In our world, and especially in the world of college admissions, things can change faster than either the tortoise or the hare can complete any race. So even if you’ve looked before at which colleges track demonstrated interest, it’s always a good idea to keep checking in. 

We have the most complete and up-to-date list of colleges that track demonstrated interest for you to download here:

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves though, let’s make sure everyone knows what we’re even talking about and demystify how it affects your college admissions experience.

What Is Demonstrated Interest?

Demonstrated interest is how much a student has shown their desire to attend a particular college. Each school tracks it differently, but it is always measured by:

  1. The quality of the contact
  2. The amount of contact 

Admittedly, not every school really cares about demonstrated interest.

For example, most of the Ivy League schools assume everyone wants to attend their institution, so they don’t necessarily put their resources toward keeping data on who came to which tour and whether or not they asked the college admissions officers the best questions.

However, it could still benefit you to try. 

Because in the process of demonstrating your interest, you end up gathering a lot of useful information about the school and bolstering contacts that could be useful either in your admissions journey or once you arrive at college. 

Which Colleges Track Demonstrated Interest?

According to the college admissions trends survey done by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 68% of colleges now utilize demonstrated interest to a greater or lesser degree. 

Furthermore, it is of “considerable importance” (the highest amount of importance on this survey) to a much larger percentage of schools than recommendations, class rank, or extracurriculars. 

Let’s take a closer look at how this affects some specific schools you might be considering. 

Keep in mind that this is based on the most current data available at the time of article publication. 

We will continue to do our best to pass along updated information to you as soon as we can get our hands on it but as you can imagine, not every school is equally prompt or transparent with its statistics. 

So keep checking back and feel free to let us know if you have any info to contribute or additional questions. You can find the most frequently updated information here on our list of more than 250 colleges and whether or not they track demonstrated interest:

Does Northwestern Or Boston University Or Tulane Track Demonstrated Interest?


All three of these excellent schools consider demonstrated interest as part of the admissions process.

Want to know more about how to demonstrate your interest? This article covers that and more. Check it out!

How About Duke? Dartmouth?

Yep. They each track demonstrated interest too. 

Duke and Dartmouth do track demonstrated interest

What Are Vanderbilt And Harvard And Carnegie Mellon’s Takes On Demonstrated Interest?

According to our most recent data sets, none of them intentionally track demonstrated interest. 

However, you should still absolutely engage with their admissions offices in as many ways as you feel comfortable with. 

Get on their mailing list. Even though they won’t be counting how many students click on the links they send, emails are still most admissions offices’ primary means of communication. So this is how you’re going to get the most recent and relevant information for schools you want to attend.

Take virtual tours and explore their websites. Focus on the stuff geared not just toward prospective students but also toward current students. Imagine whether or not you’d enjoy that as your day-to-day college life.

Does Cornell Care About Demonstrating Interest?

No, Cornell doesn’t appear to consider the demonstrated interest of their applicants at the moment. 

But, when you go to fill out your application to Cornell, you’ll notice - as with other schools - they have a rather specific “Why Us” essay question. 

They don’t want you to talk generally about Cornell, they expect you to discuss specifically which Cornell program you intend to pursue and why. Therefore, you’ll need to have done some research on the offerings there- what they are and how they might weave into your personal and academic interests. 

If you go through the motions of demonstrating interest, regardless of whether or not the school you’re applying to claims to care, you are still going to reap fantastic benefits. 

Which Schools Are Noted For Demonstrated Interest Being VERY Important?

There are some spectacular hidden gem colleges in the United States, such as Washington University in St. Louis and Ithaca College, that keep demonstrated interest high on their list of admission priorities.

When you’re putting together the list of best-fit colleges you’re considering, don’t forget to consider these sorts of slightly less famous schools that might just be the key to your greatest successes and utmost happiness. 

One of the great flip-sides to attending a college that prioritizes demonstrated interest is that when you arrive at school, you can have more confidence that your classmates and dorm mates probably want to be there just as much as you do. Then, together, you will contribute to a more focused, hard-working, front-footed academic environment that can quickly become a “rising tides lift all boats” kind of experience.

Sure, students want to attend schools that don’t track demonstrated interest. We’re just trying to give you as many tools, statistics, and resources as possible. 

For example, WashU’s freshman retention rate is 97% and bachelor’s graduation rate is 94%. 

For comparison, the national average is reported as being somewhere between 59-66% for freshman retention and between 26-68% for graduation rates within 6 years of admittance. 

As you consider which college might be your personal best fit, it’s not a bad idea to think about such stats as they could denote something fundamentally important about your college experience: other students want to stay there and other students make it through to graduation. 

How Do Colleges Track Demonstrated Interest?

There are many useful paths you can explore in planning how to show your demonstrated interest in a potential college.

Step One is ALWAYS to do your own research to see whether a college tracks demonstrated interest, and if they do, note any preferences or immediate offerings they have since each school is going to be different.


  • Saying hi & signing up for their email list at a college fair
  • Emailing the college admissions office to connect with a particular professor or department for more information
  • Attending a campus tour
  • Following the school (& the admissions office) on social media, or
  • Applying early.

No matter how they track it or what they offer, it is crucial that you always remember to be authentic. Be true to yourself.

Whether you’re far away and can’t visit the campus in person, or you’re painfully shy and can’t bring yourself to sign-up for an optional interview, that’s okay. You still need to learn about the schools you’re considering and there are a myriad of different-style opportunities to do that, based on how you communicate best and what you’re interested in.

Despite what it may feel like sometimes, you have power in this process and we are always here to help you.

Think of this process as a situation where you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. 

You get to decide where to apply to. You get to decide what narrative they follow to learn who you are. You get to decide whether to say yes when they offer you a spot at their school.

You’ve got this.

What’s The Next Destination On The College Admissions Map To Success?

Now that you’ve dipped your toes into the ocean of data available regarding college admissions, why not dive all the way in?

You can see how finding the statistics and unpacking them in order to use them to your greatest advantage is not only nice, it’s a necessary part of this process. 

If you’re ready to set yourself up for success in college and your career beyond, come check out our College Comparison Data Dives to make sure you’re considering and selecting your best-fit colleges to apply to.