If you’re a soon to be college applicant, you don’t want to find out. Designed to avoid detection by using a myriad of advanced technologies, the stealth bomber was intended to fly under the radar. College applicants should do just the opposite! Colleges have no way of gauging your interest if you don’t make your interest known. And when your application arrives on the desk of admissions, in many cases you’ll be taken more seriously if it isn’t the first they’ve heard of you.
Demonstrated enthusiasm or interest in a school is measured in many ways, and in today’s digital world, interest is easy to show. Good old campus tours are the most obvious way to show interest; if you visit and can’t do the formal tour, stop in the admission office and give them your name. Schedule an interview if the college offers them, and be sure to write a hand-written thank you note when you get home. Attend the visit session if colleges you like come to your school.
Many colleges now have sophisticated software that monitors whether students open emails they send, follow them on Twitter, like their admission Facebook page and so on.
If your busy schedule prevents you from visiting all your colleges of interest in person, visit their websites, look around, do a virtual tour. If you like what see, let them know by signing up for their mailing list. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – you’ll probably end up with some helpful tips on the college application process along the way.
A few highly selective schools make it abundantly clear they do not factor demonstrated interest into the admissions process. But for many schools, especially private ones, interest level is a critical factor in admissions because it helps protect yield (the percentage of admitted students who enroll). While schools such as Harvard and Stanford may not need to be concerned about yield since most of their accepted students do enroll, most schools don’t have that luxury.
So don’t be a stealth applicant. Let the schools you’re interested in know you’re there.