While some high school seniors are getting ready to put a deposit down at the college of their choice, many juniors are visiting college campuses as part of their ongoing college search. These visits are not only informative for the students, but are an important component in the school selection and application process known as “demonstrated interest.”
“Demonstrated interest” involves showing up on campus, attending an information session, taking a tour, and keeping in contact via email with a school’s admission office. Because families make appointments for these visits ahead of time, colleges have the name of the student in their database of potential students. Colleges can then use this information to target students who might be serious candidates for admission and enrollment. It is a way for colleges to gauge the seriousness of a potential student—to separate those who are excited to be applying, and those who are using the school only as a fallback safety.
Be aware that there is a difference between registering to take part in events on campus and simply visiting a friend or walking around the campus without going through admissions. The latter does not provide the school with the information to reach out to a student and to consider them part of their potential application pool. If you plan on visiting a school, please make it official by going through the admissions office, and follow up with a thank you email.
There are other ways of showing demonstrated interest as well: students can attend an event at a regional venue or meet a college rep at their high school. Others reach out to their regional admissions representative; some have interviews at schools, if they are offered. Interviewing shows a seriousness of interest and shows the college a certain amount of buy-in from the student. And now, using social media is another way of showing interest. Engaging with a school by “liking” or “following” them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter is another way to show interest and allows schools to reach out to you.
So as you get ready for campus visits, remember to make prior arrangements through the admissions office in order to get your name in their files. It’s never a bad idea to give an admissions committee a reason to remember your name from an earlier contact when they are reading your application.