As a college counselor, the months of August to December are filled with hard work, diligence, excitement, a little bit of stress, and patience. Supporting my students during their college application process is a privilege for me, and witnessing their hard work to meet the early decision and action deadlines always impresses me. Since much of the focus of my work with students is to identify colleges that are a good fit, most students are accepted to the schools they choose to apply to (see a list here of some recent results). However, each season students are faced with an admissions outcome other than an acceptance or denial. This little known and often misunderstood outcome is known as a deferral

When a college chooses to defer an applicant from the early action or early decision applicant pool to the regular decision pool, they are essentially letting the student know they are very interested in their candidacy but want to collect more information before making their final decision. This additional information can include mid-year grade reports, additional letters of recommendation, and/or a document known as the Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). 

A letter of continued interest (also known as a letter of intent or letter of interest) is a letter that a student writes to a college or university to express their ongoing interest in attending that school, even if they have not yet received a decision on their application and/or have been deferred or waitlisted. The purpose of a LOCI is to demonstrate to the admissions committee that the student is still interested in attending the school, as well as to provide any additional information or updates that may help their application.

Here are some tips for writing a letter of continued interest:

  1. Keep it brief and to the point. The letter should be no longer than one page and should focus on the most important points. 
  2. Provide new updates and information that may be relevant to your application. This could include new grades or test scores, awards or honors you have received, or any new extracurricular activities in which you have become involved.
  3. Explain why you are still interested in attending the school. This is an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the school and to explain why you think it is the right fit for you.
      1. If you have visited the campus before or since you submitted the application or participated in another prospective student event, be sure to mention this.
      2. Be sure to indicate why you believe the institution is the right fit for you to accomplish your short and long term academic, professional, and personal goals. 
  4. Proofread and edit carefully. A letter of continued interest is a formal document, so it’s important to make sure it is free of errors and is well-written.
  5. Follow the instructions provided by the college(s). While the information shared here is applicable to developing a strong LOCI, it is really important to follow the directions that the college has shared with you in their decision letter. Some colleges might not want a letter, but prefer that you fill out a form via their online admissions portal. If it is unclear to you whether an LOCI will be appropriate, a simple call to the admissions office will help guide you to determine the next best step. 
  6. Show enthusiasm and determination. Admissions committees want to see that you are truly interested in attending their school and that you are willing to put in the effort to make it happen. 

I recommend that students who choose to submit a LOCI to the college(s) do so around the time their mid-year grades are available (and for those with trimester grades, I suggest submitting a letter no later than mid-February). It is also important to note that not every college where you have been deferred or waitlisted needs to have a LOCI. If you are not excited about attending the school or have no intention of attending, if accepted, then an LOCI is not necessary. 

While submitting a LOCI is not a guarantee that you will be admitted once your application is re-evaluated, it can be an attempt to let the college know of your strong interest.  It can also serve as a personal acknowledgement that you have worked hard and done all you could to present yourself and your accomplishments to a college in a positive, respectful, and meaningful way.  

If you have any questions about the LOCI or want assistance with developing a strong letter to support an application, please reach out to Dana at to schedule a complimentary initial call.