College Waitlist or Deferred – Write a Letter of Continued Interest

You put in the hard work, you applied to your dream school and you waited in anticipation of the admissions offers… “Application Deferred.” Most applicants assume there are two potential admissions outcomes  – “admitted” and “denied.” You aren’t alone if you just learned that there are actually several more possible outcomes – because applying to college isn’t confusing enough. 

What Does A Deferred College Application Mean?

When your college application is “deferred,” it means that the college has essentially pushed your application review and will continue evaluating it at a later date. Typically, this happens in one of the following scenarios: 

  • You submitted your application during the Early Action or Early Decision admissions cycles – In this case, admissions officers have pushed your application back into the regular admissions pool to be reviewed with that cycle. 
  • You applied Regular Decision – This situation occurs when the school would like more information from you to have a better understanding of your academic abilities before making a final decision. This could include updated standardized test scores or improved grades in areas you may have been struggling with.

Landed on the Waitlist?

Now another possibility that may have happened is that you were placed on the college’s waitlist for admission. This differs from a deferral in that the school has already reviewed your application and it’s been placed on a hold of sorts – think of it as a “maybe” if you will. 

The college waitlist is simply a list of applicants that the school may or may not decide to offer admission to attend. Whether you are offered a spot off the waitlist will depend on a few factors: 

  • How many spots the school has opened for the desired school term – Colleges and universities start admitting students off of the waitlist if the number of students that  accepted an offer and have decided to attend the school is too low. Spots that the school accounted for are now open and the school will then begin to issue offers of admission to candidates on the waitlist. 
  • Your position on the waitlist – Unfortunately, each school has a different size waitlist, which can make it difficult to know your chances of being admitted off a waitlist. Additionally, most schools don’t rank in a specific order, but rather consider which applicants from the waitlist will best fit a composition of majors/concentrations they desire to have or even which applicants have a greater likelihood of attending if accepted. 

You can expect waitlist decisions starting after May 1, or whichever date your desired school has set for admitted students to accept their offer. At that point, the school will be able to assess the waitlist and begin admitting from it. 

Either scenario can be especially discouraging if the school is your top choice. The good news is that you aren’t out of the race yet! Looking for something you can do to help your chances? Keep reading!

Write a Letter of Continued Interest

A letter of continued interest is your opportunity to reach out to the school and share that you are still interested in attending their school and why. Here’s the thing – you likely shared in your application why you are interested and this letter needs to contain new information. 

Right now, your application is a “maybe” and you want to turn that into a “yes!” Your application is competitive, which is why you weren’t denied , but the school needs a nudge that pushes you into the admitted  pile. 

  1. Start off by thanking the admissions committee for taking the time to re-evaluate your materials and reassert why that school is where you want to be; if this school is your top choice, let them know here too
  2. Share new information about yourself, in particular new activities or projects you have taken on, if you have won any awards or accomplishments, or if you have improved any test scores or grades
  3. Tie in specifics about what you love about the campus, their academics, student body/life
  4. Include additional “Why Us” characteristics that highlight why you belong at the school
  5. Conclude the letter with a succinct thank you and send it off

We’ve put together this sample letter of continued interest for you to get your creative juices flowing. As always, make sure to read through your letter carefully before sending it off, follow any directions the school has provided for submitting one, and consider intentionally checking any emails from the school as your opening them shows them that you are still interested beyond the letter. 

Need advice or just some extra guidance with your applications? Sign up and get college admissions support so you can achieve “Admission Accomplished!” 

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