Which Colleges Care About Demonstrated Interest 2019?

Demonstrated interest is a college admissions term that you’ve probably heard before. When a student demonstrates interest, it means they’ve taken steps to show a college that they’re particularly interested in attending. Ways to demonstrate interest include:

  • Touring a school (and giving them your information)

  • Attending an admissions information session and/or other on campus events

  • Scheduling an interview (if it’s available)

  • Reaching out to a regional representative from your town

  • Doing a summer program at the college

  • Anything else that puts you on their radar

Demonstrated interest used to be regarded as an essential step in the long process of getting into college. But in 2018, Carnegie Mellon put out a statement that said moving forward, demonstrated interest would no longer be considered. The school said that they want to focus more on diversity and inclusion, and that by eliminating demonstrated interest from the application process the playing field would be more level. Simply put, Carnegie Mellon says, not everyone can afford to demonstrate interest. Summer programs are expensive, and they also don’t work with everyone’s schedule. Demonstrating interest is a derivative of privilege and becomes especially difficult if you’re applying to colleges that aren’t in your backyard. Carnegie Mellon is emblematic of a trend.

It’s worth noting that by removing demonstrated interest, more people apply. Is it possible colleges will say that demonstrated interest doesn’t matter so that their acceptances rate will go down, thus making the school more desirable? 100% yes.  

We would love for demonstrated interest to be phased out, but we’re not there yet.

With all of that being said, demonstrated interest does still matter. Just not quite as much as you probably think it does. If you can make it work, you should definitely try and visit. It’s good for you to do so because you learn more about the school. If you live in New Jersey and didn’t visit NYU before applying, that doesn’t look great. But if you’re not in a financial position to visit NYU if you live in Texas, don’t stress about it too much.

We scoured the internet in hopes of finding final answers from the schools themselves. We looked at colleges that our clients regularly apply to, but you should definitely do your own research if we didn’t cover a school you’re interested in. In some cases, a school’s stance on demonstrated interest is stated clearly on their website. Some schools allude to their stance in unclear ways. (E.g., “an interview won’t hurt, but your completed application is demonstration enough for us.”)

In many other cases, we sleuthed on various websites looking for answers. It can’t hurt to call the schools you plan to apply to ask, but below you find our breakdown of national universities and liberal arts colleges with their respective feelings on demonstrated interest.


Demonstrated interest not considered:

  • Princeton

  • Harvard

  • Columbia

  • MIT

  • Yale

  • Stanford

  • Johns Hopkins

  • Dartmouth

  • Brown

  • Vanderbilt

  • Cornell

  • UCLA

  • Georgetown

  • UC Berkeley

  • USC

  • Carnegie Mellon

  • Tufts

Demonstrated Interest Considered:

  • Washington University in St. Louis **somewhat important**

  • University of Chicago

  • Duke

  • Northwestern

  • Notre Dame

  • NYU

Demonstrated Interest Somewhat Considered:

  • University of Michigan

  • University of Pennsylvania


Demonstrated interest not considered:

  • Williams

  • Amherst

  • Bowdoin

  • Pomona

  • Claremont McKenna

  • Vassar

  • Colgate

  • Harvey Mudd

  • Wesleyan

  • Bryn Mawr

  • Scripps

Demonstrated Interest Considered:

  • Wellesley

  • Middlebury

  • Davidson

  • Washington and Lee

  • Mount Holyoke

  • Oberlin

  • Hamilton

  • Occidental

  • Barnard *somewhat considered

When we work with clients at TKG, we advise them demonstrate interest when possible. As we said before, if a school is just a train ride away and you can make it work, we say go for it. But remember that school tours are really about you figuring out your thoughts about a school, not an opportunity to get in the good graces of a tour guide. If a summer program or an interview isn’t a possibility but you’re genuinely interested in the school, then you should still apply.


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