What is Demonstrated Interest in College Applications?

Application Strategies
June 9, 2020
Over The Past Five Years, Demonstrated Interest Has Become Increasingly Important To A Student’s Chance Of Admission…

While the art of demonstrating interest in a college is subtle and easily missed by even the most serious of students, applicants who take the time to get invested in their top schools can give themselves an edge. Even when students can’t make a physical visit to campus, there are plenty of ways to show that you are determined to attend a college.

In these uncertain and challenging times, making real progress toward college applications and demonstrating interest can be a great way to move forward toward your higher education goals.

What Is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated interest is best defined as the ways in which a student shows genuine interest in attending a university or college. These informal actions can go a long way to proving a student’s seriousness about attending a college. Well-known examples include taking college tours and visiting an institution’s booth at college fairs, but there are many other ways students can show their enthusiasm for a school as well.

Demonstrated interest can encompass any notable interaction between a student and a college. It boils down to one question: have you shown real curiosity in the school you’re applying to? In these strange times, this can include virtual tours, webinars, and emails back and forth between students and admissions representatives.

More than anything else, a student’s actions are the best way to demonstrate interest. Every college admissions office has ready thousands of “this is my dream college” essays. Many students attend college tours and fairs for several different colleges rather than solely their top choice. Because of this, it’s more important than ever for a student to use their actions to show how serious they are about attending an institution.

Why Demonstrate Interest?

Many students fail to take the extra steps necessary to demonstrate interest out of the belief that it will not make a difference.

However, it is always worth it to demonstrate interest!

Not only will a student be making a good first impression with their future college, but it can also help push a student’s application over the edge from the waitlist to the accepted list.

With more students applying to colleges than ever before, it’s becoming increasingly hard for students to stand out. Consistently demonstrating interest in a school is one of the easiest ways for a student to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd. Additionally, many of the ways that students can demonstrate interest require only moderate effort, while the payoff of making a good impression is well worth it.

How Students Can Demonstrate Interest In A College

Even if a student can’t physically show up to a guided college tour or meet in person with representatives at college fairs, there are still easy ways for students to show their interest in a college. If a student focuses on the following tips during their college applications, they will be able to communicate just how serious they are about attending college.


From writing supplemental “optional” essays to recording a video introduction of yourself, colleges are offering students increasingly large amounts of optional application sections to demonstrate their interest. Make sure your student completes every optional part of their application that they can to show how serious they take their application.

Optional essays and short-answer responses are one of the most important ways a student can demonstrate interest. Taking the time to submit every optional essay shows a student’s dedication to their application. Remember, however, that tailoring an essay to a student’s personality and the school’s programs itself is a better idea than gushing about the college for 500 words. Answer the prompt above all else.


Many colleges offer interviews with prospective students. Not only do these interviews give students a chance to learn more about their dream college, but they also serve as a way to demonstrate interest. Taking the time out of your life to schedule an interview with an admissions officer or alumni is a step beyond just filling out an application that many students do not take.

An interview is a key way for students to show interest, especially during times when a physical college tour may not be an option. An in-depth conversation with someone who knows the ins and outs of a school can help your student feel more confident in their choice as well. These interviews are often daunting for students, so take the time and help them prepare to ace their college interviews.


Now more than ever, colleges and universities across the US are turning to social media and other forms of online engagement to keep in touch with potential students. Colleges even track if students open their emails, so even students who do not use social media can get engaged with their colleges online. These emails can often include updates that your student needs to know as well.

Other than opening emails, students can participate in virtual tours and interact with an institution on its official social media pages. While it’s rare for a college to go through a student’s personal social media pages one by one, they are aware of who engages with their school on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These platforms are often used to recruit new students and reach out to applicants, so make sure your student follows and interacts with them!


Deciding to apply through a college or university’s early decision deadline is the ultimate way for a student to show commitment to a potential college. Because many early decision programs require that students commit to attending a school if they’re accepted, these applications come with far more serious considerations for students. As such, many colleges account for the increased likelihood of an early decision applicant attending if admitted, and this weighs into their decision.

However, the benefits of early decision can often outweigh the benefit of displaying commitment. For students who are not 100% sold on a single college, early action deadlines are generally more suitable than early decision. But if a student has their heart set on a single institution that offers early decision, consider making the commitment to show the institution just how serious your student’s desire to attend is.

Showing Determination In College Applications

Overall, the reason that showing demonstrated interest in a college is so important is less about the process itself and more about a student being willing to show interest in things that are important to them. A student with determination and dedication will show up to college fairs, read college email updates, and make an effort to complete optional parts of applications. Colleges want to fill their campuses with students with the attention to detail and persistence that demonstrated interest takes.

Our WeAdmit counselors know how difficult it can be to squeeze in the time to make serious efforts to demonstrate interest. Especially in these confusing times surrounding college applications, we know that sometimes you can be left with more questions than answers in your child’s college admission journey. In our latest webinar, we’ll be answering your most pressing questions and teaching you the strategies you’ll need to make the most of your student’s time preparing their college applications, with a special focus on how Covid-19 could affect their college plans.



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