College prep courses, grade point average, SAT and ACT scores, among many other factors, are all important to a student’s chances of acceptance at a school. However, most students forget the value of showing demonstrated interest. The value of demonstrated interest continues to climb, especially with the available means students have now through social media and other avenues to reach out to schools easily.
So what does this mean to you as a student?
Showing demonstrated interest could be the final deciding factor in whether a school decides to accept or reject your application. You may have stellar grades, excelled in the toughest coursework, scored very well on your SAT or ACT scores, but if a school has many other applicants in the same boat, they are going to most likely pick the candidate who showed interest in other ways than a college application.
How can you show demonstrated interest?
If you’re not sure how to show this interest, here are a few ways to demonstrate it to your top choice school.
#1: Request information online
The majority of schools have a way to request information online. You can even request an informational brochure that schools mail out. You can subscribe to the college’s newsletter or other options they have available, which will ultimately show you are interested in that school.
Whether a school interviews is up to them, but if they give you the option, take the time to interview with the school. This interview could be on or off campus, and you should take advantage of this if they give you the opportunity. You could make a positive impression on the person deciding on applicants or at least someone who can pass along a note of approval.
#3: Tour the Campus
You can show demonstrated interest by attending a campus tour. You want to make sure it’s official by filling out a campus tour card, so the admissions office has record of your visit. It’s also a good time to familiarize yourself with the campus in case you attend.
#4: Contact Admissions
Reach out to the admissions representative. Whether this is by e-mail, scheduling a visit to see them personally, or even reaching out by phone, making a connection with the office of admissions will show your interest prior to sending in your application.
When applying to your top college, everything listed as optional should be included on your to-do list! If the school gives you an opportunity to provide an essay, then you need to complete it thoroughly and thoughtfully. Put effort into your essay and make sure you stand out. Just completing an essay that did not require thought or your best effort will only hurt your chances because you will come across as sloppy. It’s one of the first opportunities to really set yourself apart from the other candidates.
#6. Connect through Social Media
When your parents were applying to college, they most likely did not have the opportunity to connect to colleges as easily as you do. Connect through your school with Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlets the school uses. Respond to comments on their page, discuss a recent visit or something you like about the school. These kinds of actions will help you stand out.
#7: College Fairs
When they are available to you, make sure you attend a college fair if your school is attending. While any student can look through a website for information, the college will see your interest if you attend and visit with a rep. Make a point to give your name and fill out any forms to let them know you attended. It’s not enough to show your face if they don’t remember you.
#8: Early Decision
Applying early decision is the ultimate way to show your demonstrated interest in a school, BUT it’s only the right way to go if you are absolutely positive that this school is the right school for you. Applying through early decision will show the school you’re definitely ready to attend, so much so that you can make that decision ahead of time. If early admissions was a relationship, you would be letting the college know that you want to be more than just friends. Colleges love this because they can count all the early decision members as part of the freshman class.
At the end of the day, colleges just want to know that you genuinely want to attend their school. They have hundreds of thousands (well, it depends on the school) of applicants sending in their applications each year, and you want to set yourself apart from the rest of the herd. Convincing them early on of your interest will increase your chances of acceptance, and there are many ways to demonstrate this interest (even before your junior or senior year). If you know which school you want to attend, make sure you do apply early, since this is the last step of demonstrated interest.
Optimum Ed guides student through the entire college admission process to find the right college for the right career. Call us today at 800-457-1364 or send us a message.