Demonstrated interest: the perspective of a college representative

Scott Ai

A school with the reputation of Whitney Young is bound to attract hundreds of college representatives from all around the country during these fall months. The colleges that visit range from the smallest liberal arts colleges to the largest public state colleges, and that’s not even including the highly selective Ivy League universities. The differences amongst these academic institutions are endless, but one thing that you can find in all these different types of colleges is demonstrated interest.

Now, for those of you non-seniors out there who don’t know what “demonstrated interest” is, demonstrated interest is “the degree to which you show a college that you are sincerely interested in coming to their school,” according to Matt Steiner from Compass Prep. Click here to learn more about demonstrated interest.

However, the one thing about demonstrated interest that no website can tell you is how admissions’ officers feel about demonstrated interest, so let’s take a look at their thoughts. I sat down with Robert Ellis, Northwestern University’s admissions representative for the Chicago Public School district, and asked him a few questions on behalf of Whitney Young’s senior Dolphins.


Me: “Hello Mr. Ellis, what are your thoughts on the role of demonstrated interest at your school?”

Mr. Ellis: “I think that there are many different levels of demonstrated interest. For example, if a student comes to visit our campus, they won’t need to come to one of these [high school visits] ever again.”

Me: “Great answer, I feel like that is something most students do not realize. Now, with all of your experience in the admissions process, can you explain why some colleges care about demonstrated interest while others don’t?”

Mr. Ellis: “Well, some schools value demonstrated interest over others because of the different philosophies that they have, and here at Northwestern, we take into account each individual student’s circumstances when looking at their demonstrated interest.”

Me: “Okay, can you talk a little more about how circumstance plays a role in demonstrated interest?”

Mr. Ellis: “For sure! Let’s say we have a student of low socioeconomic status applying to Northwestern. He might not have visited our campus, but that could be because his family did not the financial resources to get him there so we take that into account.”

Me: “Mr. Ellis, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I think that many of our seniors will be very grateful for this knowledge.”


Northwestern University’s demonstrated interest card
and college admissions representative




Steiner, Matt. “Demonstrated Interest: What Is It? How Does It Impact Admission?” Compass Education Group, 13 Mar. 2015,

-what-is-it-how-does-it-impact-admission/. Accessed 13 Oct. 2017.