I recently received an e-mail from a future out-of-state applicant asking a great question about whether UT considers “demonstrated interest.” Students can demonstrate interest in a particular university by doing things like taking an official visit, attending a recruiting or outreach event, filling out a survey, engaging on social media, or speaking directly with an admissions representative. Many universities track and analyze a student’s record of interactions with their campus.
Does UT-Austin care whether a student shows interest or not? In short, no. Taking an official visit or talking with an admissions officer is not used as a criterion in admissions.
Does this mean I shouldn’t visit? Absolutely not. Talking with admissions representatives or taking an official visit is a great way to get a feel for the university. You shouldn’t engage on social media or in person just for the sake of it. When I worked for UT, I think a lot of students interacted with me solely because they believed it would help their admissions chances.
UT does have a recruiting system though where counselors and automated systems log your interactions. It tracks what events they have invited you to, what you have attended, when you submit test scores, and so on. Even if this doesn’t play a role in the admissions process per se, building a strong relationship with your assigned admissions counselor can be beneficial for invitations to future events.
Occasionally, the Office of Admissions, internally, asks counselors to put forward a few names of particularly inspiring students for things like scholarships or even reconsideration for admissions.
Interacting with university officials is more beneficial as an organic process contrasted by an applicant bleeding orange and proving it. It is important to research whether the universities you apply to consider demonstrated interest, but even then I would caution applicants against trying to game the system.
It is the quality of interactions over the quantity of actions taken that matters most.