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No interviews offered--how does a candidate demonstrate interest?

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Replies to: No interviews offered--how does a candidate demonstrate interest?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,483 Senior Member
    There was a great spot on NPR and this very issue was one that was recommended. The adcom on the show was from Georgia tech where demonstrated interest is not part of the admissions equation. He told some hilarious real stories...my favorite was the parent who wrote an email to her son saying she would pay him $20 for each contact he made to Georgia Tech. Trouble was....she also sent it to the adcoms at Georgis Tech!
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,185 Senior Member
    You don't have to talk to the college rep... just look at the Common Data Set (lots of other interesting info in those doucments, too, they are worth looking at).
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    Happy1 has it exactly right.

    Yes and no!

    There is nothing inherently bad about doing all those steps, if one DOES have the time and inclination. On the other hand, NOTHING bad will happen is one only does a couple of those things or none of them!

    The above has often been a subject of discussion at schools that are proud of their college prep programs. Does one really think that the Yale rep who visit a school assembly will leave with a list of the parents in attendance? At best, he (or she) might remember the couple of parents who pushed and pushed to be able to ask their typical clueless questions (asked in the secret hope to score a point or two.) You can transpose the scene at any college orientation where you see a bored kid escorted by a set of parents with all the "right" stuff acquired at the college bookstore. The same parents who ask the questions that trigger that rising eyebrow from the poor kid.

    The visits of college when affordable and doable CAN be instructive if all parties involved are interested. It can be a great way to plan family time IF the entire group of participants is involved. You got to feel sorry for the little kids who are brought on a tour.

    Are there many points to score on a college night, a college visit, or an interview? Just as much as there are plenty to lose! If you believe that the school keeps note (unlikely at most schools) you also have to believe that not all impressions are positive. On the other hand, the contacts might be helpful for YOU to decide if the school is all what it appeared to be on the surface.

    In so many words, one can easily survive doing NONE of those "contact" steps, and simply following the instructions of the admission offices to a tee. Learn all there is to learn from easily available sources. If a program sounds interesting, find a way to contact faculty members with sensible queries about the program (not the admission chances) If there are questions about technical parts of the admissions, do not hesitate to ask for clarifications.

    In the end, ask yourself if you really want to be part of a school that rewards such as silly thing as demonstrated level of interest ... when it can be faked so easily!
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,185 Senior Member
    @xiggi, I don't agree if the school says in their Common Data Set that student interest is considered. I do agree that a contact CAN hurt as much as it helps, depending on the kid. If you think that might be the case (I have a kid who is a terrible interviewer, for example), and if the school says they do care, then go for the more anonymous contact options. Sign up for emails on the website, and go on a tour of the campus (you sign in at admissions, but rarely does anyone notice who you are if you don't have an interview).
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    Intparent, I understand your point about the schools that do list the "demonstrated interest" on the CDS form. My point is that, even if such case, one does not have to worry ad nauseam about the inability to visit or participate in school nights. Again, if college visits fit the interest and wallet of the parents, visiting might be a great family outing. If a school is in proximity, it adds a different dimension as it makes contacts much easier. For someone living in Los Angeles, it would be a bit silly not to visit Harvey Mudd or UCSD!

    I happen to think that too many parents might think that the contacts are a necessary step and that keeping up with the Joneses is mandatory. Or believe that pushing the envelope of demonstrated interest will be the clincher to secure a fat one!
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,827 Senior Member
    Go listen to that This American Life piece form this week. Priceless advice.
  • HannaHanna Registered User Posts: 14,660 Senior Member
    "Does one really think that the Yale rep who visit a school assembly will leave with a list of the parents in attendance?"

    Not Yale, heck no. Schools with +70% yield rates don't have to. But Kalamazoo College? American University (which labels DI "Very Important," outranking test scores and activities)? Of course they care.

    I'm not sure why schools would lie and claim that they track interest when they don't. I can see an incentive to hide this consideration (perhaps because it appears to advantage rich students; perhaps because it makes the school's process seem less academically focused; perhaps because the school wants to appear to be in Yale's company and take for granted that everyone will want to come). But I don't see the incentive for American et al. to announce to the world that it's an admissions factor if it isn't.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,185 Senior Member
    I happen to think that too many parents might think that the contacts are a necessary step and that keeping up with the Joneses is mandatory. Or believe that pushing the envelope of demonstrated interest will be the clincher to secure a fat one!

    I don't know about pushing the envelope. But here are two examples (from my own intkids):

    D1 applied to Dickinson. We live several states away. She visited, got on the mailing list, went to an in-town event they had in our hometown, and interviewed when invited to while the admissions person was in-town. She was accepted with a nice merit package, higher than her grades and test scores warranted according to info on the web site. One of classmates with literally almost identical stats (grades, test scores, similar ECs) who added Dickinson to her list at the last minute and did not have any contact prior to the application was rejected. Note that D1 is my rock-star interview kid -- personal contact will probably always help her in life. And Dickinson is a school where interest is considered.

    D2 did the "under the radar" type contact stuff. On mailing lists, went on campus tours, but did not interview anyplace where she actually applied. Interviews would most likely only hurt her admissions chances... this strategy also worked well for her, she was accepted everyplace she applied.

    But neither was pushy or "over the top" in showing interest (they didn't send anything weird to admissions...).

    Also... we like visiting for the sake of getting a true feeling for the campus and students. Regardless of whether the college cares about whether interest is shown, for my kids it was key to finding a great fit.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,483 Senior Member
    The This American Life piece on NPR is a must listen for any family who has a kid applying to college. Extremely well done...and some terrific laughs.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 34,185 Senior Member
    edited September 2014
    Never mind...
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 70,483 Senior Member
    edited September 2014
    http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/504/transcript

    Read the prologue and the next one...both are hilarious.

    If you can actually listen to the podcast...do,that. It's even better!
  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP Registered User Posts: 16,184 Senior Member
    "Not everyone can spare the time or money to travel hours to see a school that won't even bother with interviews. "
    -How one can choose to apply to school without a visit, without talking to current students, examinning dorms, ask questions about specific program(s), spending overnights? Isn't it so risky to attend the place where kid will spend 4 most important years of young life where the most adjustments will happen transitionning to some independence and adjusting to much more rigorous academic standards than in HS wthout a single visit? Forget desirable several visits that many kids do before they make such an important decision in their lives.

  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 55,088 Senior Member
    Visiting schools is very helpful for potential students. But there have been many stories of students who get a bad vibe and write it off without setting foot on campus (they proverbial drive-by) and there are so many students who simply cant afford to visit, before or after admissions are sent out. The good news is, most students will thrive where they are planted. There are many ways to choose a school. Checking out the dorms or tasting the food is only a part of the equation.
  • bp0001bp0001 Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    Some schools do not track interest, but some do. If the college tracks interest, it is easy to find that this is important to the school. If they track interest, follow Happy1's advice. Take advantage of any possible interaction you can have with them.
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