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Chances are you have heard that visiting college campuses is an important part of the application process. But just how important is this and when does it matter most? A recent study by James Dearden, Chad Meyerhoefer, Muzhe Yang, and Suhui Li show that students who demonstrate interest in a college have a significant advantage in gaining admissions. One of the best ways to show “demonstrated interest” is by making an official campus visit.

Some of the key takeaways:

  • Competitive colleges tend to value “Demonstrated Interest” the most. The reason for this is to improve a key statistic called the “yield.” The yield represents the percentage of students who are accepted that end up enrolling at that specific college. An easy way for a competitive school to maintain a high yield is to only accept students who have demonstrated significant interest through campus visits and other means.
  • The strongest impact is seen in students with high SAT scores. In other words, students with high SAT scores benefit the most from a campus visit by allaying certain fears of the admissions officers. It’s theorized that for some competitive colleges – that are a level lower than Princeton, Yale, and the like – there is concern over being used as a safety school. Accepting students who will not attend would lower the critical “yield.”
  • Students with high SAT scores who have also visited campus have a tremendous advantage. Students are as much as 40% more likely to gain admissions than students who do not meet those two criteria (high SAT scores and a campus visit). This is connected to the previous takeaway as the high SAT scores represent a tremendous asset when coupled with the strong demonstration of interest showed by a campus visit.

While there are other ways to demonstrate interest in a college, visiting a campus on an official visit is perhaps the strongest. To give yourself a very real advantage over other qualified candidates, you must visit the campuses of the colleges you are most interested in attending!