Just Admit It: Does Demonstrated Interest Really Matter?

By IvyWise on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

A Recent Episode of Just Admit It Explains How Demonstrated Interest Influences Your Admissions Odds

While most students understand the importance of admissions factors like grades and test scores, many don’t realize that demonstrated interest can have a big impact on your chances of admission. Although it can’t be captured by a single number in a similar matter, that doesn’t mean that demonstrated interest doesn’t matter.

In fact, more than 60% of colleges assigned some level of importance to a student’s interest in attending the institution. In a recent episode of the Just Admit It! podcast, IvyWise expert college admissions counselors and former admissions officers Victoria and Rachel discuss demonstrated interest, why colleges track it, and what (and what not!) to do in order to effectively demonstrate your interest to a college.

What is Demonstrated Interest and Why Do Colleges Consider It? 

Simply put, demonstrated interest is a university’s way of gauging how likely a student is to attend a given college if admitted. Every college is eager to admit students who will choose to enroll for several reasons. First off, admissions officers are looking for passionate applicants who will make a difference from the moment they step onto campus.

Additionally, every college is concerned with its yield rate, or the percentage of students who choose to enroll after being offered admission. Even at highly competitive colleges, there are always some students who choose not to attend for various reasons. At Harvard, for example, the yield rate hovers around 80%. Not only do yield rates help colleges make informed decisions about the future of the university; they also impact a school’s place on rankings lists such as those compiled by U.S. News & World Report. By evaluating an applicant’s demonstrated interest, admissions officers can optimize the yield rate at their school.

How Can Applicants Demonstrate Their interest to Admissions Officers?

There are several steps applicants can take to convey their dedication to attending a specific college. Ideally, students may wish to focus on several of the following options: 

  • Visit (in person or virtually): If you’re planning on waiting until after you’re admitted to go on campus tours, it’s time to think again. Visiting a school is one of the most impactful ways to set yourself apart as a serious applicant, particularly if you register for an information session and ask thoughtful questions during your tour. Although many traditional, in-person campus tours are on hold due to COVID-19, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a glimpse of a prospective college virtually. In fact, many colleges give students the opportunity to schedule either a live or pre-recorded tour, as well as virtual information sessions and visits.
  • Don’t discount supplements: Many colleges include supplemental essays as part of their application to give students the opportunity to articulate exactly why they wish to attend their university. Take advantage of this section to demonstrate your expertise in the college you are applying to. Instead of a generic response, incorporate school-specific details such as professors you hope to study under and courses you would be excited to take. Even if these essays are “optional”, writing responses to questions about why you wish to attend should be a non-negotiable if you want to stand out as a serious applicant.
  • Apply early: Applying via the Early Decision or Early Action round can be a great way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for attending a specific college. Students who apply Early Decision are basically saying to an admissions office that their college is their first choice, as they are pledging to enroll upon admittance. If you’re deferred after applying in the early rounds, be sure to follow a school’s guidelines surrounding sending supplemental information and a deferral letter to further convey your commitment to attending a specific college.

By demonstrating your interest in your best-fit college, you’ll present yourself in the best light possible and enhance your admissions odds. If you’re preparing to apply to college and looking for personalized guidance, our team of college admissions experts can guide you throughout the process. 

Also be sure to subscribe to our Just Admit It! podcast for the latest college admissions insight from former admissions officers.

Related Topics
College Application Tips, College Prep
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