As we start the new school year, this is the time for seniors to move into the final phase of college applications. The goal is to get an acceptance letter and attractive financial award from every school on your list. However, there are a lot of factors to consider when applying.
While most parents are aware of GPA, SAT/ACT test scores, essays and extracurricular activities, one criterion that is often overlooked is called demonstrated interest.
While this criterion did not exist when we went to college, it has become an important one at an increasing number of schools. Colleges want to give offers to students who are most likely to attend, and students are applying to more colleges than ever. The Common Application allows students to easily apply to 10, 20 or even 50 schools. It just requires the click of a mouse and an application fee.
Colleges are playing a numbers game when they give out acceptance letters. They know that only a percentage of the people they give offers to are going to accept, and 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 such as:
requesting info from the college’s website
meeting with a representative at a college fair
making an official visit to the college
following the college on social media
sending thank-you notes after the visit
In chapter 3 of Never Pay Retail for College, I explain more about demonstrated interest and other common mistakes families make in the application process.
With so many students with excellent grades, strong SAT/ACT scores, and an extensive list of extracurricular activities, there is often a fine line between getting a college acceptance letter and a rejection letter let alone merit-based aid or tuition discounts. It’s important that your student know what they can do to increase their odds.
If you would like help planning for college and increasing your student’s odds of acceptance, you can schedule a free consultation.