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

ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads 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 198 replies3 threads 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....
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads 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.
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  • BrownParentBrownParent 12597 replies179 threads Senior Member
    Some colleges will record it as interest if you sit in on an admission talk when they visit your high school.
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  • FelicitaFelicita 491 replies7 threads 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?
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  • LuckyPenny711LuckyPenny711 24 replies1 threads 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.
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  • happy1happy1 22964 replies2261 threads Senior Member
    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.
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  • dustypigdustypig 910 replies17 threads 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.
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  • socalmom23socalmom23 198 replies3 threads 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 :\">
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  • Bartleby007Bartleby007 493 replies1 threads 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.
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  • socalmom23socalmom23 198 replies3 threads 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.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads 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.
    edited March 2014
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  • dustypigdustypig 910 replies17 threads 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.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads 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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  • dustypigdustypig 910 replies17 threads Member
    I see; that makes sense. And that's how students end up with no acceptances, I suppose, if they don't get into reaches and they didn't convince their safeties that they really wanted to go there. Well, we're certainly going to visit all of D's safety choices (whatever they end up being). Our counselor (private, hired) is suggesting all kinds of reach schools, all over the country, and neither D nor I are enthusiastic about flying everywhere to visit schools that probably won't admit her anyway. And the last thing I want is for her to fall really in love with a school where she's a long shot -- especially if she would have been perfectly content at a match school!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads Senior Member
    If her safeties are automatic-for-stats admission or scholarship schools that she qualifies for, then visits obviously won't matter for admission (although she may still want to visit if her selection criteria include things that require a visit to determine). These would be the most 100% sure thing safeties if they are affordable and offer the academics she wants.

    Similarly, CSUs do not track visits -- almost all of them are pure stats based admissions, although only the non-impacted majors at non-impacted campuses can be considered 100% sure thing safeties for students who meet the CSU eligibility minimum (although a student with top-end stats may find the risk of being rejected at most impacted CSUs to be infinitesmal). UCs are less of a sure thing due to holistic evaluation, even though most of them do not care about "level of applicant's interest".

    If your private college counselor is doing his/her job properly, s/he would advise starting off the list with the affordable safety school(s), then building the match and reach lists from there.
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  • dustypigdustypig 910 replies17 threads Member
    Well, she (counselor) hasn't come up with a full list yet. I guess she was just trying to determine the kind of school that D would like best, but when you don't know much about the schools, it's confusing. In our last meeting she mentioned Reed, U of Chicago, Barnard, American University, and Swarthmore. She already knows we've checked out UC Davis and UC San Diego, and that we're visiting Scripps and Pitzer over spring break. She did suggest we add Occidental to that visit, which I think was a good suggestion and we'll do it.

    Sorry to derail the thread with my own D's issues!
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  • LBad96LBad96 3442 replies57 threads Senior Member
    So does that mean that a school like UMass Amherst wouldn't really track interest because of the number of applicants? They're clearly more stat-driven? What if I was the first applicant to UMass Amherst next year?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78623 replies697 threads Senior Member
    Suggestions by a Tulane senior associate admissions director:
    http://tuadmissionjeff.blogspot.com/2014/03/5-way-to-demonstrate-your-interest.html
    Apply Early.
    Do the optional statement.
    Communicate with your counselor.
    Attend a high school visit or information session.
    Visit.
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