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Ways to show interest to a college?

BmacNJBmacNJ 85 replies11 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
I've read several posts that suggest showing interest to colleges you are interested in. I've also seen it as "very important" in common data for several colleges,

My question is, other then going to open house/visits, how does one show interest? Appreciate any feedback-ideas.
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Replies to: Ways to show interest to a college?

  • RichInPittRichInPitt 903 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    Sign up on their mailing/contact list, send standardized test scores, use an available “contact us” address to ask some specific questions.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Best way to show interest is by knowing a college well enough to nail your app pkg. After all, if you're that interested, you can master any Why Us, right? And that's more than: they have your major, reciting their status, throwing out a prof name, or anything generic ("You have study abroad" or "You'll prepare me for my career.")
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Also depends on the college. Some will say going to the school and doing the tour. Some schools have you sign in when there. At Northwestern for example for their engineering tour /information day they passed around an iPad so you can sign in that you were there. Some schools you signed in at the End of the tour.. But most where when you arrived.

    When they visit your school if there is a sign in sheet then do it. Lots of students don't. Get the AO card. Use it to ask questions that can't be found on their website.

    Meeting with professors or emailing them to ask questions and Yes, using that in your essay. "As I was researching your school I spoke with Professor X". But only do this if you have a genuine interest. At small lacs by the time my daughter spoke to the head of the department when she talked with he AO they already knew about the meeting. She was there with several others looking at the school and she was the only one doing this. She was even told it so it depends on the school. At Michigan and some other schools my son met with two department chairs and got insight into programs he didn't think he could of gotten just by reading the website. Did it help? No clue but it was mentioned.

    Apply Early... If they have EA or Ed.

    A good friend of mine teaches at UChicago and she helps people with their essay writing., she swears by researching a class taught that might be unique but interesting and mentioning it. "After looking through your catalog of classes I noticed x"

    Lots of kids send LOCI after they get deferred (letter of Continued Interest) but why not sent a letter of Interest (LOI), to your AO for your school before that? This would be a very short letter like two lines just saying that after researching your school choices this is the school you see yourself at (give a reason why). If you can ask a question with it then great, if not it will be in your file.... So many will ask why do this? When you are defered and you send the LOCI, this will be at least your second soft touch to the AO.

    Go to any regional talk they have in your area
    Shake the AO hand. If you sent the LOI then you can thank them for their response also. State your name. "Hi, I am Jen Xxx, from X high school. Thank you once again for answering my question. That gave me new insight into x"

    AGAIN for some schools they will write your name down. We asked all tables if they had a sign in sheet since it gets moved around and covered up sometimes.

    Again at small lacs when we called Financial aid a few times the AO already knew about it. They seemed to all talk. This was all positive not negative. They want to award money for merit etc to kids that want to be there. My daughter was going to meet with the head of the department and she was sitting with my wife hanging out and two students approached her and said "are you meeting with professor X? Then they got to talk about the program etc. This won't happen at large universities.....

    Lastly for now.. In your essay mention something unique about the school. At Michigan many will mention the center of campus called the Diag
    "I see myself standing at the Diag..... Xxxx". Boring been used a million times.... After my son wrote a convincing "Why Michigan" essay he closed with something like I can't wait to be walking around campus drinking a hot fudge chocolate chip shake from Pizza Bob's. Or eating a blimpie burger.. Etc..

    These are both iconic and you would really only know about them if you were on campus. It's a fun ending also.

    Others will balk at these suggestions. Some will say they just applied and got in and didn't do anything special. That's why you have choices. It not so much gaming this. It's more about truly showing interest. What I am mentioning was really only done on their top picks and that is where they ended up.

    Gotta have the grades etc also of course. But I do think letting them see your personality a bit is important.



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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 10
    And you can visit 4x, buttonhole a visiting rep, open every email and cite the lovely ivy growing up the walls and still not nail it. Anyone can look up a prof name.

    Then the Why Us falls flat? Kids say things like great food, but everyone else knows it's lousy. Lol.

    Yes, personalize it. But in ways that support your app and *show* that interest.

    It can be something a guide mentioned, friendliness, some club you visited, even the ivy, if they have it. But needs to come across true and informed. Not sterile, canned or generic. And related. Don't confuse NYU with NYC or tell them nothing soothes you like rural life. Ha. I've seen kids talk about Dart's urban environment and Columbia as bucolic.

    Also, afaiac, many times the other supp questions are also a form of Why Us. Know your match. That's more than what you want.
    edited October 10
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  • dmvmomx2dmvmomx2 34 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    When you attend any of the local events for the college, register or get on the mailing list if there is one. Check to see if the local alumni group is doing anything. Check to see if any of the admissions officers are coming to your school (or even another school nearby). If you do go to the campus for a visit, take the official tour and register for it. Good luck!
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 771 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    Last year, nearly half of the schools on my child's list had no supplemental essays at all. With those, I would imagine that the interview is weighed heavily. But open the emails, attend the events, all that just in case.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2236 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 10
    For the schools that do consider interest, a complicating factor is you don't necessarily know which activities they are tracking/measuring.

    If you ask, admissions will often tell you....but it's common they track visits to the campus, meetings with AOs, other AO interactions, those who interviewed, those who participate in admission webinars. Some do track whether emails are opened and a link is clicked, some don't. Some students follow the schools' instagram, snapchat, facebook, twitter accounts, but I am not sure I know any schools that are actually tracking that.....but of course there could be some who are.

    The good thing is that students who are demonstrating interest are often in a relatively better position to write a good 'why us' essay......at schools where that is even asked. Applying ED (or EA where there's no ED) is the ultimate demonstration of interest.
    edited October 10
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @lookingforward. I totally agree. But not many can get insight on initiatives that are not on the website or even started yet. It has to be "real" interest in the school.

    At small lacs like Knox, Beloit 😑Illinois Wesleyan this type of interest was huge. Merit awards proved that out and comments made to my daughter directly.

    The food comment to me is just adding some humanity and sort of fun regardless don't think someone's getting rejected if they don't agree with your culinary tastes... Lol...

    But overall as you say you need to know your match and make your essay directly to that. With Michigan's "Leaders and best" that came out in my son's essays. I do think knowing the schools moto and mission statement to me is important and the idea of it can come out in the essays also.

    Some schools might be into volunteering. If you have that on your resume that might aligned nicely with that school.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited October 10
    @Knowsstuff It's only about initiatives in rare cases. But if there is some program that attracts you, get it right. If it's not available to undergrads, it's not your Why Us.

    My food comment was about a different situation where you roll your eyes because the dorm/cafeteria food is not good, lol. You ask yourself, did he really eat here? And why this comment? Or they wander off commenting about a small business area near the school and you wonder, huh?

    Some of the cute things like hot choc do work. You want to know a kid can envision him/herself there, integrating into that *college* scene, on campus, etc. (To do that, you need to know what IS there- more than rep.) There are diversity or foreign kids, eg, who seek out those groups to get a sense of the feel and incude that. Works better than, "You have this club."

    The bottom line is, what works works, whether (as you said,) some kids claim to have done nothing special. But your shot is better if you do a little CYA, figure it out. Opening emails is leaning back. It's checking what comes to you, not your own effort to learn more. Sure they can track, but the app is where the real rubber hits the road.
    edited October 10
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @lookingforward. Totally agree.... I think your points are overlooked by applicants..........

    . Plus it's an amazing hot fudge chocolate chip shake.. Lol...

    As an aside he has been on campus since a kid since my wife went there and on our way to Detroit suburbs to visit family when driving from Chicago.

    Once we took him to Pizza Bob's for the said shake.(you can make like 50 different flavors) ..we told him if he studies hard he can get one whenever he wanted to (within reason).. Maybe a motivator for a middle school kid? Since he's been there 3 years he had only been there twice since he's watching his weight.. Lol.

    I have been there more often.
    LOL.
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  • milee30milee30 2094 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    All this varies so much by college. At one college, the story about the special hot chocolate could shot how clearly the kid would fit and at others talking about the school's hot chocolate might provoke an eye roll. I know from talking to AOs at my son's school, the "Why Us?" responses that contain talk about how the school is like Hogwarts and how the kid can't wait to partake in the $1 milkshakes aren't well received because they generally create the impression that the applicant doesn't really understand what's different or special about the school and might not understand it's going to be a bit less fun than living at Hogwarts and eating ice cream. :-P
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    First off, it's a hot fudge chocolate chip shake which is iconic.. 😁... Lol.. Geez.. Not Hot Chocolate.. Lol. (Vanilla Carmel Almond is pretty good also...)

    The food reference was only for this one school. It actually fit his "Why" this school essay perfectly and gave it a soft upbeat landing.

    The point if you were on campus maybe point to something that is slightly off the beaten path. At Michigan like everyone we knew mentioned the Diag or Football etc. His essay was actually about his individuality but being surrounded by like minded students. The essay spoke to the schools environment and it was very evident he did his research of the school. He's there so something worked.. Lol.





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  • milee30milee30 2094 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh, I understand that for the school you're referring to it's a particular shake, that shake is iconic and it really makes a good "why us" essay. My point is that my son's school (in Chicago, ironically, which is why I thought about it when you mentioned Chicago) does offer $1 milkshakes one night a week and many kids write about that in the "why us." One of the AOs told us later on that she doesn't like it when applicants mention a few of the common, rumored buzzwords about the school - such as the $1 shakes - because it's a clue they might not really understand the entire situation.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree with you both. The Hogwarts thing can be a real head smacker. A too-easy reference can seem light. Uncommitted.

    That's the ssue with generic, too.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Err... What school in Chicago, where I live, has $1.00 shakes.. Lol...

    It was one line in the essay not the whole "Why" essay but I get your point.

    It's also not that common to reference to like "The Diag"... But get what you are saying..

    This is all making me crave a shake.. Maybe after work tonight

    😉
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  • milee30milee30 2094 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is all making me crave a shake..

    Sadly, the first post on the subject was enough to prompt me to grab a bowl of ice cream. Probably a good thing I didn't go to a school with $1 milkshakes. I would have diabetes by my sophomore year.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4217 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So on Wednesday UChicago has $1.00 shakes.. Think I knew that.....

    Good Luck to your child.
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  • Darcy123Darcy123 290 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Ah the irony of the AO rolling their eyes at a Hogwarts reference - perhaps if they stopped saying them on their tours, kids wouldn't put them in their essays. This was a pet peeve of my daughter's. She was utterly annoyed that every single school had to find some way to make a Hogwarts reference during their tour - it's completely overdone.
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