In a recent US News and World Report article, Josh Moody shines a light into the otherwise dark and confusing landscape of college admissions. The article states a widely known fact, “data drives everything.” The surprising thing for most high school students and their families is how date can affect their ability to gain acceptance to targeted colleges.
Nothing will take the place of excellent grades and high test scores when being evaluated by a college but those are not the only two factors considered by colleges. “After academic achievements and the essay or writing sample, colleges considered demonstrated interest as the next most important factor in making an admissions decision, even over teacher and counselor recommendations, extracurricular activities and class rank.” Understand that individual colleges may put differing levels of importance on demonstrated interest, but it is being measured by every college to which you apply.
So, how do you demonstrate your level of interest to a college? The broad-based answer is to take advantage of all the information they provide for the prospective student. Take the on-campus or virtual tours, attend information sessions and events, always request more information when browsing their websites and have your FAFSA information forwarded to the college.
Something that should be intuitive to a generation of student who grew up with electronic devices in their hands is social media. Join, follow and interact with the college’s social media sites. Be sure to use the same email address that is linked to all your personal sites when interacting with colleges and sites like CollegeBoard.org and ACT.org. The colleges will be able to link all your interactions to the email address and log all those interactions.
The area of study that compiles all this data and interprets it for use by the colleges is Econometric Modeling and it is here to stay. Ever wonder why an online search for a new pair of shoes will result in multiple shoe ads on all your devices for the next few weeks? This is econometric modeling and the colleges are using it to make better decisions about students who are genuinely interested in attending classes on their campus. Now that you know, feed them the data they need to identify you as an excellent candidate for admission at their school. You are going to be online anyway; make the most of it.