Does “demonstrated interest” matter in college admissions? It depends.
Demonstrated interest is one of the admissions criteria used by many competitive colleges and refers to ways that an applicant shows he or she is serious about enrolling at a given college. There are lots of ways to demonstrate interest. An applicant who connects with their regional representative or attends an info session or campus tour is demonstrating interest, and in turn, might be more valued than one who doesn’t communicate beyond applying. Although some schools say it does not matter, from my experience—more often than not—it does. When two files are on the table being compared side-by-side, you don’t unsee the way(s) one applicant demonstrated interest and the other did not. If all else can be held equal, this might end up being a factor.
I believe that if you live near a school on your list and you can get to campus, you should, even if the school says they do not take demonstrated interest into account. Why miss out on learning more about a school you could end up attending? If financing visits is a barrier, look into college fly-in programs as many schools offer them. And everyone should connect with their regional rep! It’s not hard or time-consuming to send an email or two.
College Kickstart identified schools where the Common Data Set entry for “level of applicant’s interest” is reported as important or very important. Check out their comprehensive and helpful list here!
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