Admissions Abridged

The Art of Demonstrating Interest

be01d508cdcda214d459_unnamed.jpg
be01d508cdcda214d459_unnamed.jpg

If you’ve perused any forums on college admissions (looking at you, Mom and Dad!) then you’ve already come across the term “Demonstrated Interest.”  It sounds like some sort of corporate terminology, doesn’t it?  That’s because that’s exactly what it is.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: colleges are businesses.  Non-profit status aside, they keep the lights on based on the tuition dollars, or you can say they are “tuition driven.”  That means the primary objective is and always will be meeting or exceeding their enrollment goals for each incoming freshman class. 

Selectivity and prestige are important components of attracting applicants and these factors are bolstered by admitting students who they believe really want to attend.  By maintain their status as a desirable university to attend schools can increase their yield, or the ratio of admitted students.  Bottom line?  Colleges want to decrease their admit rate (ratio of applicants to accepts), increase their yield, and either maintain or grow their overall enrollment.

This is starting to sound like a statistics class, right?  What does any of this have to do with that “demonstrated interest” thing?  This is where you’re able to increase your chances of acceptance at colleges. How are colleges able to make the determination between an applicant that applied to a school as a safety and one who is seriously interested?  Here we are, back at demonstrated interest.

Sign Up for E-News

I’m sorry to have to get all “Big Brother” on you, but colleges are monitoring your every move.  As early as your freshman year of high school colleges may already have a file with your name on it.  True, SAT scores might not be in there yet, but your demonstrations of interest are.  Remember that time you filled out an inquiry card at a college fair?  It’s in there.  Took a tour?  It’s in there.  Also included is that time Mom called the office to check if they got your soccer coach’s recommendation letter again, and they might also be tracking how many times you open all those spam emails they send…creepy, right?

It’s time to beat them at their own game!  Colleges are using all these points of contact to assign you a score you weren’t even aware of: your demonstrated interest.  It’s up to you to bump up your numbers, just as you do everything in your power to increase your GPA and improve your SAT scores.  The best thing is this is a score you have complete control over and trust me it’s just as important as some of those other application pieces, sometimes even more so.

In essence, you want every school you eventually apply to believing they are your #1 choice.  The moment a college comes on your radar hop on their website and fill out their online inquiry form.  Yes, this means the junk mail will start pouring in but your future will thank you for it, even if your mail carrier won’t.  Set up a dedicated college email account and open every email you get.

As you continue your search, think junior year and the summer before senior year, it’s time to amp it up.  Every time you visit a college be sure you’re officially registering for a visit and not just doing a quick drive around campus.  It’s relatively easy to find your admissions counselor’s email address on a school website and it’s worth doing so and dropping them a line to ask about when/if they’ll be visiting your high school this fall or if there’s any other local events you can attend.  Meet with this admissions counselor and be sure to fill out another inquiry form at that meeting.  If you’re pursuing a spot on an NCAA team treat coaches just like admissions counselors; respond to their outreaches in a timely manner and accept invitations for visits whenever possible. 

The goal is for each college to which you apply to have a long list of contacts from you reaching back as far as possible.  This will lead a school to conclude that you are a serious applicant and your application will be considered with this in mind.  You want admissions counselors to say, “Oh yes, I’ve been in contact with ‘Ben’ for months now!  He’s super interested in our Theater program.  I’m sure he’ll attend if we admit him.”  And apply early.  I’ve written a previous column on different decision types but to sum it up briefly apply as early as you’re able.

One more point on this, notice how none of my recommendations include your mom and dad?  That’s because schools aren’t nearly as interested in how they feel about a school.  Even though parents are probably going to foot the bill colleges know that 9 times out of 10 it’s the student who will drive the final college decision.  I am pleading with high school students to take ownership of this process and make these points of contact.  As a former admissions counselor I can 100% guarantee you that yes, they can tell when mom is pretending to respond to emails and texts as you.  Yes, we can tell when Mom or Dad try to disguise their voice on the phone.  We can tell when you were forced to meet with us because we’re home to dad’s favorite Big 10 team but you have absolutely zero interest.   I know high schoolers already have tons on their plates but it’s really worth it, I promise.

Don’t believe me?  I recently attended a super-nerdy college admissions conference during which I heard many universities say they are relying more and more on demonstrated interest because the caliber of applicants is so strong they have no other way to make their decisions.  I’ve personally worked with students who have been accepted to Ivy League schools and denied at less competitive institutions because it was clear the school was a safety choice.  Wondering why Joe in your math class got into Super Popular University and you didn’t even though your scores are stronger?  It’s probably because Joe has been showing the school love for years and applied early.  “SPU” see Joe as a sure thing but hadn’t even heard from you until they got your application.  Joe was the safer bet for those tuition dollars they desperately need.

And their situation is desperate.  A quick Google search will show you just how many colleges are throwing in the towel every year.  Even colleges that are highly selective and popular need to viciously fight to stay that way.  The admissions process can seem maddeningly secretive and arbitrary but the ball is more in your court than you think.  Seize the power my friends!

Admissions Abridged distills news and trends from the college admissions world to provide college-bound students and their families with helpful tools to approach the application process.

Kate Balboni has earned a Master’s in School Counseling and is a certified New Jersey School Counselor.  She has served as an admissions counselor for Drew University and as a regional admissions coordinator at the University of South Carolina.  During her time in Undergraduate Admissions she has reviewed thousands of applications and student essays, conducted hundreds of student interviews, and has visited over 50 college campuses throughout the nation.  Kate is the owner of Balboni College Advising, a concierge college consulting service, providing one-on-one guidance and counseling throughout the college application process.  For more information please visit www.balbonicollegeadvising.com

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Annual Dinner and Tricky Tray Returns to Support Rescue Dogs

February 19, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Guests can win more than 100 prize baskets, enjoy a full-scale Italian-themed dinner, take part in a super 50/50 raffle, and make a tangible difference to thousands of rescue dogs on March 3 as Home for Good Dog Rescue’s annual “Taste of Italy” Spaghetti & Meatballs Dinner and Tricky Tray returns for the ninth consecutive year to the Long Hill ...

Center for Hope Hospice Starts 2018 with $10,000 Donation from RSI Bank

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – RSI Bank, headquartered in Rahway, has been a long-time supporter of the Center for Hope Hospice, which offers hospice and palliative care in its two residences, in patients’ homes and other healthcare settings.

A generous donation from the bank has helped the Center start the year with $10,000 more in its Charitable Care Program, which enables those ...

Third Annual Rockin' For Autism Music Festival

All-day festival benefiting Autism New Jersey will feature local bands, food trucks, vendors, a merchant raffle, bake sale, obstacle course and lots of family fun! Join us for a day of great music, food, fun -- and help us raise funds and awareness for a great cause.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. April 14, in LaGrande Park. 200 LaGrande Ave., ...

HOLD: Fellowship Helping Hands Receives Home Care Award

Fellowship Helping Hands, the home care agency operated by Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge,  has received the 2018 Best of Home Care® – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse, announced Liz Fandel, vice president of Home Community Based Services at Fellowship Senior Living.

Fellowship Helping Hands is a New Jersey licensed home care service for older and ...

Colleen Mahr Is The Leader Our Party Needs

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

My name is Patti Murgo. I am Committeewoman in Linden’s Eighth Ward. I am a life-long  DEMOCRAT, a party activist, and a believer in what being a democrat stands for. Last week, I received a piece of literature from our municipal chairman, Nick Scutari, regarding his “plans” for the County Democratic Party if he is elected county chairman.

Mr.

No One Is More Qualified and Capable to be Our Next Democratic Committee Chair Than Colleen Mahr

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a pillar of consistency in Union County for the last 20 years, having devoted her life to public service. There is no one more qualified and capable to lead us as our next Union County Democratic Committee Chair.

Colleen has mentored, coached and supported countless candidates running for office in Union County, all across our 21 ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, February 19, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...