Demonstrated Interest & Applying for Colleges

How interested are you in attending each school you’ve applied for? Colleges are paying attention.

Demonstrated interest relates to the idea that students need to show a school that if selected for admission, they will attend. Each College has a Yield Rate – the percentage of students that attend after acceptance. It is one of the top factors considered in US News and World Report when ranking colleges & universities. Because of this important metric, schools want to be as certain as possible that the students accepted will attend.

In the article by U.S. News, 6 Tips From College Admissions Pros on Standing Out, Margaret Loftus discusses the importance of demonstrated interest as one of the six tips. According to the article, “70 percent of colleges say demonstrated interest plays at least some role in their admissions decisions” and “making a trip to campus isn’t the only way to let your interest be known, especially in the digital age.”

Here are a few ways to demonstrate interest to a school you’re applying to:

  • Visiting campus
  • Speaking with representatives from the school at a local college fair
  • Meeting with an admissions associate
  • Calling for information
  • Following up with admissions
  • Opening & reading emails from the school
  • Visiting web pages
  • Following or liking the school’s presence on social media

By demonstrating your interest in a school, you will prove to be a better candidate. Don’t miss out on the intricate details of demonstrating interest in the digital age.

Top 5 Factors to Consider when Choosing a College

High school students these days are busy. They play sports, take AP classes, participate in various clubs or community outreach programs. It never ceases to amaze me how much some of our students have on their plate. When every day is chock-full of activities, it may feel impossible to find enough time to dedicate to college hunting. With over 5,000 universities to choose from in the U.S. alone, you may be wondering — Where do I start? What should I look for? Luckily for you these are not uncommon questions! In our experience with college prep here at Curvebreakers, we’ve found five factors we feel are the most important to consider when looking for colleges.

 

1. Expected Major

This can be a hard enough decision to make in itself. If you haven’t picked a major yet – don’t worry – you are definitely not alone. This category may be lower on your list of priorities, but it’s still worth taking a look at a school’s programs and available majors and minors. See if they offer classes in areas that pique your interest – college is a great place to experiment with different fields and most will not require you to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. On the other hand, if you do know your major then narrowing down schools will be much simpler. Consider colleges that are well known for your major or have a large number of students who graduate with the degree you hope to receive. Niche is a great resource for finding college rankings based on major and a number of other categories as well.

 

2. Location (and Housing)

For many this is the easiest part of picking a university. Narrowing your search down to your hometown makes perfect sense if you plan to live at home (a great option for those looking to save money). Whether you want to stay close to home or adventure out into parts unknown, it’s important to keep location in mind in more ways than you might think. You may prefer a bustling city to a more rural atmosphere or want to stay close to the mountains or the ocean depending on your hobbies. Thinking about the best location for your major can also help narrow your search. For example, if you intend to major in engineering, are there any areas in which engineering jobs are concentrated? It’s important to think about whether or not you plan on interning during your college career — you’ll want to ensure plenty of internship opportunities for yourself within range of your school. Regardless of whether or not you select a school close to home, keep your housing options in mind. Some universities require all incoming freshmen to live on campus. Pay attention to dorm options and costs as well as the availability of off-campus housing in the area.

 

3. Educational Fit

By now you should have an idea of what kind of learning environment is the most effective for you. If you prefer one-on-one, you’ll want to select a school with smaller class sizes and a student-to-faculty ratio that will allow for professors to give each student individualized attention and help. If you’re a hands-on learner, you should look for colleges with state of the art labs, technology, or other resources in your field. Some schools offer more flexible curriculums that allow their students to sample a range of courses, while others are more rigid and offer little deviation from the courses outlined for your major. Take the time to research some of the professors as well. Highly educated teachers with real-world expertise in their area of study make for more interesting classes and a better educational experience overall.

 

4. Social Fit

College can be the perfect environment for developing your social skills and many of the friends you make while you’re there will be in your life for years to come. However, whether or not a school has a well-developed social scene can be important for more than just making friends. Sororities and Fraternities, while great vehicles for meeting new people, also participate in many organized projects within their community. A college with a greater number of clubs will increase the likelihood of finding one that you enjoy. Joining a club or organization on campus can be a great way to supplement your major with some hands-on experience. For example, writing for a school’s newspaper would improve the resume of a journalism student, while being a part of the speech and debate team would align well with communication and political science majors. If athletics are important to you, focusing on universities with a reputable sports team and spirited fan base can help narrow down your search.

 

5. Graduation and Career Prospects

At the end of the day, college is merely a stepping stone on the way to a brighter future. Consider each school’s graduation rate. If only a small portion of students are completing the full program, there’s bound to be good reason. Any reputable university’s website should provide their graduation rate, the percentage of students who are working in their field of study and those who had a job within six months of graduation. You can also find this information on Niche and The Princeton Review. College is expensive and you should come out of it feeling like it was worth your while. If you’ve chosen a more competitive career path, you may want to prioritize colleges with an abundance of career and internship resources for their students.

Even if you think you know what school you want to apply to, it’s important to have other options (even lifelong Harvard admirer Rory Gilmore ended up changing her mind). Take a moment to prioritize this list of factors from what you feel is the most important to the least. Maybe social life will make or break your college experience more than location or maybe you’re determined to receive an athletic scholarship to one of the top five schools for football. If you’ve already been accepted to several schools, it’s also helpful to consider these factors when making your final decision. If you’re just beginning to think about which schools you want to apply to, prioritizing any one of these elements can help narrow your search to the colleges you want to visit (check out our post on how to make the most of your college tours). The more thought you put into selecting your college, the more you’ll enjoy the next four years.

By: Emily Sahli, Staff Writer, Curvebreakers

Essay writing

Let’s be honest. At some point, you may have dreamed of being in Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes, especially the Manolo Blahnik ones that she could afford while writing columns from the comfort of her home. But it’s not just because of the shoes and the materialistic perks why we are in such an awe, it’s about that special power and pride you get by calling yourself a writer. The successful writers that we all know and admire make writing seem like a talent that all of us possess up until the moment when we find ourselves staring at the blank page, having no idea what’s supposed to happen next.

It gets even harder when you have to construct your thoughts on an academic level. Suddenly, you realize that the span of your abilities and vocabulary are quite limited. Not everybody struggles with putting his or her thoughts into a written whole that makes sense, but for those who do, this one is for you:

Need Essay Help? Curvebreakers offers college application & essay services. Learn more here.

Simple guidelines on writing the most exploited form of writing – his majesty, The Essay.

Writing essays, especially for the purpose of college assignments, is not that difficult. It just requires a special combination of skill set and structure that can be easily applied no matter the topic. While mastering these skills won’t make you an instant writer, they will certainly contribute for better grades.

Before starting to write the essay, it is important that you have a clear idea of what you are about to write. Selecting a topic is the first challenging hurdle in college essay writing. Your topic needs to reinforce what you want to say about yourself to your prospective school.

With your mind set on the particular essay thesis that has to be discussed, the next step is to organize your thoughts. Spend some time on thinking and reflecting, on forming your own point of view, and putting your raw ideas on a paper. Organizing your thoughts will help you distinguish between them and will easily enable you to see the bigger picture.

The essay itself has to be structured in three main parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.

The Introduction

The introduction is simply about introducing the subject and describing how the narrator will deal with it in the subsequent paragraphs. It is important to keep it short and to the point, but captivating at the same time. You want to get your readers ‘hooked’. In order to do so, ask yourself what the reader needs to know and what is the best way to deliver your message to them.

The Main Body

Usually comprised of several paragraphs, the purpose of the main body is to elaborate the thesis in further detail. Even though we may have generated a lot of thoughts and ideas about the particular thesis, we must stick to the strongest arguments and try to explain their relevance with supporting evidence. The best way to do so is by balancing with researched evidence and personal opinions, or experiences. The balance will vary between different subjects, but the general idea is to back up the points as much as possible with the combination of the two.

The conclusion

Same as the introduction, the conclusion is a short summary of the general idea of the arguments. In most of the cases it should not be just an afterthought, but rather a last chance to prove your point and to indicate what has been learned. Also it can serve as an introduction to further issues that have been recognized, but are not in the scope of the present essay.

General rules

Despite following the general structure for writing essays, there are several other aspects that you should pay attention to.

Style clarity

All of the sentences should be complete, precise and simple. This means writing shorter sentences with clear expressions; in addition, each sentence should follow one another in a logical order, enabling the reader to follow more closely. Also, it is important to divide the text in paragraphs so that the reader finds it more understandable and more attractive. Transitional phrases, such as “furthermore”, “on the other hand”, “moreover”, etc. play a big role in connecting the dots and are the key of good writing. Because the essay is all about the reader, these statements will guide the reader throughout the paragraphs, keeping them informed.

References

Probably one of the most important things that most students neglect is the adequate list of references used for the purpose of writing the essay. If another author is directly quoted, there should be an indication where the evidence originated. Failing to do so can cause someone to be accused of plagiarism and face consequences.

In the end, don’t forget to review what you have written. Make sure everything is correct and flows smoothly. Don’t panic if don’t have everything in control from the very beginning. Mastering essay writing takes time and practice makes it perfect.

 

By: Nicholas LaPoma, Owner, Curvebreakers