Demonstrated Interest is a term that doesn’t always make it into the college selection dialogue, but it should. With the turn to online applications for college, schools experienced a surge of applicants.  This threw off their long-standing formulas for how many students to admit.

Colleges are essentially businesses. They need a body in every seat. Before online applications, each college had a formula they were confident in to yield the number of students they wanted to enroll.  Let’s keep it simple. A college establishes how many freshmen they want to enroll for the next school year. They also have an established formula they could rely on where they knew what percentage of applicants they must offer admission to in order to hit their yield for the following school year.

While schools still track such and use formulas, it’s become more difficult to predict with a far greater number of applicants. In comes demonstrated interest.

Think of demonstrated interest like dating. Before a couple starts seeing each other, they send up a lot of flares to demonstrate, “I like you!” This could start by following on Twitter or Instagram, liking on Facebook, or actually flirting in person.  Once you’ve captured that other person’s interest, you hope to move on to becoming an item.

Colleges have learned to track which students are demonstrating interest as well because those are often the students more likely to enroll.  So how do you pursue the college without becoming a pest?

  • Leverage Social Media by liking and following. Before you do so, clean up your personal profiles and move to stricter security settings. Don’t just follow or friend, but interact by liking, sharing, and commenting.
  • Visit the College Website. While there request information, read the posts of those blogging their college experience, and find out who your assigned college admission counselor is for your state or region. Don’t just voyeur but interact!
  • Connect in Your City. College fairs, reps visiting your high school or local college receptions are great.
  • Get on Campus. Nothing says, “I like you” more than taking the time and the effort to visit. You’ll need to do a visit (virtual or in-person), so they know you are interested and be sure to set-up your visit 2-3 weeks in advance. If you visit for say an evening basketball game where there’s no opportunity to check in with those who need to know, perhaps shooting an email to your rep with a comment or question from your time on campus would be a good idea.
Keep in mind, not all schools track your interest. Those most likely to do so are small schools and selective schools. A state flagship in all likelihood doesn’t have the manpower or funds. Pursuing the schools where it does matter may just tilt the scale in your favor.