How to Write a Letter of Continued Interest for College

Student typing on computer
Updated:
January 8, 2024
6 min read
Contents

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 1/8/24

If you've been deferred or waitlisted by your favorite school, writing a letter of continued interest can be a smart move.

It's a way to tell them you're still interested in attending. This shows you're proactive and gives you a chance to update them on your latest achievements, which might boost your chances.

While it's not required, not taking advantage of this opportunity could put you at a disadvantage compared to other waitlisted or deferred students who send such letters. So, use our guide and example to help boost your chances of getting accepted.

What is a Letter of Continued Interest?

A letter of continued interest is a polite and formal letter to an admissions officer, running between 200-400 words of gratitude and academic/professional update. As the name suggests, the letter also implies your continued interest in the receiving academic institution and its program offerings.

You may want to indicate that the school in question is your first choice, but only if this is true. If the school and its programs are your secondary choices, you only have to indicate that you will seriously consider enrolling in the institution upon acceptance. 

What is the Purpose of a Letter of Continued Interest?

The purpose of a letter of interest is multifaceted. Of course, it displays your continued interest in a school and one of its particular programs. However, a letter of continued interest also contains overtones of gratitude toward the receiving admissions officer and undertones of self-promotion.

Just as with any piece of correspondence you might send in your academic and later professional career, a letter of continued interest must be professional and polite. 

Your first step in learning how to write a letter of continued interest is to use a typical letter format. This will include a greeting and a sign-off, both of which must be dedicated to expressing your thankfulness to the admissions officer for all the time and effort they’ve exerted in reviewing your application materials.

The body of your letter of continued interest is allowed to be more self-serving. In between your gracious greeting and sign-off, you should include an update of any academic or experiential information that may influence how an admissions officer reviews your application for the better. 

This does not mean you should repeat the information given in your personal statement or application. Instead, use the letter of continued interest as a way to supplement any previously given academic and experiential information with recent updates. 

Whether it’s an improved GPA, SAT or ACT scores, or recent work experience, an admissions officer will be swayed by your continuing diligence and dedication.

The update provided in your letter of continued interest may be in the form of a short, personal declaration that ultimately relates to your suitability as a student of the academic institution. Better yet, your declaration should demonstrate your fit in the program in which you are most interested.

pen and notebook

When Should I Send a Letter of Continued Interest?

Once deferred or waitlisted, the optimal time to send your letter of continued interest depends on your individual circumstances. If you do not expect any significant academic or professional developments between the moment of your deferral/waitlisting and the final review of your application, send a letter of continued interest as soon as possible.

You can include any information to your benefit that may have been glossed over in your personal statement and application.

However, if you do expect incoming changes to your academic or experiential record, it’s a good idea to hold off on sending a continuing letter of interest until those positive changes have occurred. Still, you should aim to beat the national May 1 deadline for students to submit deposits and secure their places at college. 

You may hear back from an admissions officer even closer to the fall semester, but May 1 is a good deadline by which you can abide.

What To Include In a Letter of Continued Interest

Wondering how to write a LOCI? Let's break it down step by step to help you craft a compelling message that stands out to admissions officers.

Greeting

  • Begin your letter with a formal greeting. If you have the name and contact information of the admissions officer who sent you the initial deferral or waitlist notification, use it. Addressing them by name shows that you've taken the time to personalize your letter.
  • If the admissions officer's name and contact information are not provided in the notification, you may need to do a bit of research. Many schools provide lists of their admissions officers by region on their websites. Locate the admissions officer responsible for your region and address your letter to them.
  • A standard and professional greeting would be something like "Dear Admissions Officer [surname]." It's important to maintain a respectful and formal tone in this initial greeting.

Gracious Opening

  • After addressing the admissions officer, proceed to the opening of your letter. The opening should convey politeness and sincerity. Avoid sounding overly self-promotional at this stage.
  • Start with a personal touch. Express well-wishes or mention something relevant to the day or week. For example, if you're sending the letter on a Monday, you can say, "I hope this letter finds you well after a relaxing weekend."
  • Just like how you would send a thank you note for a college interview, take time to express gratitude. Do this in your opening sentences and thank the admissions officer for taking the time and effort to consider your application, even if you were initially deferred or waitlisted. Show appreciation for the second chance you've been given. 
  • Avoid portraying your deferred or waitlisted status as a negative event. Instead, convey a positive outlook and appreciation for the opportunity to continue pursuing admission.

Body Paragraph

  • The body of your letter is where you demonstrate why you're an ideal fit for the school and program. While you've expressed eagerness in the opening, now is the time to provide concrete evidence.
  • Begin by sharing your recent accomplishments and experiences. These should align with the school's values and the type of student they seek to admit.
  • Show a clear connection between your achievements and your aspirations within the school's program. Explain how your academic and personal growth align with the school's mission and values.
  • Research the school's mission statement, which is often available on their website. This will give you insights into the kind of students they aim to educate and the professionals they want to produce. Craft your narrative to reflect your alignment with this vision.
  • If possible, mention any correspondence you've had with a professor or faculty member at the school. This not only shows initiative but also highlights your genuine interest in the program.

Gracious Sign-off

  • Conclude your letter with a sign-off that maintains the same thankful tone as your opening. Reiterate your appreciation for the admissions officer's time and consideration.
  • Follow the standard format for closing a letter, which typically includes:
  • "Sincerely,"
  • Your first and last name
  • Your high school name (optional)
  • Your city and state
  • It's essential to keep the sign-off professional and formulaic, as it's a standard part of formal correspondence.

In summary, a well-crafted letter of continued interest should follow these key components to effectively express your continued enthusiasm for the school and your potential as a valuable addition to their community. 

Like an appeal letter, it serves as a powerful tool to demonstrate your dedication and enhance your chances of gaining admission to your dream institution.

student writing in notebook

Letter of Continued Interest Example

The following is an example of a letter of continued interest you may use as a template for your own letter. Do not copy this example word-for-word. Instead, use it as a guide that you must alter to apply to yourself, the school, and the program of choice.

Image outlining the steps on how to write a letter of continued interest

Dear Admissions Officer Smith,

I hope all is well with you. My name is Perfect Student, and I’d like to thank you for keeping my application to Dream University under consideration through deferral/waitlisting. Dream University is the school I’m most eager to attend, so the lasting hope you’ve given me is much appreciated.

I know that Dream University is the perfect school for me, and I believe I am a good fit for the University, too. I’ve had the pleasure of communicating with Professor Helpful to learn more about the pre-med program offered at your institution. More specifically, Professor Helpful and I have been discussing his chemistry and biochemistry courses. These courses have a special appeal to me as I hope to one day conduct research that may lead to more stable methods in the practice of anesthesiology.

Since sending my application to Dream University, I have raised my GPA from 3.55 to 3.69 by excelling in my chemistry and biology classes. I aim to keep up the momentum I’ve built so I can win the science award upon graduation.

I’ve also gained some crucial experience by shadowing an anesthesiologist at Work Experience Hospital over the course of several weeks. After shadowing the anesthesiologist and conversing with her on recent advances in her medical practice, I am more resolved than ever to help make anesthetization safer for any patient who may require it. Considering Dream University's mission statement, which seeks to “make the world a better place,” I feel that my own goals align perfectly with that of your fine academic institution.

I know you must be busy working your way through applications, so I’m very grateful for all the time you’ve given to reading this email. I hope I can one day count myself as part of the Dream University community and maybe even thank you in person.

Sincerely, 

Michael Smith

Hopeful Applicant Secondary School

Seattle, Washington

Tips in Writing a LOCI

So, you're ready to write a letter of continued interest that shows your potential. We've got you covered with some practical tips to help you navigate this important step in your college admissions journey.

1. Review Program Guidelines

  • Before diving into your letter of continued interest, it's crucial to understand the specific guidelines or FAQs provided by the program regarding the waitlist process. Some institutions prefer that candidates refrain from sending a letter, while others may invite updates.
  • If you can't find information about LOCI guidelines, consider reaching out to an admissions officer via email to inquire about the acceptability of sending one.

2. Write an Introduction

  • If sending a letter of continued interest is permissible, start with a well-structured introduction. Address your letter to the person who sent your initial decision letter, often the program manager or admissions officer.
  • Express gratitude for their time and consideration, followed by a statement highlighting your continued interest in the school. Emphasize that the program remains your top choice to convey your dedication.

3. Add Relevant Updates

  • In one to three concise paragraphs, share the most pertinent updates since submitting your initial application. Discuss recent achievements such as improved grades, standardized test scores, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities.
  • These accomplishments demonstrate your ongoing development and enhance your attractiveness as a candidate.

4. Consider Including a Personal Story

  • Incorporating a short personal narrative about why you're drawn to the specific school can make your letter more engaging. Share details about a campus visit, the school's mission, or a particular course that resonates with you.
  • Personal stories can help establish a connection with the reader and underscore your genuine interest.

5. Write a Conclusion

  • Wrap up your letter with a brief conclusion reiterating your enthusiasm for the program. Extend additional thanks to the recipient for their time and consideration.
  • Sign your name at the end of the letter. For emailed letters, type your name, while for physical letters, print the document and sign your name by hand for a professional touch.

6. Review and Revise Your Document

  • Treat your letter of continued interest as an opportunity to showcase your professionalism to the admissions committee. Thoroughly review and revise the letter for accuracy and proper grammar.
  • Consider reading the letter aloud or sharing it with a trusted friend or family member to ensure it leaves a positive impression.

7. Focus on Your Ideal Program

  • If you're waitlisted at multiple schools, concentrate your efforts on customizing your letter of continued interest for your ideal program or your top two choices. Tailoring your letters can make a stronger impression on admissions committees.
  • If you have the time and energy, you can create more personalized letters for other schools that have waitlisted you.

8. Use Positive and Polite Language

  • Keep your language concise, positive, and polite. Admissions committees appreciate candidates who come across as professional and grateful. Express your gratitude for the opportunity while presenting compelling reasons for your candidacy.

9. Review Your Personal Statement and Essay

  • Revisit your original personal statement and essay submitted with your initial application. The LOCI serves as a chance to provide new information for consideration while ensuring consistency in your messaging across all application materials.

10. Exclude Mentions of Other Opportunities

  • Avoid mentioning other opportunities in your letter of continued interest. Focusing exclusively on the school to which you're writing can emphasize your commitment and dedication. Admissions committees may view you more favorably as a result.
male student writing essay

FAQs: How to Write a Letter of Continued Interest for College

Curious about how to write a letter of continued interest for college admissions? This FAQ section provides answers to common questions and valuable insights to guide you through the process.

1. What sort of accomplishments should I note in my letter?

In the context of your letter of continued interest, the meaning of the term ‘accomplishment’ is wide-ranging. In essence, you should note anything that is relevant to your intended studies and professional expectations. Here is a list of some common accomplishments:

  • Increased GPA
  • Improved SAT or ACT scores
  • Relevant work experience (job or internship).
  • Relevant volunteer experience
  • Publications related to intended studies
  • Related extracurricular achievements

2. Is there a reason why I should not send a letter of continued interest?

Check the school’s website for information on their policy regarding additional letters sent to the admissions office. If the institution’s website indicates they accept letters of continued interest, feel free to send one. 

However, if a school specifically asks that you not send any additional letters, do not send one. Not abiding by the school policy can seriously harm your chances of acceptance.

3. Is there anything else I can do to make my letter more effective?

Consider keeping the line of communication open when writing the sign-off of your letter of continued interest. A simple sentence politely inviting the admissions officer to respond to your email should they require any more information from you is enough.

4. Is there anyone else I can contact to better my chances?

In the same vein as a preemptive letter to a professor, you may also lookup and contact some alumni or current students in your desired program. Through alumni and students, you can get a better sense of what the program expects from its students, as well as a more thorough outlining of the school’s values.

5. What should I do if a professor is not responding to my message?

If a professor doesn’t respond to your message after a week or so, you can send a follow-up email acknowledging how busy they must be but how appreciative you would be if they could spare any information. If they still do not respond, do not pester that recipient. Try contacting another professor instead.

6. What is the difference between a letter of interest and a letter of intent?

The biggest difference between a letter of continued interest and a letter of intent is the level of commitment each implies. In short, a letter of continued interest indicates that you are seriously considering attending the receiving institution, while a letter of intent serves as a promise that you will enroll in the school if accepted. 

Final Thoughts

You may feel powerless to do anything after being deferred or waitlisted from your dream school. However, there is still much you can do to better your chances of acceptance. Improve your marks, or gain some volunteer or work experience that will impress your preferred school’s admissions officer. 

Then, using this guide on how to write a letter of continued interest along with our letter of continued interest example, you can send the admissions officer an update that will make them look upon your application in a more favorable light.

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