Like many other college hopefuls, you may be doing everything you can to ace your application. Which means you’ve probably looked up all possible ways to stand out. And you’re curious: “does demonstrated interest increase my chances of admission?”
College admissions has become increasingly competitive over time. There is a concept used in college admissions offices called “demonstrated interest” to indicate whether an applicant has expressed interest in a particular university. DI is looked at differently college to college, so in this article we wanted to discuss how demonstrated interest is calculated, where it matters, and what you as an applicant should do knowing this information.
First, let’s start with the basics.
What is demonstrated interest?
Demonstrated interest is a category of actions by students to illustrate how much a student wants to attend a particular college. Admissions offices can use it as a tool to rank potential admits. It also signals which students are serious about attending a college.
Essentially, colleges care about this because students who show high levels of demonstrated interest are more likely to attend the college if accepted. If you are serious, take steps now to build your profile.
However, repeatedly showing such interest can backfire if you come off as overly enthusiastic to busy recruiters. You’ll want to strike the balance of interested, enthusiastic, but not obnoxious. Ten emails to one person is too many! Please do be considerate of others’ time.
Next, let’s look at tangible steps.
What are ways you can show demonstrated interest?
There are a few blogs and forums that discuss which colleges like to see students that actively subscribe to emails, visit the campus, email professors, and other key attributes. But there is no single source of truth on the subject. That’s why we’ve done the research and compiled as much tangible information for you as possible.
- Applying early decision or early action shows strong demonstrated interest for a particular college. It means that you are bound to attend the college if accepted. Critically, early decision or restricted early action also prohibits you from applying to any other college early.
- Interviews. If you are offered an interview (even if it is optional), take it seriously. To do so, show up on time and participate.
- College tours show that you made the effort to visit and learn about the college. However, college tours can be expensive and time-consuming if you live far away. You will not be penalized for not visiting a college.
- You can also try college fairs and informational meetings. Again, you will not be penalized for not appearing in-person if it’s not possible.
- Reach out to college recruiters in your geographic area.
- Write the optional essays in the college application, if that makes sense for you.
- Another good idea is to sign up for college mailing list (you’ll learn more about the school, too).
- Additionally, reach out to professors at your college of interest. They may not respond, but that’s okay.
- Networking events with alumni are useful.
- You can even participate in any informational webinars or online chats hosted by the college.
How much does demonstrated interest increase your chances overall?
Here, we reach the ultimate question. How much does it help to demonstrate interest in a certain college to increase your chances of admission? Should you go on a college tour, attend informational meetings, and reach out to recruiters just to put your name out there?
Over the past few years, we at Empowerly have been working to aggregate this data in a definitive way across all US colleges. We have how the colleges rank demonstrated interest on a scale of 1-4, 4 being very important and 1 not considered, at all 4,000 US colleges.
Basically, it depends on the college. In other words, you’ll want to do your research. Some colleges will be more likely to accept students who show high levels of demonstrated interest. On the other hand, some colleges will not even consider it as a factor in college admissions decisions. Keep reading for more information about this.
Ok, so at which colleges does demonstrated interest really increase your chances?
These are some colleges that track demonstrated interest based on questions asked on applications. They do so with specific questions about what you like about the school, if/when you visited, attended informational meetings, who you have spoken to, and so on.
For instance, American University actually advises interested applicants to email the geographic admissions officer to demonstrate their interest. Another example is Tulane University, where over half of their freshmen applied restricted early action. That is a good indicator of strong interest because restricted means they cannot apply early anywhere else.
Below, you’ll find a list of universities that Empowerly knows considers demonstrated interest. If you want help researching your specific school list, let us know! The Empowerly team is here to help you.
- Tulane University
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Pomona College
- American University
- University of Rochester
- George Washington University
- Emory University
- Rice University
- Syracuse University
- Rhodes College
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Chicago
Which colleges care less about demonstrated interest, or not at all?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are schools that do not consider demonstrated interest like this important.
In fact, though it may be counterintuitive, colleges that receive abundant attention from applicants are less likely to weigh it heavily. For instance, Ivy League colleges, Stanford, and other highly selective and well-known colleges fall into this category of “high demand.” Instead, schools like this will likely pay far more attention to GPA, SAT/ACT scores, extracurriculars, and essays. Either way, it usually doesn’t hurt to present any form of demonstrated interest.
Review: does demonstrated interest increase a student’s chances?
In conclusion, it is useful to show demonstrated interest for schools you are genuinely interested. However, you should not rely on that to get you accepted over the main factors of your college application.
As mentioned before, ways to show interest include marking your attendance during physical college visits, emailing professors, subscribing to email and blog lists for that university, and getting into their digital database somehow. Many of these universities use sophisticated systems to track students, prospective students, partners, and more, usually in a CRM or similar database.
The key takeaway for students exploring this is to carefully assess whether the colleges actually care about DI. If they do not, realize that and make sure you bring a notebook to take in notes, meet professors, and learn about the campus. College visits are also useful to learn more about your unique preferences for different campuses. They can color your application essays with real-world examples. Of course, plenty of our students do not visit these colleges and research them online to learn more, and end up accepted.
We hope this helped you make sense of the process. Are you interested in college admissions help? If you are, we offer college counseling to help you with college applications.
In fact, sign up for a free initial consultation for with one of our teams and learn more about the Empowerly program below.