Visiting Colleges As We Emerge from the Pandemic

Emory University claims not to care about Demonstrated Interest. That’s cute. Emory literally invented Demonstrated Interest.

A number of folks have been asking us of late when Ivy Coach’s famously accurate crystal ball predicts college campuses will open up for in-person tours and information sessions. And while our crystal ball gives many readings each year, we’ve asked it many times, “When are campuses going to open up for in-person tours and info sessions?” It has not given us an answer. We rub it. We shake it. We put it in hot water. We kick it. Our dog barks at it. Yet still, it remains silent on this query. It’s very frustrating. So we just don’t know when you’ll be able to make formal visits to UPenn and Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton. We don’t know when you’ll get to follow a young person walking backwards into — hopefully not — oncoming traffic.

When One Domino Falls, The Rest Will Follow

But we do know this with absolute certainty: When one college opens up, the rest will follow. Yale is not going to open up while Brown and Duke stay shuttered. That would never happen. And why? Because they’re all competing for the same students. They can’t risk students falling in love with Yale while their doors are closed to visitors. No way, no how. So the moment you read that one elite university has opened its doors to parents and prospective students, know that there will be a slew of announcements shortly thereafter announcing the return of the in-person campus tour and information session.

Students Must Visit Colleges to Demonstrate Interest

And, yes, you must visit. Visiting is a key way of demonstrating interest — and just about every highly selective college, in spite of what some tell you to the contrary, cares about Demonstrated Interest. Case in point: Emory University. On Emory’s website, it states, “Does demonstrated interest matter at Emory University? Nope!…There are many reasons we do not factor demonstrated interest into an applicant’s decision. One of the most important is that we truly want to admit students based on who they are. From our perspective, filling out an entire application, finding teachers to write letters of recommendation, and submitting your short answer responses is not a flippant decision. If you’ve taken the time and energy to do that, then that’s all the interest we need to see! Obviously you are interested in attending Emory University.” Believe them, of course, at your peril. Heck, Emory invented Demonstrated Interest. The notion that Emory doesn’t care to be loved is just plain preposterous.


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  • Denise Erlich says:

    Playing devils advocate, don’t some schools want to reject those that want them? As in, ‘If you’re so interested in our school, maybe you’re not good enough to get in’? How do you discern the right amount if demonstrated interest? Contacting an Admissions Officer, a teacher, taking a school-guided tour and making sure your name is in the ledger? How much is too much and how little is too little?

    • Ivy Coach says:

      We’re never in favor of obsequious and superfluous communications to admissions officers. But college admissions is not like dating where hiding your interest is part of the game. It always behooves applicants to demonstrate interest in colleges the right way, which is a big part of what we help our students at Ivy Coach do.

  • Steven says:

    Just a friendly note from an Emory Admission staffer—Emory does not use demonstrated interest in our holistic review process for determining admittance. This policy has been in place since the mid 2000s.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Hi Steven,

      We are well aware what Emory writes on its admissions website. In fact, we cited what’s written on Emory’s site. We are also well aware that college admissions officers, as holier than thou as some purport to be, write that students with great test scores have no advantage over students with no scores under test-optional admissions policies. Or that colleges say they’re need-blind when so many directly ask on their supplements — which admissions officers can read with their own two eyes — if students need financial aid. Or that they don’t discriminate against Asian American applicants. And so on. So you’re not convincing anyone here that Emory doesn’t care about Demonstrated Interest. Emory invented Demonstrated Interest. Next we imagine you’ll tell us that Emory doesn’t care about its ranking in “US News & World Report.” You’re in a no spin zone :). But, if you’d like, we’d be happy to have a friendly debate with you on our blog via video, which is read by tens of thousands daily, on Demonstrated Interest at Emory. We suggest you bring more to the debate, though, then words on your website that say you don’t measure Demonstrated Interest. You’ll have to show rather than tell. Let us know! We’d love to be proven wrong. But you will need to prove it.

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