Is There Such a Thing as Demonstrating Too Much Interest?

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Gelyna Price
Gelyna Price

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You doubtless know that demonstrating interest is an important part of the college admissions process. A point may come, though, when you ask yourself whether it’s possible to go overboard. Is it negative if a student is demonstrating too much interest in a college? And how do you know if you are doing this?

The short answer is “yes.” Demonstrating too much interest can accomplish exactly the opposite of what you’re intending. Instead of coming across to a college as genuinely interested, you run the risk of sounding desperate at best and disturbingly obsessive at worst.

So, how do you walk that line between showing interest and coming on too strong? Here are some general rules to help you navigate that problem. 

College Counselor Tips on Balancing Demonstrated Interest

Don’t be overly enthusiastic.

In actuality, this can come across as desperate. This includes things like showing up unannounced at the college’s admissions office just to chat and make an impression on the admissions officers; or even sending supplemental materials to a college that doesn’t accept them. Keep in mind that these people are incredibly busy, especially at this time of year. Anything that you do that takes up more of their time (like trying to get them to chat with you and get to know you in the office) is likely to be annoying, which of course doesn’t leave a positive impression.

Skip the hollow gestures.

Making contact purely for the sake of contact is typically a bad idea. If you have genuine questions about the school that you can’t find answers to online or on the school’s website, then feel free to ask (try to limit this to once or twice, though). Don’t invent questions or ask easily answered questions just to make contact, though. If you’ve already emailed the admissions office once or twice, and have more questions, be creative! Ask current or former students who you happen to know socially or who are friends of friends. This way you won’t be overwhelming (and potentially annoying) the admissions office with constant emails.

Definitely, don’t ask anyone to break rules for you.

Avoid anything that could possibly be considered bribery. This should go without saying, and of course you wouldn’t slip an envelope of cash to someone in the admissions office. Don’t blur the line, though; bringing a box of chocolates to the office, or even having flowers delivered, isn’t okay either. Save the gifts and tokens of gratitude and appreciation for after you’ve been admitted!

As you go on your way…

As a general rule, if you wonder if something is demonstrating too much interest or coming on too strong, err on the side of caution by not doing it. Basically, if you’ve done everything in our recent article on how to demonstrate interest in a college, you’re probably good to go. More isn’t necessarily better, and if you’ve covered the basics, focus your attention elsewhere instead of trying to score extra “interest” points.

Questions? Let us know!