Then show them you really like them! According to the Boston Globe, getting accepted into a college is kind of like dating. Admissions officers often look for signs of commitment before they send out acceptance letters. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the most important criteria for getting into a college are, in order: recommendations from counselors and teachers, interviews, extracurricular activities, class rank, and personal essays. However, half of all colleges also say that a student’s interest is of “considerable importance.” Part of the reason is that high school students are applying to more colleges in order to increase their odds of being accepted, which makes it harder for schools to estimate how many kids actually plan to enroll in the fall. Colleges look more exclusive and desirable if they offer fewer letters of acceptance, and get a higher enrollment rate. This is why, all things being equal, a college is more likely to accept a student they know, than one they don’t.
College administrators also say that admitting more students who really want to be there creates an energetic and close-knit campus. Enthusiastic students often end up being enthusiastic alumni, and more likely participate in future fundraisers. So, a lot of colleges are closely tracking things like whether you visit the campus, if you respond to recruiting messages, or if you join an online chat with an admissions officer. However, because of the economy, they don’t hold it against students who can’t afford to visit the campus. Officials say you can easily show that you’re interested by attending a college fair or reception in your hometown. When you go to an event, make sure you introduce yourself to an admissions officer because they make it a point to remember the students who strike up a conversation.