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Demonstrate Interest: An Essential Ingredient in your Application

By Lori McGlone, co-founder and CEO of Tractus Insight, a website that helps families navigate the college search with less stress and discover schools that are a great fit.


As you complete college applications, it will seem like you are providing admission officers with a ton of information about your accomplishments and ambitions. But did you know that there is a critical piece of information that isn’t even on the application? One that could make the difference between an acceptance or a rejection?

What is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated Interest’ is a term used in the admissions world to describe the level of contact an applicant has had with a college before applying. Visiting the campus, chatting with a rep at a college fair, joining the school’s mailing list, following them on social media, emailing a question to the admissions department, meeting with a rep who visits your high school, interviewing, replying to emails they send—these are ALL forms of demonstrated interest that colleges track.

Why Does it Matter to Colleges?

Most colleges receive more applications from great students than they have space to admit, so they need to look for other clues to determine which people are serious about attending. Also, in the age of electronic applications, students tend to apply to more colleges than they did in the past, but each person can still only attend one school! So admissions teams need to be strategic about whom to accept so they can end up with the perfect number of freshman on their campus in the fall.

Next Steps

If you’re a senior who will apply to colleges this fall, be sure that you are ‘on the radar’ with the admissions offices at every school you’ll apply to. If you’re a sophomore or junior, make sure that you demonstrate interest in colleges throughout your college search.

The best part about incorporating demonstrated interest into your college search is that, in the end, it will actually make you a more informed applicant! It benefits both the applicant and the admissions team when everyone who applies knows why the college is a good fit.

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