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The Importance Of Demonstrating Interest

Stephen Friedfeld, Ph.D.

With college admissions so competitive today, applicants must increasingly focus on ways to differentiate themselves. If all high school seniors have a 1480 SAT, volunteer at the local soup kitchen and captain the state champion varsity football squad, how will you ever stand out from the pack?


Of course, admissions officers and guidance counselors recommend focusing on what makes you – you. If you’re interested in medicine, take advanced biology classes and get an internship at the local hospital. If you’re interested in business, consider starting one. If you’re interested in education, volunteer at a local school.

Performing well in high school classes, getting involved in extracurricular activities and nailing standardized tests are only pieces to the admissions puzzle. If you’re about to start the college admissions process, they are also in the past. At this point, you don’t have much control over them.

So let’s talk about a simple strategy that you can do now. It’s called demonstrating interest in colleges. And demonstrating interest can give you a leg up. Here are some examples:

• Visiting a college campus – and signing in;
• Going to an info session held by a college – and meeting with an admissions officer;
• Speaking with a college rep – and following up with a thank you note.

Demonstrating interest is exactly what it sounds like: showing admissions officers that you’re excited about attending a particular college. Many colleges keep track of this interest and then factor how much you’ve expressed as part of the admissions decision. Schools want to admit students that want to attend. Tell them!

Just don’t go overboard. Meeting a college’s entire admissions office, visiting campus 14 times and sending 6 thank you notes (and 3 emails) won’t guarantee you admission.

In fact, it might do the opposite.

(Stephen is the co-founder of EqualApp (www.EqualApp.com) and a former admissions officer at Cornell University and Princeton University. EqualApp connects families of high school students with former college admissions officers who provide 1-on-1 guidance that improves applicants’ chances of getting admitted. Lokvani readers get a free initial 30-minute phone consultation with a former admissions officer. (http://learnmore.equalapp.com/free-counseling-session) )

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