…not a sprint. Take your time and pay attention to the details.
Can’t visit? Check out virtual tours, YouTube videos and school’s presence on social media.
Demonstrated interest is a relatively new phenomenon in college admissions over the last several years. While some schools won’t care how many times a student has shown his or her interest, a lot of schools will.
These schools aren’t the ones you will find at the top of the U.S. News or Forbes rankings – but then again, you should already know what to think about these lists – because those schools don’t have to care. Being that highly ranked and being that selective in their application review means they don’t have to do anything and kids will still fall all over themselves to apply each year.
Other schools, however, are very interested in just how interested their applicants are in them and will often say so right on their websites. For one, they are trying to find students who are eager to attend rather than ones who are just eager to apply. A student who wants to attend is likely a student who will enroll and do well resulting in a student who graduates in four years. In the college world, this is called yield. And when an admissions staff can more accurately predict their yield, they can enroll a class that meets the institution’s goals. This is also why the elite schools who crowd the top of the rankings don’t have to put any value on demonstrated interest – their yield is already incredibly high.
So, just how do you demonstrate your interest?
1. Social Media.
Colleges are on social media just waiting for you. Go find them on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Like them, tweet them and follow them. Some colleges are tracking this information very closely.
2. Campus Tours
One of the best ways to get a feel for a college is to visit campus. But when a college asks you to RSVP and then to sign in when you get there, you can bet they’re tracking you. When you’re there, get business cards from everyone you meet and follow up with a thank you or a brief note saying what you enjoyed most about your visit.
One way to really make the most of your college visits is to schedule an interview ahead of time. It’s a great way for you to get your specific questions answered but it’s also a great way to make an impression with an admission counselor. Ideally, you want to interview with the counselor who will be reviewing your application. ALWAYS follow up with a thank you email.
4. Applying Early
You have choices in the way you apply to a college and applying early is one way to show a college how interested you are. By applying early, you show that you’ve done your homework and researched the college well before senior year arrived. You show that you’re a more serious applicant and, when combined with a visit, an interview and connections through social media, a college is more likely to feel that you are an applicant who wants to do more than just apply.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation. Also be sure to snag your free copy of the Top Ten Tips For Navigating The College Admissions Journey.
Last month I spent some time travelling in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island where I met some amazing students, faculty and admission counselors at several colleges. As much as I enjoyed the trips personally, it also brought to mind just how important it is to understand what a college is all about before you apply.
Because if you don’t understand a college’s personality, you may end up in the wrong place. End up in the wrong place, and you may be very unhappy.
For example, at Messiah College, a Christian college in Mechanicsburg, PA, everything is about meaning and faith. What does it mean to be me, what I know and what I believe in? What does it mean to be an athlete, a writer, a musician, a male, a female, straight or gay? Messiah encourages deep conversation about everything we experience in life and how it relates to our faith.
At Clark University in Worcester, MA, the student body is very liberal and very unique. Clark is a place where difference is celebrated as diversity and the more diverse, the better. Cliques do not exist at Clark as all students are involved in a little bit of everything; it is common to find a student who is a strong athlete and a great artist as well.
I walked around Messiah feeling peaceful, like I wanted to take it all in and figure out the meaning of life. At Clark, I was constantly wondering what else I would see around the next corner and how colorful or loud it might be.
My personal reflections aside, there’s so much to like about each school. They both offer a liberal arts education strengthened by their pre-professional programs in business, engineering and health sciences. They also have generous merit scholarship programs for their best students which you can check out here and here.
But they are very different places and that’s important for you to know because a student at either school would more than likely feel very much out of place at the other school.
So, as you look at colleges and visit their campuses, pay close attention to how the campus feels, how the people feel and how the atmosphere feels. You want to walk away with a more informed opinion of how you would fit in so that you make sure to end up in the right place.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a free consultation.
I received a call the other day from one my students, Nick, who had spent the day at SUNY Oneonta, a regional state university situated in the middle of upstate New York. He was scheduled to attend their information session but had also called ahead to secure an interview with an admission counselor. With the school residing nearly four hours from his hometown, it wasn’t likely that he was going back for a second visit before application season takes off. The school had only recently shown up on Nick’s radar and with a day off from school for Rosh Hashanah, he and his dad made the trek to campus.
Once the interview was over, Nick and his dad decided to skip the information session. He felt they had already received so much good information from the admission counselor that sitting through a 45-minute presentation would be redundant. They took a chance and decided to go off the beaten path to explore campus on their own.
Nick is a prospective music industry major so they decided to visit the music building to take a look around. Once inside, they ran into a few students. They made small talk with the students and then happened upon a professor who was on his way to teach a class. After introducing himself, the professor offered to show them around the building. He talked about the program’s strengths, the opportunities that were there for a student like Nick and also showed them around the sound recording studios. But it’s what happened next that got me so excited for Nick.
Realizing the time had come for his class to start shortly, the professor invited Nick to sit in on his class.
Nick accepted this professor’s offer and spent the next hour and half getting a taste of what a college class would feel like.
I’m so proud of him for doing what he did and I couldn’t have scripted it any better even if I had tried. If Nick had just sat through the information session, he would have missed out on all of this. He never would have sat in on the class, he never would have had a first hand look at the studios and he never would have called me with the level of excitement in his voice that I heard that day.
Instead, he took a chance, struck up some conversations and ended up having an experience that may just end up being a game-changer by the time his applications have been submitted and the dust has settled.
Now, that’s how you make the most of a college visit.
If you want some help and guidance on your college search and application process, contact me today to set up an appointment for a FREE 60-minute consultation.