Life after high school: I like you … do you like me? | SierraSun.com

Life after high school: I like you … do you like me?

Katy Watts
Special to the Sun-Bonanza

In the 2014 State of College Admission Survey conducted by NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counseling), it was reported that demonstrated interest was the 6th factor of "considerable importance" in college admissions decisions.

Of the colleges and universities who participated in this survey, demonstrated interest had a higher value than the class rank and even counselor or teacher recommendation. But what does demonstrated interest have to do with a submitted application?

Let's keep it simple and relate it back to "yield." Every year, colleges and universities have a number in mind to enroll for the freshmen class. They might need to enroll 1,600 students for the fall, which means they might send out three times as many offers, to hopefully get their 1,600 enrollees.

It's not an exact science, but it is one that is critical to the college for many reasons. Any number less than the expected 1,600 means less dollars in tuition, which can have a huge effect on the budget. Any number higher than 1,600 can mean there is no dorm room and housing is left scrambling. These are very simple effects of not making the yield.

Certainly, colleges and universities are always looking to admit and enroll the best and brightest of the applicant pool. They make their offer to the student and then the student has to decide where to attend if he or she has multiple offers.

But, if you have two applicants who are similar (academics, testing, activities etc), and one student only submitted an application, while the other student submitted the application, met with the representative at a college fair, contacted the university for more information and perhaps even visited the school, which student do you think is more likely to get the "admit"?

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There are many colleges around the US who want to know who is serious about their school. Making an actual visit is one way to show interest. You can show love to a college when they come to town.

For the Truckee/Tahoe area, it means showing up at a college fair in Reno or Sacramento and filling out that interest card with your name, email, intended major and graduation date. If there is a school you really like, contact admissions and get on the mailing list. Or if you have any well thought out, burning questions, find out who the college representative is for the area, and email them.

Many colleges love hearing from students and they may start to track your correspondence and compile it with your completed application, to be used as a factor in the admission process.

Second semester is here. It's important to know about the college fairs and admissions presentations coming to Northern California and Nevada because travel season for the college representatives will be starting again.

If you are a freshman, sophomore or junior, now is the time to start attending. Juniors, even more so for you, as your college process is starting.

As we live in a rural area, you might find that certain schools only travel here every few years. If are a freshman or sophomore, and you see that a college you are interested in knowing more about is coming to an area near you, make plans to visit.

They may not be back when you are a junior. Take advantage of the time now. There are national and regional college admissions associations hosting fairs. Be sure to check out NACAC (www.nacacnet.org) for their fair in San Francisco on April 30 and also the WACAC fair (www.wacac.org) at Sacramento State on May 1.

Reach out to your colleges, ask questions and get to know who they are and what they can offer you. You will be happy you did!

Katy Watts is the college counselor at Tahoe Expedition Academy. She holds a Masters in Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential and is entering her 14th year as a school counselor. She may be reached for comment at kwatts@tahoeexpeditionacademy.org.