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Deferred or Waitlisted? Why You Should Write a Letter of Continued Interest

What does it mean that I am Waitlisted?

A college has finished reviewing your application and decided to put you on their “waitlist”. You are placed on “hold” in a waiting room of sorts with that college. They may or may not accept you. It is important to do your research and see how many students that specific college lets off the waitlist. Some colleges go through much more of their waitlist than others. Colleges usually begin to accept students off the waitlist after May 1 if they need to fill more spots in their freshman class. 

What does it mean that I am Deferred?

If you applied under the Early Action or Early Decision application deadline, you could possibly hear back that you have been “deferred”. Being deferred means that your application will now be reviewed with the Regular Decision applicants. You will have another opportunity to be considered for admission. 

Should I Write a Letter of Continued Interest?

Yes! If you have been deferred or waitlisted from a college, you may receive a follow up email for next steps to take. A college may ask if you are still interested in being considered for admission. This is where the Letter of Continued Interest comes into play. This is a chance to explain your interest in attending the college and why it should be YOU that they accept. It allows you to alert the admissions committee on updates to your application and reiterate the value you would bring to their college community. This letter will help you plead your case that you are a great fit for the college and to explain any updates to your application. 

Colleges will let you know where to send your Letter of Continued Interest or provide you a form to fill out. If you are unsure, look up the phone number to admissions and ask where to send your Letter of Continued Interest. Pay attention to the instructions given by the college about where and when to send your Letter of Continued Interest. 

Be clear, creative, and concise with your information. This is your chance to turn a “maybe” into a “yes”. Colleges have a very competitive applicant pool, and this is your opportunity to stand out. Don’t shy away from using your personality and voice! 

You do not want to use this letter as a way to express anger or frustration about your decision. Let the college admissions committee see your gratitude, resilience, and persistence.

What should I include in a Letter of Continued Interest?


First, thank the admissions committee for the opportunity to have your application evaluated for another time. Whenever possible, use the name of the person who sent you the letter or email telling you of your admissions status. 


Next, this is your moment to let the admissions committee know if and why this college is your top choice and why you are a great fit

Do your research on the college’s mission and your specific program and let them know why you are a perfect fit and a valuable candidate. 

Have you visited their campus since you last applied? Let them know why you loved it and why you felt at home there.


Additionally, update the admissions committee. Let the admissions committee know if you have an increase in your GPA, additional achievements, honors or awards, leadership positions, volunteer work, or employment. 

Avoid mentioning what has already been expressed in your initial application. 

What if you don’t have any new achievements?

You may feel that you do not have any updated accomplishments to express to the admissions committee. Writing a Letter of Continued Interest is still worth it. You can think outside the box with what you want to add to your letter.  Has something happened during volunteering that highlights a talent or trait of yours? Have you contributed to a class, project, employment, or club at school that is worth mentioning? Take this opportunity to do some research into the college, mission, or program that you are applying for and connect that experience to how you will add to the college itself. 

Example: If you were volunteering at a hospital and had a pivotal moment with a patient or conversation with a nurse that has impacted you and sparked further thought into a college’s specific research opportunities, etc.  


It is important to express your gratitude once again. This is your opportunity to allow colleges to know your intent to attend upon admission and thank the college admissions committee for their time and effort.

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