There was a little bit of back and forth on our facebook page last week about whether it is a good idea to send a letter of continued interest (LOCI) to UVA or not. I’m actually really glad that came up, because it’s a perfect example of why it is so important to work alongside one’s high school counselor. UVA’s page for deferred students indicates the following:
Other than midyear grade updates or new standardized test results, we will not be able to review any edits to your application or additional information. Please do not send additional information, including recommendations, during this time.
I agree with the person that commented on the facebook page - this certainly sounds like they don’t want any kind of application updates. However, after years as a school counselor in which I had quite a few counselor calls myself - and many more years helping school counselors make those calls (including this year!) - I can assure students that UVA will still accept updates to a student’s application if there are updates to share. And to be honest - if you don’t have any updates to share about your senior year, that’s not a good sign. Hopefully, a student’s senior year represents the climax of an exciting an engaging high school experience - so why wouldn’t you share these new accomplishments? One of the blog comments, written by a UVA admissions officer, reinforced this message:
If you feel there is an important update, it's fine to upload that in the portal. We don't expect that and interest is not a factor, so we don't push people to do that.
The bottom line: go see your school counselor! That person will be able to help let you know the best course of action. Write your LOCI, but ask for your counselor’s help in tailoring it to the specific school(s) of interest. With a school that does not take demonstrated interest into account, like UVA, that will require a very different approach than a school like Emory, for which demonstrated interest is extremely important.
Here is our template for writing a generic letter of continued interest to solidify that post-deferral foot you have in the door:
Your first priority in your introduction is to graciously thank the admissions officer for reviewing your application and clearly express that said school remains your very first choice.
This may be the most important paragraph within the letter. Most likely it’s been several months since you submitted your application, which means they are in need of an update. Did you recently receive a scholarship? Were you awarded an honor? Perhaps you started a new job or became caption of the basketball team. Think of 1-3 achievements to highlight what it is that happened since the admissions department heard from you last.
Have you visited the campus again? Did you meet a current student, recent grad or alumnus? Include these topics in a personal story that further exemplifies why this school is your perfect match. Be sure to share a new detail and not something that could be found or inferred through your initial application.
Thank the admissions staff once again for their time and consideration, while restating your intent to attend said university upon receiving acceptance.
And lastly.. don’t forget to PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS!
You’ve meticulously combed through your application and you want to handle this letter with the same care.
If you know whom you’re writing to, make sure to include their name. For example, start your letter with “Dear Ms. [insert last name]. If you’re unsure which admissions officer will receive your letter “Dear Admissions Officer” will suffice.
Make sure never to convey any negative feelings you have about being waitlisted or deferred in your letter of continued interest, in any communications with the school and to any alumni or faculty of the university. Those feelings are best shared with trusted confidants, such as your parents, counselor, or us!
Double check your deferral/waitlist letter for any instructions or requests the school may have for you. In some cases, schools will say they do not want any further communications with applicants and will let you know their final decision by a specific date.
For further insight into creating a pitch perfect letter of continued interest, schedule an appointment at our office here.