What ‘Demonstrated Interest’ Means in College Admissions

Today universities look for students who not only demonstrate academic excellence but also show that they are the perfect fit for the school. One of the ways that universities determine this fit is through demonstrated interest. Let’s take some time to talk about what demonstrated interest is, and how it can benefit you as a new college applicant.

What is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated interest is simply when a student goes out of their way to demonstrate how truly interested they are in a university. This can take many different forms, but the ultimate goal is for admissions representatives to be able to gauge a student’s level of interest, tell that a student is committed to a given university even before being accepted. 

A student can demonstrate their interest in a particular school in a variety of ways. Here are just a few examples:

Sign up to receive emails and open them. 

Technology aids Universities in tracking whether you’ve opened and clicked on links in the emails that schools send you. To fully demonstrate interest, open University emails and click the links and videos within.  

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Attend a virtual information session.

Virtual Information Sessions are chock-full of information about the college or university. In some cases, they can be as impactful as a college visit.  

Schedule campus tours.

Campus tours are one of the most important aspects of the admissions process. They allow you to see the school while also adding to your demonstrated interest. If it is reasonable for you to get to the school (i.e. it’s not too far from you or too expensive or unsafe to travel), attend the first campus tour that you can. 

Attend sporting events, performing arts events, etc. 

A lot of universities take great pride in their extracurricular programs. Whether it be a football game, a theater production, or a concert, attending official university events can be a great way to build school spirit, and demonstrate your interest in the school. You can then discuss the experience in your essays or interviews!

Follow the school’s social media channels. 

These days, virtually every single university has a social media presence. Whether it be Instagram, TikTok, or even Snapchat. You should be following your desired university and engaging with their content. Some colleges and universities have even started asking for your social media handles as part of your application.

Request an interview when offered. 

Some universities offer interviews to prospective students during the college application process. This is a great chance for you to meet with admissions officers, show your interest in that school, and give them a chance to put a face with your name. You can never go wrong with a face-to-face interview–even if it’s virtual. 

Apply for early admission. 

Early decision or early action applicants demonstrate their interest by showing they are excited to attend a school and don’t wish to wait to be among the regular applicant pool. Applying for an early decision or early action can get you a decision faster, while also showing you’re truly committed to attending a particular university. 

Why is Demonstrated Interest Important? 

The truth is, not every school weighs demonstrated interest as highly as other schools do. In fact, some schools don’t weight demonstrated interest at all (more on this later). But those that do weigh demonstrated interest have a very clear reasoning for doing so. 

Today’s universities are more crowded than ever. Each year, more students choose to attend university than did the prior year’s students. With demand so high, more and more high school students regard applying for college as a given rather than a possibility. 

For this reason, some universities have become more selective in who they admit. It’s important to keep things fair and give every applicant the same chance, but sometimes admissions officers can’t make an easy decision based on grades or extracurriculars alone. Sometimes they need to simply choose the students who are most excited about attending their school.

Think of it this way: If you had two student applicants, both equal in academic performance and extracurriculars, vying for a single admissions spot, how would you choose which to admit? Well, you’d want to choose the student with the highest chance of succeeding in your particular learning environment. The best indication of that is the student’s excitement about attending your school. 

That is the very simple reasoning for why demonstrated interest is so important to some universities. However, as we mentioned already, not every school cares about demonstrated interest. 

Another huge benefit of demonstrating interest is that you will learn more about the school and be able to better determine for yourself how good a fit it is for you. In the end, you will choose  what school to attend. Make sure your choice is well informed.

Which Colleges Consider Demonstrated Interest in Admissions?

As with everything in the admissions process, each university is unique. It’s crucial that you research your preferred university and its admissions process before applying. However, we’ve compiled a small list of some popular schools and how important demonstrated interest is to them:

Colleges that Consider Demonstrated Interest: 

As you can see, there’s a long list of universities that consider demonstrated interest to be important or very important–and our list barely scratches the surface! This is just a small portion of the universities that consider an applicant’s demonstrated interest. However, you should note that a lot of Ivy League and other elite schools don’t even consider demonstrated interest in their admissions process. Those schools include:

  • Brown University
  • Cornell University
  • Harvard University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Yale University

So, to reiterate, it’s crucial that you investigate whether demonstrated interest is important to the colleges you are applying to. 

Putting your best foot forward is the most important aspect of any college application. As a prospective college student, you want to ensure that your university of choice sees your best side. Part of that is showing them how much you wish to attend their school. Demonstrated interest is one of the best ways to do that! 

At HelloCollege, we know how difficult it can be to prepare for college and aim to make the process as simple and easy as possible. We want to help you get accepted into the university of your dreams! 

Check out our wealth of knowledge here, and reach out to us with your college admissions questions and concerns.

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