Continuing our focus on extracting teachable moments from the craziness of the 2018-2019 application season, today in Part Two of our multi-part series we will focus on the importance of demonstrated interest and the reliance on CRM systems in the admissions process.

According to a blog post by Meghan McHale Dangremond, an admission officer at Tufts University, “we . . . care if you’re a fit on our campus specifically, and if you are excited about joining our community.  That’s why demonstrated interest matters (at Tufts and at many other universities). . . If you are really interested in a college or university, you should make the time to do it well.  If you can’t or don’t want to take that time, perhaps this a good moment to sit and reconsider your list.”

Simply put, many, if not most, colleges want to know which applicants really love them and how much. Don’t forget, at the end of the day, colleges are businesses and the higher a college’s yield (the percentage of admitted students who actually enroll) the better the college’s bottom line. If State University admits ten applicants and eight of those applicants decide to attend people will think that State U is a great place to go to school and everyone will want to apply the following year thereby boosting application numbers and State U’s yield and then hopefully for State U the cycle continues.

Like many businesses these days, most colleges have begun to utilize customer-relations management systems, or CRMs, in order to track data about prospective students and provide those students with customized information. CRMs for higher education enable colleges to track every interaction an applicant has had with that particular college across different platforms. For instance, how much does a prospect engage with the content on the college’s website? Is the student reading the emails he receives from the college and clicking on various links? Did the student sign up for the mailing list? Visit campus? Email her regional admissions rep? Attend an admissions event at her high school? Follow the college on social media?

As a result, the use of comprehensive CRM programs allows colleges to distinguish between truly interested applicants and stealth applicants (those whose very first contact with the college is their application). Demonstrated interest can play a big role in increasing your chances of admission at colleges that track it. It is often the thing that distinguishes one seemingly identical applicant from another resulting in an offer of admission for one and a denial for the other. Likewise, demonstrated interest can be a very important factor in getting an applicant off the waitlist as we watched more and more colleges turn to their waitlists this season in order to reach their enrollment goals. Showing love in an authentic way can have a positive impact on the competitiveness of a student’s application and chances of admission.