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Getting deferred or waitlisted from your dream school is a disappointing experience. And waiting even longer for a final decision can be frustrating.
However, you don’t have to just sit around twiddling your thumbs. You can take action in the form of a letter of continued interest (LOCI).
In this article, we’ll explain how and when to write a letter of continued interest, and we’ll answer all your LOCI-related questions. Let’s get started!
What is a letter of continued interest?
A letter of continued interest is a letter expressing that you’re still interested in attending the school, despite being deferred or waitlisted. You can also use it to inform the college of anything you’ve achieved since submitting your application.
When would I need to write a LOCI?
As mentioned above, you can write a LOCI if you have been waitlisted or deferred by a school. This means that the school hasn’t given you a seat in the freshman class yet, but it’s possible that you’ll receive an acceptance later.
- The matter of exactly when to send the LOCI depends on the school.
- Reread your waitlist/deferral letter and check for any specific instructions from the school.
- Some schools invite additional information and materials, while others state that they do not want additional communication.
If the school expressly says that they don’t want more information, then you should not write a letter of continued interest.
- In this case, it will look like you don’t know how to follow directions or respect rules, which can hurt your chances of getting off the waitlist.
Still other schools say that they welcome additional communication after a certain date. Honor this request as you decide when to send your LOCI.
If the college or university of your choice hasn’t given specific instructions, it’s fine to send the letter.
In most cases, you should send the letter as soon as possible after receiving notification of your deferred/waitlisted status.
However, there is one exception:
- Are you expecting higher test scores, an improved GPA, or any awards/achievements that could change the status of your application?
- And are you expecting them very soon? If so, wait until you can include these positive updates in your letter.
Will writing a LOCI increase my chances?
There’s no guarantee that writing a letter of continued interest will increase your chances, but it certainly won’t hurt.
A LOCI indicates that you have a strong desire to attend the school, which some schools factor into admission decisions.
Adding new information to your application can also increases your chances of making it off the waitlist.
If you send a letter of continued interest and other similarly qualified applicants do not, your LOCI may give you the edge. Any action that can tip the scales in your favor is worth pursuing.
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How to Write a Letter of Continued Interest
Your letter of continued interest should accomplish two main goals:
- Indicate that you’re likely to attend if offered a spot
- Demonstrate that you have the potential to succeed if offered a spot
Below, we’ll provide more in-depth instruction, plus a sample letter of continued interest.
How do I format a LOCI?
The format of your letter of continued interest should be professional, like a cover letter for a job application. At the top of the letter, you should include:
- The name of the person to whom the letter is addressed
- That person’s title
- The college or university
- The city/state of the school
You should then have a salutation (“Dear _________” is fine), followed by the body of your letter. Typically, three or four paragraphs will suffice. These paragraphs should be left-aligned and should not be indented. Leave a space between each paragraph.
End the letter with a closing like, “Sincerely, [Your Name].” “Sincerely,” should be one line, with your name just below it. For more information, view our sample letter of continued interest below.
What should I include in a letter of continued interest?
Your letter of continued interest should be no longer than one page. It should include:
- An expression of gratitude for being deferred/waitlisted (Think positive—you’re still in the running!)
- A statement about your continued interest in the school
- An acknowledgment that the school is your first choice (if this is true)
- A few specifics on why you’re interested in the school (professors, programs, opportunities, facilities, etc.)
- Mention if you’ve visited the school, as this can further indicate interest
- Improved SAT or ACT scores
- Higher GPA
- New awards, honors, or created opportunities
- A closing that reiterates a thank you for time/consideration
What should I not include in a letter of continued interest?
Your LOCI should not include any grumbling, complaining, or sadness about being deferred or waitlisted.
It should not imply that the admissions committee has made the wrong decision.
- Think of this as an opportunity to demonstrate qualities like persistence, resilience, and positivity.
- You don’t want to come across as angry, frustrated, or arrogant. If you need to vent, do so with friends or family members—not the admissions committee.
You should also avoid including information that was already stated in your application.
- A LOCI is a perfect place to mention new achievements, but it shouldn’t rehash the accomplishments that the admissions committee already knows. This, too, implies that the admissions committee made a mistake.
Additionally, ensure that you don’t sound presumptuous in your letter.
Writing a LOCI doesn’t guarantee your acceptance, and your letter should make it clear that you don’t assume otherwise.
Finally, avoid coming across as desperate. For instance, don’t mention being rejected by other schools or only being accepted by schools that you’re less interested in. The admissions committee may be pleased to hear that their school is your first choice, but not that it’s your last resort.
To whom should I address my LOCI?
It’s best to address your letter to a specific person, rather than using the generic “To Whom It May Concern.”
When possible, use the name of the person who sent you the withdrawal/deferral letter. You may also choose to address your LOCI to the school’s director of admissions. Make absolutely sure that you spell the person’s name correctly.
Where do I send the letter of continued interest?
In many cases, your waitlist or deferral letter will include information about where/to whom to send additional materials or information. Follow these instructions.
- Some schools have a submission form specifically designed for letters of continued interest.
- If this is the case, use the school’s form. Others may have a place within the application portal to upload new information.
Otherwise, you can send the letter to the admissions office via email, mail, or fax. If you’re feeling uncertain or nervous about how to send the letter, call the admissions office and ask.
Some experts argue that a physical letter has a greater chance of being opened, thoroughly reviewed, and added to your file than an email.
If delivering your letter via email, it can look more professional to attach your LOCI as a PDF. However, this is not a requirement.
Sample 1: Letter of Continued Interest
Mr. Admissions Man
Director of Admissions
Dear Mr. Admissions Man,
Thank you for taking the time to review my application. I know that Amazing University is a highly selective school, and I’m honored to be included on the waitlist. I’m writing to express my continued interest in your school and to provide you with some additional information for my application. Amazing University remains my first choice, and I would happily attend if accepted.
Since applying to Amazing University, I have received the Silver Garland Award for English/Literature, which is given to one student in my county annually. This award is presented to a student whose record of service “exemplifies the unselfish use of his or her abilities to help others.” This honor means a lot to me, and I feel it demonstrates my passion and commitment to both English and helping others. The writing and humanitarian projects of Professor X have been one of my major inspirations, and I would love to study under her, especially after sitting in on one of her classes during a visit in March.
I also retook the SAT last month. My math score is now a 730, and my critical reading score is a 780. I’m sending my official scores to Amazing University. In addition, I earned a 4.0 GPA this quarter. I feel that these numbers are a better reflection of my ability.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I’m still very excited about the possibility of joining Amazing University’s English Department, working with inspiring professors like Professor X, and studying your extensive and unique collection of books. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Sample 2: Letter of Continued Interest
Dear [School] Admissions Committee,
First, I would like to thank you for examining my application and placing me on the waitlist. [School] is my top choice. If admitted, I would be delighted to enroll in the fall or spring cohort and continue my studies at your university for more than four semesters. I am writing this letter to demonstrate my continued interest and update you on recent achievements, including my accomplishment of graduating with the highest honors.
I understand the toll mental illness takes on affected individuals, as I have seen it firsthand, so it was my goal to equip myself with a strong base of knowledge that will help me serve and support those who need the assistance.
In the aftermath of recent community news, I decided to work toward my certificate as an in-person counseling specialist (IPCS). I spent 20 hours honing my knowledge of risk assessment competencies, as published by the National Group of Mental Health and Well Being. Earning my IPCS certificate involved the study of emotions, emotional intent, involuntary treatment laws, and more critical subjects related to the field.
Additionally, I look forward to applying my newfound responsibility by establishing my community venture, The Greatness of Us All. I want to implement the lessons I learn from [School] into growth initiatives and operations.
Finally, as a ranking officer in my Junior Statesmen of America chapter, I spent the past three months cultivating relationships with 20 students, all of whom are now members. To create a channel of communication, I approached prospects at extracurricular and social events. I organized lunches and quick meetings to build rapport with each of the prospects. During this recruitment cycle, our JSA chapter grew by 22%.
I have spent the past few months implementing [Schools] values of learning and service into my daily actions. While developing my community service skills and learning more about the issues I care about, I hope to contribute to your university by growing The Greatness of Us All, engaging students, and promoting student ownership throughout the campus.
I would love to matriculate if offered admission.
Again, thank you for reviewing my application, taking the opportunity to interview me, and reading this letter. If you have any questions, I can be reached at [phone number] or [email]. I look forward to hearing from you.
Analysis of Sample LOCIs
These letters are an excellent example for several reasons.
The applicants maintain a positive and upbeat tone throughout the letter.
- They clearly express their interest in the school without sounding bitter or disappointed.
- There are no errors in spelling or grammar, the writing flows well, and both applicants include both new accomplishments and specific reasons for her interest in the school.
In the middle paragraphs, the applicants each detail a new honor. We can assume that the universities already aware of the applicant’s service projects related to English/Literature (since she does not further explain them) and mental health, but these awards and certificates indicate a new level of prestige.
Additionally, Applicant 1 explains what this award signifies about her (she’s passionate and committed to English and service).
- She also connects the honor to something specific that she likes about Amazing University (the opportunity to study under author and humanitarian Professor X) and mentions a recent visit.
The end paragraphs highlight additional accomplishments that could impact each student’s admission status.
- In the final paragraph, the applicants again thank the admissions director and states specific reasons for their interest in the schools.
Specificity is important because it shows a genuine interest in/knowledge of this school, rather than a general interest in attending college.
What if I don’t have new accomplishments?
If you don’t receive a new award or achieve a higher SAT/ACT/GPA, the letter of continued interest is still worth writing.
In this case, you’ll need to focus more on the specific reasons you’re interested in this college or university.
- It will also help if you can honestly state that this is your first choice and you will attend if accepted.
- Although you shouldn’t reiterate the qualifications mentioned in your application, you can include a very brief summary of how you expect to contribute to the university if accepted.
However, you should note that a LOCI with no additional information will have significantly less impact. Rack your brains for something to include:
- Has a sports season recently wrapped up? How did it go? Did you do anything noteworthy?
- Have you earned additional volunteer hours and learned something from the experience?
- Have you made a new contribution to your school, community, your job, or an extracurricular club/activity?
- Have you taken initiative by job shadowing, getting an internship, or otherwise pursuing a field/area of study that you’re interested in?
These accomplishments may seem relatively minor, but follow this process:
- Briefly detail the accomplishment.
- Explain what the accomplishment indicates about your character/talent/potential to contribute to the university.
- If possible, connect the accomplishment to something specific you would like to do at the university. (Do your research if needed!)
Unless the school specifies that they do not want additional communication from waitlisted/deferred applicants, we recommend writing a LOCI regardless of recent developments.
Final Thoughts: How to Write a Strong Letter of Continued Interest
To summarize, your letter of continued interest should:
- Express gratitude rather than grumbling.
- Indicate your enthusiasm for the school (and why you’re so enthusiastic).
- Update the admissions team on any new achievements.
Writing a letter of continued interest is not a surefire way to propel yourself into the “accepted” category, but it can certainly help your chances.