Show Colleges You Love Them

Show Schools You Love Them, Love Colleges, Show Interest in Colleges

HBO had a show called “Tell Me You Love Me.” We say, “Show colleges you love them.”

In dating, sometimes it’s best to play it cool, aloof if you will. Maybe take a couple of days to write a date back. Maybe don’t tell them you love them and want to have babies with them on the very first date. And by maybe we mean definitely for this last point. But in highly selective college admissions, the game is different. In college admissions, you don’t want to leave colleges guessing about whether or not you’re actually interested in attending their institution. You want each college to believe that this college — and this college alone — is your clear first choice and, if you had the good fortune to be admitted, you will attend. In dating, playing it cool has its benefits. You want to keep them guessing. In college admissions, it’s the precise opposite.

So how do you convince a college that you love them? Well, for starters, visit each school you hope to get into. If you don’t visit, how will you even know that you want to go to this school? What if you get into a school, matriculate, and then discover that just about everyone at the school has purple hair? This is something you likely could have gleaned from a visit. Save yourself the time, energy, and frustration of having to transfer. And when you do visit, go on the tour and attend the info session. Many highly selective colleges — though not all — will physically check you in at the reception desk. Maybe they’ll have a card that you fill out. Maybe the receptionist will type your name into a database. Whatever it is, do it. If a college doesn’t have a physical check-in option, that’s fine. Just always double check when you get there.

Many colleges record a student’s visit. They even quantify it (hi Emory University!). In highly selective college admissions, we call this the Interest Quotient, or IQ if you will. But even if a college doesn’t record a student’s visit (hi University of Pennsylvania!), colleges still find ways to figure out if you really love them. Penn, Cornell, Yale, Columbia, and Brown are examples of Ivy League colleges that have Why College essays, questions that are designed to gauge if you really want to attend their institution, if you’ve really done your homework. Most students submit cliche, absolutely bland Why College essays that demonstrate no specifics about the university. In these Why College essays, the game is specifics, specifics, specifics.

If you’re a rising senior (or the parent of a rising senior) interested in our assistance with college applications and the many admissions essays that go along with them (including Why College essays), contact us today to get started with a free consultation.


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  • Eden says:

    It’s funny that you mention Emory. We were recently on a visit there and they made it a point to tell everyone that they no longer track “interest” nor consider it when deciding upon an applicant Is this not true? And if it’s not, why would they lie?

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Eden, you asked why would colleges lie. Whoever suggested that Emory doesn’t care about interest may not be in the loop. If they weren’t still tracking interest, then why would they have interest forms to complete on their site? If a rep had said this, it’s possible that he or she was instructed to say such because most applicants are on to colleges tracking demonstrated interest. Colleges don’t always tell the full truth because it doesn’t serve their interest. As an example, colleges suggest that they’re need blind. Think about it. If they were need blind, why would colleges ask on the application if students need aid? If colleges admitted a class in which everyone needed aid, they’d go broke. We are sorry to burst your bubble but colleges — all highly selective colleges (not just Emory) — lie. Of course Emory cares about interest. Of course they’ll admit a higher percentage of students in Early Decision as compared to Regular Decision. These students have expressed interest in the school. Of course colleges gauge interest in Why College essays and through other means. But if you’d like to believe these colleges, you’re of course free to do so. If Walter White was the kingpin of the crystal meth trade in “Breaking Bad,” Emory University is the kingpin of the need to show interest.

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