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Ways to show a high "level of applicant's interest"

ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 68,123 Senior Member
Some colleges use "level of applicant's interest" as a factor, probably mostly to reject or waitlist high stats students who appear to be using them as "safeties" but are unlikely to attend (see the admissions tab on the college's entry at http://www.collegedata.com or section C7 of its common data set to see if "level of applicant's interest" is considered). So do not use such a college as a low choice "safety" that you are not really that interested in (but your actual safeties should be college you are actually interested in). Assuming that you actually are interested in such a college, consider the following (not all of which will apply to all schools):

* Apply binding early decision if the college is your clear first choice, and you will not need to compare financial aid offers. Early decision is the strongest expression of interest that there is, since you agree to attend if admitted and the financials work.
* If there is a choice between non-binding early action and single choice early action, apply single choice early action to indicate that you are willing to give up other potential early admission opportunities to apply to the college in question.
* When writing application essays, be sure to indicate interest in the specific college and characteristics unique to it (as opposed to characteristics shared by other, more selective colleges), particularly in a "why [this college]?" essay.
* Visit and have the visit recorded at the admissions office.
* Ask questions to admissions representatives (in a way that they record who you are).
* If filing a FAFSA with multiple schools listed, place the college in question high on the list.
* After applying, check your account on the admissions portal web site frequently.

Anyone have others to add to this list?
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Replies to: Ways to show a high "level of applicant's interest"

  • socalmom23socalmom23 Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    Thanks for opening this new thread, ucbalumnus.

    We live 3000 miles from our daughter's "top" school and a visit was out of the question. So was early decision, for a number of reasons. One thing she did to demonstrate interest was to follow the school on Twitter (and they followed her back!). Wish we'd had your list months ago....
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 68,123 Senior Member
    In another thread, the possibility of tracking whether an applicant reads emails that the college has sent was mentioned. See http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/17039141/#Comment_17039141 for the technical explanation of how this is done and how to ensure that your interest is tracked when reading the email.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    Some colleges will record it as interest if you sit in on an admission talk when they visit your high school.
  • FelicitaFelicita Registered User Posts: 498 Member
    Has anyone followed multiple schools on facebook or twitter? I'm wondering if anyone even thinks about this....or if I am being paranoid. To me, if a student follows many schools, then admissions counselors can take a quick look to see what other schools are being considered...perhaps to the applicant's detriment?
  • LuckyPenny711LuckyPenny711 Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Some colleges offer online chats with an admissions officer. Great way to show interest if you can't visit in person and they're not coming to your area.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 20,303 Forum Champion
    My D is at a small LAC which demonstrated interest was taken into account. A few things she did (in no particular order) were 1) visit and do an information session & tour 2) go to the school's presentation at her HS 3). we made a second visit to the school when she did an interview with an admissions officer and shadowed a student for a day and 4) wrote the required supplementary essay with some things that were specific to the school 5) applied binding ED. Another schools (her second choice) had a local reception for prospective students which we attended as well. Good luck.
  • dustypigdustypig Registered User Posts: 920 Member
    When should the student begin doing all this? My daughter (now a HS junior) has been receiving emails from colleges since sophomore year, when she hadn't even started thinking about the application process, and she had never heard of most of these colleges and had no interest, so she ignored the emails. She's now getting "I haven't heard back from you and I wanted to make sure this is your correct email" emails from some schools. Is this going to hurt her if, when she finally does narrow down a list of schools she wants to apply to, she's been ignoring their emails for a year?

    Is it only private schools that track level of interest? We're in California and D would probably be perfectly happy at a UC. Half the time I just want to jump off this crazy train already.
  • socalmom23socalmom23 Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    @dustypig - My daughter did not demonstrate any (documented) interest for UCSB and also listed them last on the FAFSA (she listed her schools alphabetically and they just happened to be last). She was denied admittance this very afternoon. Comparatively, a friend's son with equal qualifications made it very clear that UCSB was his number one school. He was admitted :\">
  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    socalmom23: I doubt that UCs have the means or the inclination to track "demonstrated interest" through an applicant's campus visit, attendance at various college fairs, emails to the admissions dept., etc. Simply too many people apply.

    However, UC admissions officers do pay attention to what students write in their two essays.

    It's tough to draw any conclusions about admissions decisions involving students with "equal qualifications." Without looking at each student's application in its entirety, it's difficult to say what factors resulted in acceptance for one student and rejection for the other.
  • socalmom23socalmom23 Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
    @Bartleby007: You are absolutely correct. So many various factors may have contributed to my friend's son being admitted while my daughter was not. I highlighted our own situation for @dustypig so that s/he has the benefit of our limited experience.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 68,123 Senior Member
    edited March 2014
    dustypig wrote:
    Is it only private schools that track level of interest? We're in California and D would probably be perfectly happy at a UC. Half the time I just want to jump off this crazy train already.

    You can check if a college uses "level of applicant's interest" in its common data set, section C7, or the admissions tab in its entry on http://www.collegedata.com . The latter indicate that Irvine and Merced consider "level of applicant's interest", but the other UCs do not. (However, Merced still end up with default safety students who are ELC eligible but do not get into other UCs.)

    However, the Berkeley College of Engineering, which admits by major, says here that "Applicants to Berkeley Engineering are also expected to demonstrate interest in the major to which they are applying since we receive far more applications than we can admit." This probably means that they expect your essay topics and whatever else to be consistent with the major that you are applying to, not that they expect you to play the usual "interest" games with respect to the school overall.
  • dustypigdustypig Registered User Posts: 920 Member
    Thanks for the replies.

    I'm sure my D will spend the time to make sure her essays are good quality. And once she's decided she's interested in a college, of course she'll open their emails. I'm just not sure she'll do anything more than that. Maybe we should just not even include any private schools that are reaches on our list of schools to apply to.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 68,123 Senior Member
    "Level of applicant's interest" may be less of a concern at reach schools than at apparent "safety" schools, since reach students (if admitted) tend to have a high yield rate, while safety applicants tend to have a low yield rate (admitted students generally tend to choose among the more selective schools that admitted them).
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