Colleges need to abolish ‘demonstrated interest’ factor in admissions process


Jason Stein ’22

68% of colleges list “demonstrated interest” as considered or having higher weight in the admissions process

Demonstrated interest. It’s a vague phrase that encapsulates the assessment of an applicants’ interest in attending a certain college. According to a survey done by the National Association of College Admission Counseling, 68% of colleges in the U.S. now consider it as a factor of the college admission process.

There are multiple ways students can show demonstrated interest in a college. One can attend a college’s virtual event, go on a campus tour or email the admissions officer directly to express your interest in their school. However, throughout the college admissions process, I have felt that the act of displaying “demonstrated interest” has been a chore above all. Attending a virtual event where someone drones on about the college’s great array of majors, clubs and classes is seldom informative and often monotonous. 

If someone has considerable interest in a particular college, that should be present in their writing supplements. The “why college” essays give students the opportunity to display their knowledge of the school and how they would fit in. 

Some colleges, such as Washington University in St. Louis, Washington, have already taken the step of abolishing demonstrated interest as a part of their admission process. Nevertheless, I think it’s necessary that other colleges follow suit. 

Colleges give prospective students who have shown demonstrated interest a leg up in the admission process because they want to protect their yield, or the percentage of admitted students who attend. However, due to the pandemic, the threshold to show interest has decreased, allowing students to get credit for just going on a micless and muted zoom call. As a result, these ‘demonstrated interest’ activities have become more of a disingenuous task. 

Additionally, some students who want to show demonstrated interest aren’t able to attend such opportunities because of how quickly the virtual events and tours fill up. Many Staples students (including myself) consistently check the availability of college tours and events just to see that it is full for the next month.