Importance of Demonstrated Interest
By Keith Gramling
As families begin their college search and begin to discuss application strategies, often the focus is centered on the most transparent components: grades and testing. Then the focus shifts to the development of the qualitative sections of the applications: activities, personal statements and supplements. An aspect of the application process that is often overlooked and is most misunderstood is demonstrated interest. In recent years this concept has grown in importance as colleges strive to identify those students who are most likely to accept the offer of admission as they review applicants and make admission decisions.
How important is demonstrated interest?表明兴趣有多重要
In a 2017-2018 survey by the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, 15.5% of surveyed college admissions officials ranked demonstrated interest as having “Considerable Importance.” Another 21.4% ranked it as having “Moderate Importance.” This places it in the same tier as letters of recommendation and essay/writing sample. Demonstrated interest isn’t going to compensate for a low GPA or mediocre test scores, but it can help borderline students strengthen their case, if they do it right.
How/why do colleges use demonstrated interest?
As Tulane Director of Admission Jeff Schiffman told Forbes, “we use demonstrated interest as one tool in the application review to get a better sense of a student’s likelihood of enrolling at Tulane, their ability to graduate from Tulane and to get a sense if they ultimately will be happy here.” He encourages students who are interested in Tulane to reach out to the admissions officers with questions, interact with them at local admissions events, and to do good research while writing their admissions essays.
Admissions officers are also responsible for ensuring that the right number of students and the right mix of students enroll each year. Enrolling too many or too few students can have significant impact on a college. According to the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, the average yield rate for Fall 2016 was 33.6%, down from 35.1% a year earlier. Put another way: if a college admits 100 students, they can expect (on average) 33 of those students to actually enroll and pay tuition. Given that landscape, it’s not surprising that college admissions counselors want to be sure of their admittees.
What are some good ways to demonstrate interest?表明兴趣的方法有哪些呢？
First demonstrated interest is something that can be built throughout a student’s high school career. It should be a careful strategic consideration that is built over time.
At early stages of college process:申请过程初期
Campus Visits 大学访校
Most colleges keep track of who visits campus, and the campus visit is important for two reasons: not only does it demonstrate your interest; it also helps you get a better feel for the college. Campus visits help you choose a school, craft a focused essay, and perform well in an interview. Here's how to make the most of your campus visit.
College Fairs /High School Visits大学博览会/到高中拜访
If a college is attending a college fair is in your area or visiting your high school, stop by the booths. Introduce yourself to the college representative and be sure to leave your name and contact information. You'll get on the college's mailing list, and many schools keep track of the fact that you visited with them. Also be sure to pick up the college rep's business card.
Contacting Your Admissions Representative 联系你的招生代表
You don't want to pester the admissions office, but if you have a question or two about the college, call or email your admissions representative. Plan your call and craft your email carefully -- you'll want to make a good impression. An ungrammatical email filled with text-speak isn't going to work in your favor.
Sending a Thank You Note 发一封感谢信
If you chatted with a college representative at a fair, send an email message the next day to thank him or her for taking time to talk with you. In the message, note one or two features of the college that appeal to you. Similarly, if you meet with a regional representative or interview on campus, send a follow-up thank you. You'll be demonstrating your interest as well as showing that you are a considerate person.
If you really want to impress, send an actual snail-mail note of appreciation.
Requesting College Information 咨询大学信息
You're likely to get a lot of college brochures without asking for them. Colleges work hard to get mailing lists of high school students who show promise. Don't rely on this passive approach to getting print materials, and don't depend entirely on a college's website for information. Completing the contact request form on each college’s website will also ensure that you are invited to recruitment activities in your area and kept updated regarding admission changes and academic programs.
During the Application Process:申请过程中
Applying Early 早期申请
There is perhaps no better way to demonstrate interest than to apply to a college through an early decision program. This is for the simple reason that you can apply to just one school through early decision, and if accepted your decision is binding. Early decision should be used only if you are 100% sure that the college is your top choice. Realize that not all colleges offer early decision.
Early action also shows your interest, and through this admissions program you are not bound to a single school. Early action does not demonstrate as high of a level of interest as early decision, but it does show that you care enough to get your application submitted early in the admissions cycle.
Supplemental Essays 辅助文书
Many colleges have an essay question that asks why you want to attend their school, and a lot of colleges that use The Common Application have a college-specific supplement. This is a great place to show your interest. Make sure your essay isn't generic. It should address the specific and unique features of the college that most appeal to you. Show that you've researched the college well and that you're a good match for the school. Check out this sample supplemental essay, and be careful to avoid these common supplemental essay mistakes.
College Interviews 大学面试
The interview is a great place to demonstrate your interest. Be sure to research the college well before the interview, and then use the interview to demonstrate your interest through both the questions you ask and those you answer. If the interview is optional, you should do it.
Colleges are increasingly using this service to both verify a student’s English abilities and to hear from the student in his/her own voice. For many colleges the submission of the interview is used as a sign of demonstrated interest. It is recommended that all students submit an interview to those schools that accept the interview.