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How to Demonstrate Interest to Colleges and Stand Out as an Applicant

Demonstrated interest. You might have heard the term before, but do you actually know what it means? You know that it has something to do with the college application process, but just how important is it and how do you…do it? Luckily, Yonder College Counseling can shed some light on the topic, as well as outline effective ways to demonstrate interest to your favorite colleges.

What is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated interest (DI) is a way for admissions officers to gauge a prospective applicant’s level of interest in their school. This helps them assess the likelihood that the applicant will accept an offer from them. 

Why is it important?

Admissions officers care about yield: the number of admitted applicants who actually enroll at their school. Yield is valued because not only does it determine enrollment, but it also raises the college’s ranking and its perceived desirability. And if you have a dream school that you would attend if admitted, then letting admissions know that could work in your favor.

Do all colleges track Demonstrated Interest?

No. Some, like the UCs and Ivies, do not track DI. By searching online for a college's annual Common Data Set, you can see which ones track DI and by how much - Very Important, Important, Considered, Not Considered. 

So how do I demonstrate interest?

You can demonstrate interest in a number of ways, many of which are tracked by Admissions Officers:

Sign up for information

You can register to receive information directly from colleges, either by registering on their web sites, or by scanning QR codes and filling out inquiry cards at college fairs. Any of these methods will put you in the college’s system for future reference.

Email and ping data

Virtual or in-person visits

High school visits and college fairs

Connect with an Admissions Officer


Connect with a faculty member or coach

Applications round status

Rock your supplemental essays

A note about Demonstrated Interest...

This blog discusses DI in general terms and should be used as a guide. Although DI is commonly tracked, it is used differently by colleges depending on the school’s institutional priorities. While it is most widely used to assess a potential offer of enrollment, it can also tell admissions about prospective students’ majors or other useful information. Whatever the case, remember that it is just one component of an application and is never the deciding factor for an applicant’s admittance.

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