If you don’t know what “demonstrated interest” is, keep reading. It could be the difference between getting accepted or receiving a rejection letter at some of the colleges on your list.
The term is practically self-explanatory. To demonstrate interest means to show that you are interested in something. In this case, your favorite colleges. Why is this important? OK, imagine you are on a college admissions committee. You open a file and see that the young lady has a 3.75 GPA, good test scores, was an officer in a club and has a history of volunteering. Nice, you think to yourself. The very next folder is almost a carbon copy of the previous folder; so much so that you check the name. You pause for a moment because you recognize the name of the applicant on the second folder. This young lady visited the campus last spring and introduced herself to you after the tour. She got your contact information and wrote you a nice thank you note. What really impressed you about her is that she has continued to send you updates on her activities and achievements. She even asked your opinion on a couple electives for her senior schedule. So, if you had to decide between these two applicants, which one would you choose?
Doing the kinds of things described in the previous paragraph is how you demonstrate interest in a school. You can also attend information sessions with college representatives when they visit your area, follow colleges on social media sites, write to and request information or call the admissions office with a question. The point is to engage with the admissions department on some level to let them know that they are a college you are seriously considering once you graduate high school.
Now before you get it in your head that these are cheat codes to the game, I strongly encourage you to look past just getting accepted to a college. Engaging with college representatives is one piece of the research you should do with all the colleges on your list to see which ones can deliver the things you need to thrive. Selecting a college is actually like getting engaged. You date until you find the right one and then you pop the question. Sometimes your intended doesn’t feel the same way about you, and they break your heart by saying no. But think about it; if the wrong match said yes, you would miss out on “the one.”