Colleges use a lot of factors to determine who gets an acceptance letter. Most parents are aware of GPA, SAT/ACT test scores, essays and extracurricular activities. However, one that is often overlooked is something colleges call demonstrated interest.
Parents are often not aware of this criterion, because it did not exist when we went to college. However, if you think of it from a college’s perspective, they want to give offers to students who are most likely to attend. And with the introduction of the Common Application, students often apply to 10, 20 or even 50 schools, since it just requires the click of a mouse and an application fee.
This is a problem for colleges, because they play a numbers game when they give out acceptance letters. It differs by college, but they know that only a percentage of the people they give offers to are going to accept. They want that number to be as high as possible.
That is why many schools measure demonstrated interest and use it as a selection factor. For the purpose of admissions, think about verifiable behaviors. These include requesting info from the college’s website, meeting with a representative at a college fair, making an official visit to the college, and sending thank-you notes after the visit… among many others.
In chapter 3 of Never Pay Retail for College, you can learn more about demonstrated interest and the most common mistakes families make when applying for college.
For college admissions, there can be a fine line between getting an acceptance letter and a rejection letter. Knowing how to increase your odds of an acceptance letter often just requires the right guidance. If you would like some help planning for, choosing and negotiating with colleges, you can schedule a free consultation. It can help you understand what your student needs to do to increase their odds of acceptance.