As we continue our discussion on demonstrated interest, we wanted to dedicate Part Three of our multipart series to diving deeper into what colleges say about demonstrating interest. In a recent conversation with admissions officers from around the country, the consistent message shared from each college was that demonstrating interest is not just about checking off a list of things to do to make a college think you love them. Colleges can tell the difference between authentic interest and those applicants that are feigning interest. Demonstrated interest is not about “gaming the system,” but rather it is a true effort by students to learn more about a college.
The applicants that have done their due diligence in researching a college to make sure the school is a good fit for them will not have to worry about the college noticing their interest. In many cases, merely signing up for the mailing lists and opening the tracked emails is not enough. Reaching out to professors to learn more about a specific program, sitting in on a class while visiting campus, shadowing a current student, reaching out to the local admissions representatives, attending any local college fairs or information sessions, joining any online college fairs or live discussions, and interviewing when offered the opportunity will provide students with a deeper understanding of a college’s programs, strengths and values. This knowledge will ultimately show through in application essays and conversations with admissions officers.
While the interactions are tracked and sometimes assigned a point value in the admissions office, the true benefits of the applicant’s effort to learn more is invaluable. The effort to learn as much as possible about a college helps both the applicant and the college determine fit. Colleges want to make good, sound decisions for the benefit of the institution, but students should also place a high importance on making sure an institution is a match for them both socially and academically to ensure a future of comfort, happiness and success.
Students who put in the effort to research a college only to determine that a college is not a fit for them should never feel like they wasted their time. Not only did they learn more about themselves and potentially avoid ending up somewhere they would not thrive, but the steps a student takes will help boost confidence and build soft skills like interpersonal, communication and business skills that are so important in everyday life.