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The true meaning of demonstrated interest

October 3rd, 2016

In late September, I took part in the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual conference. There, I brushed shoulders with about 6500 close friends and colleagues from around the U.S. and around the world. Hot topics in the world of college admission counseling? Equity and access top the list, as well they should. Some are still trying to digest changes to the SAT; others are trying to wrap their arms around a new application format called the Coalition application (which I’m not yet recommending for use, as there are too many first-year hiccups possible).

Here’s something else that’s on college advisors’ minds: the concept of demonstrated interest. Shrop Ed advisees hear about this a lot, as we urge students to visit campuses, find genuine ways to connect with admission counselors, respond to email sent by colleges of interest, and write their applications with serious intent. There’s a new dimension being added to some colleges’ applications – a sort of visual resume online, called ZeeMee. More and more colleges are asking students for a link to their ZeeMee page, and construing lack of a ZeeMee link as tepid interest.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what colleges mean by demonstrated interest. Today, we link to an article addressing this beautifully, written by W. Kent Barnds, Executive Vice President, Augustana College, and published on the Huffington Post site. (Barnds’s article doesn’t cover the ZeeMee phenomenon, however – perhaps we’ll focus a future blog post on that.)

Article below published on Huffington Post, August 4, 2016

Written by:  W. Kent Barnds

While reviewing publications from a colleague’s son’s college search, I noticed a handful of colleges referred to “demonstrated interest” in the visit section. I realized it’s likely that most students and families have no clue what that entails. If I didn’t work in college admissions, I know I’d be asking, What is demonstrated interest and how do I demonstrate it? And, does demonstrated interest make any difference at all? These questions deserve some explanation.

School counselors and policymakers tend to think demonstrated interest provides some students (those in the know or those who are affluent) with an advantage in the college search and selection process. There may be some truth to that, but I believe demonstrated interest has evolved well beyond activities like visiting campus or participating in an admissions interview. In fact, technology and engagement have probably made some of the traditional measures less relevant than they once were, which I think levels the playing field.

Read more at Huffington Post >>

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