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Wanna Get Into College? Show the Love!

Even in the economic downturn, many of the top colleges are still inundated with applications. Some colleges, like Williams, have experienced a decline in applications. Still, the desks of admissions officers are piled high with file folders containing the applications of qualified candidates–many, many more than they can ever accept.

I wrote a very popular article a while back with some advice about how to “dance with an admissions officer.” I offer some tips about how to show the love to an admissions officer, and let that person know that a college (Williams, for example) is really and truly the perfect college for you.

Then the other day, the Boston Globe published an article proclaiming that colleges now favor applicants who show keen interest.

In many respects, the use of “demonstrated interest” (as admissions officers call it) as a criterion for admission is a repsonse by colleges to the huge increase in applications they have seen over the past decade or so.  The Boston Globe reports figures from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC) showing that 22% of colleges now use “demonstrated interest” as a criterion–up from 7% in 2003.

Here’s a snippet from the Boston Globe article that explains the rise in importance of “demonstrated interest.”

The growing importance of “demonstrated interest” is the product of a number of overlapping factors. High school students are applying to a greater number of colleges to better their odds of acceptance, which has made it harder for colleges to estimate how many actually plan to come. This year, the financial downturn and the credit crunch have further complicated the process, with families expected to base their decisions more on cost.

Amid such unpredictability, students who seem excited at the prospect of arriving on campus in the fall are in high demand, admissions officers say. In an ironic twist, the volatile nature of admissions has given students a measure of control over the process.

So, keep up the dance.  Don’t forget to send thank you cards, emails, and Facebook messages to admissions officers at the schools you admire.  Don’t be a nuisance.  But don’t hesitate to flirt!

Mark Montgomery
Educational Planner

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