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LAUNCH THOUGHTS - What You Don't Know Could Hurt You

Founder Lauren Joyce Hensel shares insight into DEMONSTRATED INTEREST, how some universities use it, and how to master it living outside America.

Lately, we are meeting many families who do not know anything about demonstrated interest - particularly at international schools, where counselors may need to know multiple application processes. It seems demonstrated interest falls to the wayside, and families are losing valuable insight into this factor used in American university admissions. So what is demonstrated interest?

Demonstrated interest is the extent to which a students shows a university their eagerness to attend that particular school - with one of the most popular ways being the beloved campus visit. Over the years, demonstrated interest has grown into an important factor in some admission offices. In the past the submission of an application led universities to believe a student was interested in attending; however, as students are applying to more colleges than ever. In 2015, NACAC reported 35% of undergraduate students applied to seven or more colleges.

As more students are applying to schools for a limited number of enrollment spots, an application is not enough to justify interest. Thus, universities are adapting to meet their enrollment goals. In fact, between 2004 and 2011 (see page 23), the percentage of school utilizing demonstrated interest in admissions rose from 7% to 23%. Why? Simply put, universities want to know if you really love them and are likely to graduate. Demonstrated interest is one way to assist them in predicting if YOU are that person. Since international students and expats living abroad often have a hard time making it to university campuses for visits if they are living outside the continental US resulting in the question, you may be wondering how you can demonstrate interest if a campus visit is not possible?

Fortunately, in the digital age, universities are providing more and more ways for students to engage with them and show they would love to be part of a school’s campus and community. Below are five simple ways students living abroad can demonstrate interest WITHOUT physically visiting campus.

Interact with the school representative at university fairs. Schools send representatives all around the world looking to connect with students like you! Take the time to visit the representatives at college fairs. The Council of International Schools (CIS) lists global university fairs by region on their website. Save the date on your calendar and get networking!

Apply before deadlines. Students who are excited about attending a university will often apply BEFORE the deadline - and not by minutes. The earlier you submit your completed application (all components), the more you are interested in attending - pure and simple. At LAUNCH, we work with clients to strategize application submission dates based on interest to maximize their admission chances and show counselors a student’s interest in a school.

Like and follow schools on social media. Just because you are not on campus, doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the action. Like, share, comment away on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. Keep comments positive. Make sure to tag schools as well if you chat with them at a university fair. They will notice!

Attend a webinar or virtual tour. More and more schools are offering students the option to attend a webinar or virtual tour that you must register for ahead of time and actually sign onto via the internet. This is a way for universities to know you are about the school as well as particular programs. A simple webinar could make all the difference in being admitted or not. Do you want to leave your future up to 30 minutes that you had control over?

Open those emails. You know which ones I am talking about right? All those emails from universities that you think are spam and choose not to open. If any of those emails are from a university on your list, open it, read it, and click through the links to the website. Universities are using the data such as open rate, click through rate, and more to help determine if a student is interested in them. Leave no email unopened.

By the way, tracking demonstrated interest doesn’t stop once you are accepted. Universities will want data after you graduate as a way to determine if you are going to donate. Perhaps demonstrated interest is just preparation for the university's future fundraising plans? #dreamlaunchsoar

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