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Articles / Applying to College / Letter of Continued Interest: What is it, What Should You Include, When Should You Send One?

Letter of Continued Interest: What is it, What Should You Include, When Should You Send One?

Written by Sam Jaquez | Jan. 26, 2023
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Have you been waitlisted or deferred by a college you wish to attend? If so, you are not alone. Thousands of college hopefuls are waitlisted or deferred every application season. But is there anything you can or should do to help your chances of making it off the waitlist and into the school of your dreams?

While there is no action that can guarantee an admission, many students report getting admissions offers after submitting a letter of continued interest.

What is a Letter of Continued Interest?

A letter of continued interest is a form of additional written communication sent to the admissions office of a college by a waitlisted or deferred student to plead their case, reaffirm their interest in attending, and hopefully increase their chance of being offered a spot.

For most schools, a letter of continued interest is not a requirement, but many students choose to send them when they are not accepted to their top choice schools. The letter may or may not result in acceptance, but it is often recommended to send a letter to a school if you have been waitlisted or deferred to inform them that you are still interested in attending.

Some schools, like Notre Dame have special portal where you can easily submit updates, including a letter of continued interest where they recommend keeping them updated throughout the application and waitlist period.

Other schools, like Yale, may accept a letter but ask that you only send them one update letter and no other grade updates, emails, or cards.

Some schools may not even accept a letter of continued interest at all. University of Virginia for example, notes that letters of continued interested are not used as a factor in their admission process and ask that you not send letters or updates outside of a midyear grade report. And USC recently posted on Instagram reminding students not to submit Letters of Continued Interest. If you see that your prospective school does not accept these types of letters, be sure to abide by their request.

What Should You Include in a Letter of Continued Interest?

A well-done letter of continued interest can be a great way to let a school know that you have not committed to another school and still wish to be considered for admission. Sending a letter is a proactive way to demonstrate your initiative and dedication to a particular school and program.

But what exactly should you say in a letter and is there anything you should leave out?

When an admissions officer opens your letter, you want to grab their attention and keep it long enough for you to update them on your circumstance. For that reason, try and make your letter short and sweet.

Do Include:

  • Your written intent: clearly state that, if accepted off the waitlist, you intend to enroll and attend. If you cannot promise them that you will accept an offer, simply state that you are very interested in their school.
  • Academic updates: this letter is a chance for you to elaborate on any academic updates to your grades or test scores that will also be sent to the school. Additionally, you can use this time to discuss any new academic achievements that won’t be sent directly to the school, like sports and other extra-curricular achievements, non-academic awards, etc.
  • Personal updates: have any big life changes or opportunities occurred that could add clarity to your application in any way? Use this space to let the admissions committee know.
  • Your gratitude: don’t forget to thank the admissions office for their time and for their consideration.

Don't Include:

  • Information and details already highlighted in your application
  • Additional letters of recommendation: if required by the school, you should have already submitted these with your application and adding any more is unnecessary
  • Judgement: this is not the place to berate the school for waitlisting or deferring you, and doing so would definitely be to your disadvantage.
  • Information on the status of your applications to other schools: if you have been rejected to all the other schools you have applied to, do not mention this in your letter of continued interest. Similarly, it is not a good idea to use “you are my last hope” as an expression of interest.

When Should You Send a Letter of Continued Interest?

Once you accept a waitlist position, you should then begin drafting a letter to the school to express that you are still interested in being considered for acceptance. However, depending on your situation, you might want to hold off on hitting send.

If you are expecting any academic updates - like higher SAT scores, awards, or improved you grades - wait to send your letter until after this information has been confirmed. Updating the college on anything that would make your application stronger might work in your favor when the school reviews your letter. Feel free to elaborate on any of these achievements in your letter too.

If you don’t have any additional updates to wait on, draft your letter and send it off as soon as you can. Promptness in sending your letter is another way to emphasize your interest.

Additionally, sending off your letter of continued interest early is a good way to relieve your own anxiety. And, in some cases, it could also mean receiving a quick decision. Several students in the CC Community have noted that they received their acceptances around two weeks after submitting their letter of continued interest!


For more discission on applying to college and writing a letter of continued interest, be sure to join the CC Community.

And for tips on the application process, don’t forget to check out the college admissions central!

Written by


Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English.

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