CMU Demonstrated Interest and ED Chances?

I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on whether ED increases your chances or not. I’m planning to apply to CMU SCS for the class of '25 and it’s my dream college. CMU did say that they do not consider demonstrated interest as a factor in their admissions, but I’ve also seen other statistics where the ED acceptance rate was higher than RD.

I did not apply to Carnegie Mellon so can’t speak to the specifics (but do know some students who go/going there) but a quick google search confirms that CMU doesn’t consider it:

However, even for the Ivies (which also don’t consider demonstrated interest on paper,) applying ED is the ULTIMATE FORM OF DEMONSTRATED INTEREST given that you’re telling a college that if you accept me, I’ll attend; and the college is more likely to accept you b/c your application’s more thorough than the student applying right before the deadline, AND ED admits are a great way for the school to increase its yield rate. HOWEVER, I believe SCS is the most competitive school at CMU (less than 5% acceptance rate?,) so if you do apply ED and wouldn’t want to attend if not admitted to SCS, make sure to confirm that you are not obligated to attend if admitted but not to SCS: like to Johns Hopkins, whose BME major is EXTREMELY difficult to get into and releases students from their ED commitment if not admitted to it.

Also, if you’re considering applying ED to CMU, only do so if ALL of the following are true:

  1. You LOVE CMU and would 110% attend if admitted.
  2. You're confident that you can present a well thought out and crafted application by the early deadline, which is typically November 1st (confirm with the admissions website.)
  3. You and your family can afford CMU if admitted (run the applicable financial aid calculators.)

Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!

A little clarification. They may not consider what posters usually see as "demonstrated " interest. I.e., phone calls, emails, whether or not you visited. Those are too simplistic.

But be assured, top schools want to see you understand what the college offers, how you fit, how you will contribute and that it’s a well considered decision to apply. Not pie in the sky dreaming.

Whether or not they ask a Why Us question, they will look for this. After all, they’re building a community. The idea is, if you’re truly interested, you’ve done the deeper dig into this college, not just what you want or professional goals. That’s how you demonstrate.

ED, depending on the college, can be substantially filled with athletes. Then legacies and other connections.

There is NO bump for an underqualified applicant (well, sometimes athletes at some colleges.) You don’t get in because you plead your love and promise to attend. You increase your chances when you match what they’re looking for.

Note that for many years, CMU very specifically said in their presentations that they considered demonstrated interest as being important. A quote I remember from a 2016 presentation is that “We don’t want the first time we hear of you is when you submit your application”.

I suspect that the real reason they went away from that publicly stating they want demonstrated interest is because it is too easily gamed. If they say it’s important, then people will go through the motions of “showing interest”, whether they really have it or not.

CMU is a great school. but one with a low yield. Similar to what @lookingforward says, they seek qualified students who really want to be at CMU and are not looking at it simply as a “match school” in case nothing better comes along.

At the last info session/ I attended, the AdCom was quite blunt: “we don’t care that you’re here”.

June 2018
“ Carnegie Mellon University Undergraduate Admissions recently released news that they are making some significant changes to their application process. One big change is eliminating the “demonstrated interest” aspect, which previously was used to judge how much a student seemed genuinely interested in the university through participating in CMU events on campus or in their hometowns, completing an alumni interview, and other options.”

“ our undergraduate admission process is shifting to focus more on diversity and inclusion of all populations by reducing or eliminating advantages that have been inherent in certain aspects of the admission process. The goal is to provide a more equitable, level playing field where all segments of our applicant population have the same opportunity in the admission process. We’re eliminating demonstrated interest as a consideration in our admission paradigm. We’ll no longer encourage supplementary submission of materials, including resumes, research abstracts, writing samples, multimedia demonstrations of talents, and maker portfolios. Going forward, we’re no longer offering alumni interviews in advance of admission decisions and are refocusing alumni efforts to connect with admitted candidates instead.”

As noted, ED admission rates and demonstrated interest are not necessarily related.

Given SCS’s 7% admission rate, I suspect ED attracts a better qualified, better prepared applicant pool. The RD group likely includes a lot of folks who thinks it’s a “backup” for their MIT/Stanford application. (Like me ?)

Even though ED is the “ultimate form of demonstrated interest,” do not conflate the two.

CMU decided to eliminate the conventional forms of demonstrated interest (visits, attending info sessions, submitting research work, etc.) from admissions due to the realization that it benefits higher SES applicants. A noble decision.

Although I cannot find any formal corroboration, I do believe they will still give a bump to ED applicants.