Many families ask me if colleges really track student interest. The answer is that many colleges definitely do. What’s more, this often plays into admission decisions. The phenomenon, which I call, “The Interest Quotient” is increasingly popular on the part of colleges, primarily private schools. It is important to schools because of a concept called “Yield.” This is the percentage of admitted students who ultimately enroll in a particular college. Yield used to be one of the criteria used in the “U.S. News and World Report” rankings. The higher an institution’s yield, the higher their ranking. In recent years, yield has been removed from such rankings, however, it is still an important measuring stick for most college admissions offices. Colleges calculate their yields on a regular basis and compare themselves to their peer schools. If those yields increase, they know their market position is improving. If not, they work to make them higher.
So what does this mean to you and your child? The more interest your child shows in a particular college, the more likely they are to be admitted. I caution you to make certain your student is in fact sincerely interested in attending a school. If they are, then they should make the college aware that it is among their top choices. They should do so via campus visits, meetings – and interviews if offered – with admissions representatives at college fairs and at the student’s high school, inquiry forms on the school’s web site, and general communication – either via email or phone – with an admissions representative.
Each of these interactions should be thoughtful and honest. Students should prepare for their communication with admissions professionals. It could be the difference between gaining admission to their top school or not. If they need help in those efforts, they should contact an experienced college admissions counselor.