How to Write Your Letter of Continued Interest
If you have been deferred from your US early application round to the Regular Decision round, or have been placed on a waitlist, you might be wondering what you can do next. Since this is not an outright rejection, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of getting an admit. One of them is writing a clear and coherent Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI).
A LOCI can be used when deferred as an opportunity to update the college on any developments in your application, whether it be academic, extracurricular or personal. For example, if you have received an award for academic excellence or have been recognised for a sport in which you have participated, include this in your letter. If placed on a waitlist, your LOCI can show the college that you are still interested in attending, should you get an offer of admission.
Here is a breakdown of the LOCI–when you should send it and what you should say.
Will the LOCI make a difference?
There is no guarantee that a LOCI will make a difference. However, it can increase your chances of an admission as it communicates your desire to attend the college despite the initial set back. When you are re-evaluated in the regular decision pool of applicants, admissions officers will not only be looking for students who are academically qualified but also for those who indicate a stronger interest in attending their college.
When should you send a LOCI?
First, you should make sure that your college will accept a LOCI. If the college clearly asks you not to send any additional information, then don’t send it!
Second, you should not send your LOCI immediately following the initial admission decision. Instead, give the admissions office time to re-set after admissions notifications have gone out. You don’t want your communication to get lost in all the traffic. Most students from the Early Decision pool who have been deferred to the Regular Decision pool will be given a timeline by which they can submit any update which includes a LOCI, usually until 31 January.
If your application in the Regular Decision round has been waitlisted, then the ideal time to submit an LOCI would be the week prior to the university’s deposit deadline, the day by which students must pay a deposit to secure their seat. Paying the deposit indicates a student’s confirmation to attend the university and admissions officers use this data to determine if they can accept any waitlisted students. By submitting the LOCI a week before the deposit deadline, which for most universities is May 1st, you make yourself visible to the admissions team right when they are looking for you. However, as you hold your breath for an update, it is highly recommended that you pay the deposit in one of the colleges you got accepted so you would not be missing out on a college experience even if the waitlist decision goes unfavourably.
Note: Due to COVID-19, multiple universities have postponed the deposit deadline to June 1st. Please check with the university.
Many colleges will clearly outline the format in which they expect this–either pdf, word doc, hard copy–along with a word limit and any other guidelines. For example, students deferred from Early Action at Stanford or MIT are asked to complete a questionnaire. It is important to not be overbearing and constantly follow up with the college once you have shared your updates. Every college has a system in place and documents sent to them will be added to your file and evaluated in due course.
What should you say?
Here are some points that you should cover:
- A reminder of where you are in the process, such as “I am currently on the waitlist at Harvard University…”
- Your application ID number either from the relevant application platform or the unique ID assigned to you by the college
- A direct statement that you are still interested in attending. If the college is your top choice or if you’ll attend if admitted at any time, say so. The more committed you are, the stronger your case for admission
- Any relevant updates to your application (new grades, developments on the extracurricular front, alumni you have met and events hosted by the college you attended, among others). In other words, if you have new information that would strengthen your application, let them know!
- Any relationship or interaction with the college you have had that might not have come up before. Make sure not to repeat yourself or other portions of the application. For example, if you recently visited the school and attended classes and later spoke with professors who impressed you, there’s no harm in mentioning that. It shows you are serious about the institution
Unless a specified word limit is given, do not exceed a single page when writing your LOCI.
The Letter of Continued Interest may not be a sure-fire way to secure admission to your dream college, but it definitely is a step in the right direction! For more information, get in touch with us!