This school year, I have a high school senior, who I will call Katy. Katy applied to ten schools, mostly in the northeast, with acceptance rates ranging from moderate-to-low. Katy is an A- student and scored 1120 on the SAT exam. At school, she’s co-captain of the volleyball team and Key Club treasurer and liked by all her teachers. Katy spends her weekends planting gardens with the elderly, babysitting the neighbor’s kids, and leading her church’s youth choir. Her academic and extracurricular profile, as well as her positive attitude, make her a strong applicant for the schools on her list.
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What should I do after I submit my application?
I helped Katy put together college applications that would bring out her best qualities. Before she submitted them, Katy asked me if she’d finally be done or if there was more she could do to increase her chances of admission. I advised Katy to continue demonstrating an interest in her schools until they make a decision. Leading up to application season, Katy stayed in contact with her assigned admissions officers. She visited her top colleges’ campuses to tour the grounds, observe classes, and meet with students. I reminded her that college decision deliberations take a few months. Therefore, she’d want to continue getting to know the school, while making sure her name stays on top of the pile.
What is demonstrated interest?
Counselors have long debated if “demonstrated interest” matters in college admissions. Demonstrated interest is the actions you take to show your excitement about enrolling in a college. According to the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), 50% of four-year colleges say that demonstrated interest has importance in admissions decisions. While this is below the emphasis they place on grades, test scores, and activities; it’s still enough for you to integrate demonstrating interest into your admissions game plan.
What can I do to show interest after I submit my application?
Continue reading for a list of action items — what you can do to show a college you are interested in attending and increase your admissions chances.
1. Send a Thank You card.
Each college you applied to has an admissions officer assigned to your region. If you do not know who this person is, find contact information on the admission department’s website. This person is usually the first to read your application. Write your representatives Thank You cards that express your gratitude for them taking the time to consider your application. Also, you should reiterate your enthusiasm for the school and its offerings. End the note by stating how much you look forward to hearing a decision.
2. Interact with colleges on social media.
Last summer, I attended a conference where a Dean of Admissions for a top ten university expressed that social media activity is a factor in their admissions decisions. Not only did he refer to assessing students’ social media profiles, but also their social media interactions with the college. College admissions offices put many resources into recruiting the right students such as creating blogs and online profiles. Students who take the time to “like” and “follow” and comment on blog articles are showing their interest in attending the college. As part of your admissions plan, explore your colleges’ social media channels and blogs. There, you can connect with current students, admissions officers, and professors — all a critical part of your research. Social media channels have more up-to-date campus news, student success stories, and happenings than the main .edu website. Join in social media conversations to show your interest, intellect, and readiness to participate in campus life.
3. Keep in touch with colleges.
Over the next few months, stay in contact with your admissions officers. Make them aware of any updates that could positively influence your file. Have you won any awards? Started working a new job? Have you participated in any new activities? Update your resume and send them a copy.
4. Check your application status.
Most colleges will provide you with a link to check your application status. Check this site as often as you’d like. Receipt status of transcripts, recommendation letters, and test scores are sometimes on these portals. If something is missing, be sure to get it in as soon as possible. Verify that your correct contact information is on file in case the college needs to get in touch with you.
Waiting for college decisions can be nerve-wracking. Keep yourself busy with these tasks and the time will pass quickly. Good luck!
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