Question of the day: My daughter has the flu and cannot attend her prescheduled visits to two of her top schools over break. Will she hurt her chances of being admitted if she is a no show?
The fear of not showing adequate interest to a college during the admissions process is a frequent hot topic during this time of the year. With decisions for admission pending, students rely on campus visits as a primary means to demonstrate their high level of interest in a college. Behind the scenes, admissions staff use this tracking as a tool to predict yield (the percentage of admitted students who enroll in a college).
While these students are correct in their belief that some colleges do track applicant contact to gauge eagerness to attend, not all do. According to a study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, roughly half of all colleges and universities place either moderate or high importance on an applicant's interest in attending the school. Those institutions not using demonstrated interest as a factor in the admission process believe campus visits better serve as a means of helping students make an informed choice about their college plans.
My advice? Do a little research to find out whether or not the colleges to which you are applying put much weight on demonstrated interest. If they do, campus visits are merely one of the several ways to achieve this task. Check out these additional useful options:
High School Visits – Admissions counselors routinely travel throughout the admission season to visit students giving you excellent opportunities to connect with representatives from the colleges of your choice.
Mailing List – If you haven’t had an opportunity to connect with a representative at a college fair, but sure to provide your information online to join the mailing list.
College Fairs – Stop by the booths of the colleges you are interested in to introduce yourself and provide your contact information.
College Interviews – If the interview is optional, do it. The interview is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your interest and fit. Don’t overlook interview opportunities with a student or alum, too.
Thank You Notes - If you connect with a college representative, do send an email the next day to thank him/her for meeting with you. Be sure to include one or two aspects of the college that appeal to you. Want to make a great impression? Send a handwritten note.
Apply Early – If you are very certain about your college list, applying early is a clear sign of interest. With two options available in the early admission process, Early Decision and Early Action, be sure you are clear about the objectives of each. While both options involve an earlier application deadline than regular admissions and earlier notification of admissions decisions, Early Decision programs are usually binding.
Supplemental Essays – While Common App essays can be used for any school accepting the application, supplemental essays are an opportunity to let you shine and demonstrate your interest. As with any writing you are submitting during the application process, be sure to answer the question you are being asked in the supplemental essay with a concise, well-crafted response.
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