Your message to every college should be “You’re my first choice.” It just doesn’t mean much when you say it that way. Instead: Explain why it’s your top choice (after you’ve done your research). Visit if you can. Give really specific reasons that wouldn’t be the same for another college. Make sure you really mean it…if you just picked random schools by brand names, you may not. Don’t think too hard-just be honest, positive, and say what you like about a school…they’ll get it.
Yesterday, I posted that it isn't always necessary to visit a college because there are other ways of demonstrating interest if it's inconvenient to make the trip. But if you really want to delve into how colleges make decisions, visit collegedata.com. Here's Villanova's page. They consider a student's interest, so it's a good idea to visit especially if you live locally. If you visit University of Indiana's page, you'll see that they don't consider a student's "interest" at