If you find yourself waitlisted or deferred at one of your top college choices, the following samples can help guide you as you write a letter of continued interest.
Waitlist Letter Samples
A letter of continued interest does not guarantee your eventual acceptance to the school, and it may not improve your chances at all. That said, it can't hurt, and your display of interest in the program and your dedication and outreach may help.
Mr. Andrew Quackenbush
Director of Admissions
Dear Mr. Quackenbush,
I was recently waitlisted for the current year school year; I am writing to express my continued interest in Burr University. I am particularly drawn to the school's Music Education program - the outstanding faculty and state-of-the-art facilities are what specifically make Burr University my top choice.
I also wanted to inform you that since I submitted my application, I have been awarded the Nelson Fletcher Prize for Excellence in Music by the Treeville Community Foundation. This award is given to a high school senior every year after a state-wide competition. This award means a lot to me, and I believe it shows my dedication and continued passion in music and music education. I have attached an updated resumé with this information added to it.
Thank you so much for you time and consideration. If you have any further questions, please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.
Discussion of Alex's Letter
Students should keep in mind that writing a letter of continued interest (also known as LOCI) is not a guarantee that they will be moved off of the waitlist as an accepted student. While new information can be helpful, it may not be enough to sway the Admissions Office's decision. But don't let that discourage you from writing a LOCI. If nothing else, it shows the school you are dedicated, mature, attentive, and very much interested in its programs. At many schools, demonstrated interest plays a role in admissions decisions.
Alex addressed his letter to the Director of Admissions, which is a good choice. Whenever possible, use the name of the person who sent you the letter or email telling you of your admissions status. "To Whom It May Concern" sounds generic and impersonal, something you want to avoid. You want to create a personal connection with the admissions office.
Alex's letter is fairly short. This is a good idea because going on at length about your interest, your improved test scores, or your passion for education may come off as sounding desperate or vain, and it wastes the time of the admissions staff. Here, with only a few short paragraphs, Alex gets his message across without being too wordy.
Alex briefly mentions that this school is his top choice. This is good information to include, but more importantly, Alex goes into why it is his top choice. Having specific reasons for being interested in a school can show the Admissions Office that you have done your research and that your interest in their school is informed and sincere. That kind of attention to detail and individual interest can set you apart from others on the waitlist.
Alex thanks the Director at the close of the letter, and his writing/communication skills are strong. While he writes a convincing and mature letter, it is also respectful in that he does not demand to be bumped from "waitlisted" to "accepted." Whatever anger and frustration Alex is feeling does not appear in the letter, and he shows a pleasing level of maturity and professionalism.
Mrs. A. D. Missions
Director of Admissions
Dear Mrs. Missions,
Thank you for taking the time to read my application. I know that State University is a very selective school, and I'm happy to be included on the school's waitlist. I'm writing to express my continued interest in the school, and to include some new information to add to my application.
Since I applied to State University, I retook the SAT; my previous scores were lower than I would have liked, and I wanted a second chance to prove myself. My math score is now 670 and my evidence-based reading score is 690. I'm much happier with these scores, and I wanted to share this improvement with you. I'm having the official scores sent to State University.
I understand that this new information may not impact my position on the waitlist, but I wanted to share it with you nonetheless. I'm still very excited about the prospect of joining the State University History Department, and of working with its extensive American History archives.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Discussion of Hannah's Letter
Hannah's letter is another good example of what to include in a letter of continued interest. She writes well, and she keeps the letter short and respectful. She doesn't come across as angry or presumptuous, and she states her case well while remembering her letter does not guarantee she will be accepted.
In the second paragraph, Hannah presents new information: her updated and higher SAT scores. We don't see how much of an improvement these scores are from her old ones. However, these new scores are well above average. She doesn't make excuses for her poor scores. Instead, she focuses on the positive and shows her improvement by sending the scores to the school.
In the final paragraph, she expresses her interest in the school with specific information about why she wants to attend. This is a good move; it shows that she has specific reasons why she wants to attend this college in particular. It may not be enough to impact her status, but it shows the Admissions Office she cares about the school and really does want to be there.
All in all, Hannah and Alex have written strong letters. They may not get off of the waitlist, but with these letters, they have demonstrated themselves to be interested students with additional information to help their cases. It's always good to be realistic about your chances when writing a letter of continued interest and to know that it probably won't end up making a difference. But it never hurts to try, and new information that strengthens your application can make a difference.
Sample Bad Letter of Continued Interest
Ms. Molly Monitor
Director of Admissions
Higher Ed University
To Whom It May Concern:
I'm writing to you in regards to my current admissions status. HEU is my top choice, and while I understand being on the waitlist isn't a rejection, I was very disappointed in being put on this list. I am hoping to state my case for you and convince you to move me to the top of the list, or to change my status to admitted.
As I wrote in my application, I've been on the Honor Roll for the past six semesters. I've also received numerous awards at area art shows. My art portfolio, which I submitted as part of my application, was some of my best work, and clearly college-level work. When I'm enrolled at HEU, my work will only improve, and I will continue to work hard.
HEU is my top choice, and I really want to attend. I've been rejected from three other schools, and accepted to a school that I don't really want to attend. I'm hoping you can find a way to admit me, or least move me to the top of the waitlist.
Thank you in advance for your help!
A Critique of Lana's Letter
Right from the start, Lana is taking the wrong tone. While it's not a major issue, she starts the letter with "To Whom It May Concern," even though she is writing it to the Director of Admissions. If possible, address your letter to a person, being sure to spell his or her name and title correctly.
In her first paragraph, Lana makes the mistake of sounding both frustrated and presumptuous. While being waitlisted is not a positive experience, you shouldn't let that disappointment come through in your LOCI. She goes on to point out the ways in which the admissions office has made a mistake in placing her on the waitlist. Instead of presenting new information, such as higher test scores or a new award, she reiterates the achievements she has already listed on her application. By using the phrase "when I'm enrolled… " she is presuming that her letter will be enough to take her off the waitlist; this makes her come off as arrogant and less likely to succeed in her attempt.
Finally, Lana writes that she is desperate; she's been rejected at other schools, and accepted to a school she doesn't want to attend. It's one thing to let the school know they are your top choice, for this is a small but helpful piece of information. It's another thing to act as though this is your only option, your last resort. Coming across as desperate won't help your chances. Also, if Lana doesn't want to go to the school that admitted her, then why did she apply? Lana comes across as someone who planned her application process poorly. If she did, in fact, plan her application process poorly, fair enough - many students do. However, you shouldn't share this fact with colleges.
While Lana is generally polite in her letter, and her spelling/grammar/syntax is all fine, her tone and approach are what make this letter a bad one. If you decide to write a letter of continued interest, make sure to be respectful, honest, and humble.
A Final Word on LOCI
Realize that some colleges and universities do not welcome letters of continued interest. Before sending anything to a school, be sure to read both your decision letter and the admissions website carefully to see if the school has said anything about sending additional information. If the school says further correspondence is not welcome, you obviously shouldn't send anything. After all, colleges want to admit students who know how to follow directions.