School Tips: Express Your Interest, Writing a Letter of Continued Interest

Take the time to write several drafts of the letter, and choose the best draft.

A letter of interest‌ has to not only represent the writer's vision of him or herself as a student at the school, but many institutions also use the letter as one of the deciding factors in selecting potential students and offering scholarships for special academic programs. Therefore, it is essential that the student exhibits her greatest qualities, both academic and personal, to secure a chance for admission to an often highly competitive environment.

While letters of interest might show initial interest in a school and put special emphasis on first impressions, letters of continued interest serve as a potential second chance for college applicants that have been deferred or waitlisted.

A letter of continued interest (LOCI)‌ is an option for applicants that have been waitlisted or received a deferral from their dream school. If you have completed all the other steps of the application process and were not satisfied with what you heard back from the admissions committee, the LOCI serves as a personal statement of why you are still interested in attending that particular school. This letter, if executed well, can bring attention back to your original application.

Here are a few useful tips for writing a letter of continued interest.

Highlight the best attributes of your academic resume in the beginning of the letter.‌ For example, list your class standing, grade point average and academic honors that you had or currently have in high school. Indicate certifications and other credentials that present you as a qualified candidate for the school's program. If any of these attributes have improved since your initial application, be sure to note this, whether they’re improved sat scores/act scores, improved gpa, or any other new accomplishments worth mentioning.

For example, write, "As my academic record shows, I have a master's degree in aerospace engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am also a certified engineering technician assistant accredited by the National Association of Aerospace Engineering."

Express why you want to attend the institution.‌ Reference specific aspects of the institution or its programs that will aid you in accomplishing your academic goals. What makes this one of your top choice schools?

For example, write, " I am very excited about the prospect of attending your engineering design program. This program will help me gain the required skills to develop new prototypes for automobiles that have the ability to fly."

Reference your strengths, accomplishments, honors and any special recognitions you've received.‌ Use nouns and adjectives that indicate your qualities, such as committed, confident and innovative. In addition, mention internships or work experiences that will cause you to stand out from all of the other candidates. Again, this would be an opportunity to explain to the college admissions officer how you have improved since your last college application. This might include new awards you have received, new leadership positions, or any other significant new achievements.

For example, write, " I completed an internship with an aerospace engineer to develop new ways for astronauts to communicate more effectively while in space."

Conclude the letter with a succinct overview of your desire to attend the school.‌ Express interest to be interviewed or admitted to the specific program. Provide contact information and indicate that you will contact the admissions office to ensure receipt of the letter.

Based in Virginia, Kevin M. Jackson has been writing professionally since 2003. He is the author of the books "Life Lessons for My Sons" and "When GOD Speaks." Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Savannah State University and a Master of Arts in urban education from Norfolk State University.