Yesterday, we scribbled our red notes on a Newsweek piece penned by Jenni Fink in which she essentially underscored the importance of opening and responding to mass emails from colleges as a way to demonstrate interest. One of the chief objectives of our college admissions blog is, after all, to demystify the highly selective college admissions process and to make it less stressful for all. Raising fears that if college applicants don’t open and respond to mass emails sent by colleges, it will hurt their case for admission to these schools doesn’t serve the interest of already stressed out college applicants. And, as common sense should tell you, the argument simply doesn’t hold water.
The Assertion that Only UPenn Cares About Demonstrated Interest Among Ivies is False
But there was an additional point in Fink’s piece on demonstrating interest to colleges that we didn’t scribble red notes on yesterday. We saved those red notes for today (hey, we need to save material for other blogs!). In the piece, she writes, “Of the Ivy League schools – Princeton University, Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania and Yale University – only the University of Pennsylvania considers demonstrated interest, according to College Transition, an admissions consulting provider.” Oh? Did College Transition assert as much? What did they base this on…that the schools write on their websites that Demonstrated Interest isn’t a factor in admissions? The same schools that often falsely claim to be need-blind when they ask on the applications if students need financial aid (a prompt admissions officers are privy to with their own two eyes)? Oy vey is right.
The Only Elite College One Could Argue Doesn’t Care About Demonstrated Interest is Harvard
The notion that the University of Pennsylvania, among the Ivies, is the only school to care about Demonstrated Interest is not only misleading — it’s preposterous. Do our readers not think Cornell cares about Demonstrated Interest? If not, then why is the only essay prompt on Cornell’s supplement a 650-word “Why Cornell” essay? If Dartmouth doesn’t care about Demonstrated Interest, why is one of the two Dartmouth essay prompts a “Why Dartmouth” essay? Columbia has a couple of essay prompts that are essentially “Why Columbia” essays. Yale and Brown ask the question, too. Are our readers starting to get the idea? In fact, we would argue that the only Ivy League school that actually doesn’t care about Demonstrated Interest is Harvard. And why? Because Harvard assumes a student will attend if offered admission. After all, it’s Harvard. But just about every other of our nation’s elite schools are filled with a certain sense of insecurity, some of course more than others.
Think of Demonstrated Interest as a Feeling Rather than a Number So You Approach Showing Interest the Right Way
Demonstrated Interest is not just a number based on the minutes a student spent hovering over a mass email sent by a college. It is not a number based on the sheer quantity of emails a student sent an admissions officer (can you say: annoying?). No matter what colleges state on their websites, no matter what admissions officers may say to the contrary, Demonstrated Interest is a feeling; it’s a feeling, in the holistic college admissions process, of whether or not a student intends to matriculate if admitted. It’s a feeling if the school is the first college choice of the applicant. Are calculations sometimes involved in measuring interest? You bet. But let’s put it this way: If a student responds to every one of a college’s mass emails and visits said college nine times but offers no specifics about that school in the Why College essay — specifics that can only apply to that single school — the student is unlikely to earn admission. No matter how many contacts the student may have made with the admissions office, contacts that, yes, can absolutely hurt the student’s case for admission. No matter how many minutes they may have spent hovering over a mass email.