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Showing Demonstrated Interest

Below are actions students can take to show “demonstrated interest” in colleges and universities. Showing demonstrated interest can help gain admission at some colleges and universities.


After submitting an application there are some actions students can take that will make a difference at many colleges, particularly independent colleges and universities. It’s called “demonstrated interest.” Students show demonstrated interest when they take various actions that signal to schools that students are seriously interested. And it can possibly increase chances of admission.


Not all colleges factor demonstrated interest into their admission process; but many do. Some schools let students know that they are looking for various types of contact. Other schools keep track of contacts, but do not tell applicants.


That some schools consider demonstrated interest can motivate applicants to interact with colleges in ways that they would not have otherwise. In the process applicants can make contacts that are beneficial.

An applicant that submits the Common Application and makes no other contact with a school will have less change of being admitted than an applicant that has had other contacts with that school. While this may not seem fair to some applicants, schools want to admit students who are genuinely interested in attending. Schools want a high “yield,” which is the percentage of students they admit who actually enroll. If they only receive an application and nothing else, that is not encouraging to them.

There are several actions that can be taken to show demonstrated interest. Not all of these ways have to be completed (for example, an interview is one way, but does not have to be done).


1. Applicants can visit schools, before applying or after applying but before the decisions are made. When applicants visit, they should take a student guided tour and fill out the information card so the school knows the applicant has been there.

2. Applicants can have an interview on or off campus, if possible. After the interview, send a thank you note to the interviewer.

3. If an admission counselor comes to an applicant’s school or town and the applicant is invited for an information session or an interview the applicant should go. If the applicant cannot go, he/she should respond to the invitation with gratitude and explain why he/she can’t make it: an exam, a game, a play rehearsal, etc.


4. Students should keep in touch with the admission counselor who visits the student’s region and is the first reader of the school’s applications. If the student receives recognition for something after sending in the application, the student should let him or her know about it. This could be recognition that’s academic, athletic, artistic, or for some extracurricular activity.


5. If an applicant is interested in a particular major, the student can contact that department to find out about internship opportunities or areas of professors’ emphases. If a professor is impressed with the student’s level of interest, he or she is likely to let the admission office know.


6. Similarly, if there is a particular activity that interests the applicant he or she can be in touch with the person in charge: soccer coach, Hillel Director, head of the music or theater department, debate team coach, faculty advisor to the campus newspaper, etc.


It is not possible to figure out which schools include demonstrated interest in their admission decision. Students should not spend time trying to figure this out, but should spend time demonstrating genuine interest in each college to which they have applied.