because it saves a college time and money to admit these students, rather than those who will probably go elsewhere.

If you want to increase your chances of admission, then it’s a good idea to demonstrate interest in that college before applying. There are many ways for students to demonstrate interest in a school. These include:

  • Visit the campus if possible (if not, be sure to do some of the other items on this list).
  • Connect with the college’s regional admissions officer at your high school or at a regional college fair (be sure to fill out a contact card).
  • Email an admissions officer to ask specific questions about the college (a few questions is plenty).
  • Sign up to receive emails and other materials from the college (be sure to open all emails, as some schools track this).
  • Follow a school on social media and/or participate in an online chat (check the admissions website for these kinds of opportunities).
  • Correspond with a professor whose work interests you (again, a few questions at most).
  • Interview (either on campus or sign up for an alumni interview in your area).
  • Apply early.
  • Check the admissions website of the college you’re interested in to find out about these and other opportunities.