What juniors can do now to get in next April

Most juniors think their job is to find the schools they want to apply to in the fall. The more ambitious ones might be writing application essays now, too. And they’re right. But what about “demonstrated interest”? It’s a term that is often mentioned in articles on admissions trends. So what exactly is “demonstrated interest” and how can you successfully do it?

Demonstrated interest describes a student’s efforts to show that a school is at the top of his or her list. Admissions officers gauge interest in an attempt to predict who will attend if admitted.

Here’s a list of ways to best demonstrate interest. It is important to note that the applicant, rather than a parent, must be the one showing the interest. Phone calls and emails from parents can actually hurt your chances for admission at some selective schools.

  • Visit the college if possible. It shows you’ve invested the time to check out the campus. While there, take the tour, arrange to sit in on a class, and talk with students. If you’re interested in majoring in a specific department, arrange to meet with a professor or students pursuing the major and ask questions.

  • Identify the Regional Admissions Officer at each college on your list. This is the person responsible for applications from your part of the country. Get to know this person through both email and phone conversations. Ask this person to help you decide if the school is a good fit.

  • Respond to recruiting emails or correspondence.

  • Attend a college fair or a college reception

  • Meet with the admissions officer who visits your high school or local area.

  • Answer the “why you want to attend” question on your application as thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible.

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