Some aspects of the college admissions process are fairly straightforward, such as grades and standardized tests scores. Others may be a little less clear, like demonstrating interest in specific colleges. So how do you navigate around expressing interest to a college? Here are some tips:
- Find the colleges you want to focus: Finding colleges that you want give more attention to is important. You cannot focus on all your colleges but giving the ones you feel you really see yourself going to will help a lot.
- Meet Admissions Representatives and go to college fairs: These are places where colleges are really exposed and want to hear you out. Go talk to admissions reps, show them your face, a resume, and ask meaningful questions so that they remember you while reading your apps. Admissions reps divide regions and countries amongst themselves which means that the ones coming to you might be the ones that read your applications first. Making an impression with them will be important!
- Email lists: Once you have met a college rep, you are entered into a college database as students that are interested in the institution. Signing up on email lists demonstrates interest as well as gives you great fodder for interviews and supplemental applications. In fact, colleges can track how much time you spend on their website, another metric to track your engagement which is important to know about.
- Campus Visits: This might be hard for most people applying from outside of the US but visiting the actual campus is one of the best ways of figuring out if you will fit in. While reading about the school and speaking with representatives can give you a general idea of what the college is like, you might not really be able to tell until you actually see the physical space. How does the campus make you feel? Do the students seem similar to you? How will you fit in? Does the campus meet or even exceed your expectations? Visiting college not only gives you a sense of how well you might fit in, but also shows the colleges that you are invested enough in their school to make the effort to see it firsthand
- Setting up an interview: As mentioned above, if you do get the opportunity to visit a college, be sure to request an on-campus interview if the college offers this option. Some colleges may offer them at specific times or (e.g. once you’ve applied, junior spring, senior fall, etc.) so be sure to request it when the timing is right. While some colleges may tell you that the interview is non-evaluative, the fact is, it is still part of your application—and another way for them to gauge your interest in the school. If a college does offer on-campus interviews and is in a location that is reasonably accessible to you, it may look like you don’t care enough to make the effort if you don’t request one. If the school is not within driving distance, you may be able to request an off-campus interview with a parent or alum or when they fly down to your city.
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