Does a College Visit Help with Admissions Chances?

 Demonstrated interest in a college by visiting can boost your chances of admission.

Demonstrated interest in a college by visiting can boost your chances of admission.

You know that visiting colleges is important. Visiting is often cited as the most important element that helps a student decide if a college is right or not for them.

But there's another reason you may want to visit lots of colleges, early and often. It's been said that visiting a college can actually help your chances of admission.

Is this true? 

Unfortunately, there isn't a clear-cut answer to this question. But, there is reason to believe that visiting does boost the chance of admission at certain colleges. Keep reading to find out why.  

Showing Interest is Good

College admissions officers will generally look favorably on applicants who have "demonstrated interest” in the school. This can be tracked in a number of ways. 

Many colleges and universities will keep track of demonstrated interested by noting your visits to campus, your email contact with the college admissions representative, your presence at information sessions at the college and your conversations with admission reps at college fairs or at a visit to your school.  

What you as a student need to keep in mind is that while it is important to contact a college if you need information, there is no need to inundate their Office of Admission with an overwhelming interest; a weekly phone call or email or card may be more harmful than helpful.  While demonstrated interest is important, coming across as too demanding or annoying will not help your chances in any way. 

Is it important to this school?

But does the school you are interested in keep track of "demonstrated interest" this way?

The best way to find out is to ask the admissions representative. A college will tell you if they track your interest, but will only tell you if you ask the specific question. 

For example, many of the Ivy League schools have no need to track student interest because of high levels of interest from all across the country. However, small and regional schools with limited outside interest may indeed keep track of your visits and contacts, especially when making scholarship and/or financial aid considerations. 

It is again, something that can be monitored in a variety of ways; if the school you want to attend is halfway across the country, a visit may not be truly feasible until you are granted admission. Colleges do understand that, of course, and will look at your “virtual” visits, via social media, email, and local open houses. 

By the same token, if the school you wish to attend is less than 5-6 hours from your house and you have never set foot on campus, that sends a message of overall disinterest and could affect your admission decision as well.

Tips for Improving Your Admissions Chances

The bottom line is, your academic record and test scores are always going to be given the most weight, but your interest is important as well.  So, what you want to make sure and do is:

  • Don’t harass the admissions office with daily emails, a weekly update on your high school achievements and with notes of interest…instead do the following!
  • Visit at least once if you are able, depending on distance.
  • Follow the schools you are interested in via their social media pages.
  • Ask to speak with an alumnus of the school who lives in your areas.
  • Meet with admission reps when they visit your school and/or at college fairs in your area.
  • Email reps three times!
    • After you meet them the first time.
    • After a campus visit.
    • Once your application is submitted.

These steps clearly show your interest without making you look desperate and in the end, may work to your advantage!