How to Show Demonstrated Interest to Prospective Colleges

Most students and families are aware that they need to have good grades, be involved in extracurriculars, and get good test scores to go to their choice college. However, one often overlooked factor is showing demonstrated interest. Demonstrated interest is essentially showing colleges you’re enthusiastic or have an interest in their school before you even send in your application. As college admissions get more competitive each year, particularly at selective universities, it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to increase your chances of getting into your dream school. The following are some ways that you can start showing demonstrated interest:


Attend a college fair or information session 

Sometimes your high school, local libraries, or convention centers will host fairs where several colleges set up booths, and you can go around to talk to the school representatives and pick up brochures and other informational materials. Try to speak to the representatives or sign up for their email list.


Meet with a visiting admissions representative

Colleges are always trying to recruit students. Often admissions representatives will come directly to your high school! Keep an eye and ear out for announcements or flyers from your school counselor so that you don’t miss out on an opportunity. This is a great way to have someone from the admissions office familiar with your face and name! The more people you have on your side during application season, the better.


Set up an alumni interview

Alumni are former students at the college you’re interested in. Many universities give you the opportunity to speak with a local alumni to get their opinion and to ask questions. This is a fantastic way to get to know more about the school from a student perspective and also really show that university that you’re interested in them. Check out the college’s website or call the admissions office to ask whether they offer alumni interviews. 


Take a tour

This is probably the most common way to show demonstrated interest. Signing up for a tour gets your name on the school’s radar. It’s also a great way to get a feel for the campus and see whether you’d feel comfortable there. Touring schools isn’t always feasible for everyone, especially if the college is far from your home. Many schools offer virtual tours where you still have to sign up, so this is a great alternative! (During the COVID-19 pandemic, most colleges offer virtual tours and many only offer the virtual version).  


Reach out to an admissions counselor

You can email or call the admissions office with questions. This is a valuable tool to show demonstrated interest, but it’s important to be tactful. Don’t bombard the admissions officers with email and phone calls everyday. That’s disrespectful of their time and obvious that you’re just trying to check off a box. Additionally, don’t ask questions without first completely checking out the college’s website. Most of your questions will probably be answered there. However, if you have a unique question about a specific program or your personal situation, then by all means reach out! 

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