Got Waitlisted: How to Write a Letter of continued interest (LOCI)?

So, you’ve been waitlisted. What should a waitlisted individual do?

The time between submitting your applications and receiving an acceptance letter from one of your top choices is agonizing! The moment you see a notification from a program to which you have applied, your stomach flutters; have I been accepted? No, but it’s also not a rejection – I’m on the waitlist!

Ask any prospective graduate student who has ever been placed on a waitlist, and they will tell you that being placed on a waitlist causes complete confusion.

  • What should be your next step?
  • What are your prospects for admission?
  • Should you just be patient and wait?

This article discusses measures to take if you have been placed on a waitlist for one of your top choice universities. 

Step-by-Step Guide on What to Do After Being Waitlisted as a Graduate Applicant?

Firstly, being waitlisted is a good sign. The admissions office must be impressed with your application, but they may require additional information or additional time to evaluate applications. It could also mean that admissions has sent out offers and is waiting for responses. Not all applicants selected will accept the offer, so when people decline, admissions move on to the waitlist. 

As a waitlisted applicant, your responsibility is to read the email carefully and follow the instructions, if any. Instructions could ask for additional information, or confirm whether you want to remain on the waitlist, or you could be asked to do nothing. Some universities rank waitlist applicants, while others do not. To double-check, find, and read the university’s waitlist policies carefully. 

What additional information could be useful?

If you can provide additional information and admissions has not specified otherwise, here are some options: 

1. Updated GRE or English proficiency test scores:

If you submitted your application with a certain score and subsequently scored higher on the GRE or an English proficiency test, you may submit the updated scores (the official report can be appended to an email). 

2. Recent academic or professional achievements:

Since submitting your application, you may have obtained a higher GPA, published a research article, completed additional coursework or certifications, made significant progress at work through a particular project, or been promoted. Be sure to emphasize acquired skills, the significance of your accomplishment, and/or how it enhances your candidacy. Be sure to submit an updated CV!

3. A letter of recommendation:

I always recommend having a backup referee, and this is the perfect time to ask for their help. As with the previous point, the additional recommendation ought to ideally contain new information. If possible, the recommendation should validate the academic or professional accomplishments you mention in your admissions email.

Read how to obtain a strong and personalized letter of recommendation (LOR).

4. Communication with faculty:

If you were able to contact a professor after submitting your application and received a positive response about joining their research group or the program, this is an excellent opportunity to provide such details. This surely qualifies as additional information, as the faculty may or may not review your application.

How should additional information be conveyed?

If the admissions office has not specified how to submit or upload additional information, you could send a letter of continued interest (LOCI). A LOCI is a concise letter in which the applicant expresses interest in the program and provides assurance that they will accept admission if offered.

Remember that you should not repeat information that has already been included in your application and that your tone must be respectful and professional. The LOCI must convey only the most important and relevant updates and any new information about your interest in the program. 

Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI)

Here’s a sample LOCI (please modify the content with details relevant to you): 

Dear [name of the person you received the waitlist email from, or Director of Admissions],

Thank you for reviewing my application and informing me about being waitlisted. I am writing to express my continued interest in enrolling at [name of university] if admitted from the waitlist. I submitted my application on December 2, 2022, and my application ID is [ID].

I would like to take this opportunity to mention a few key recent academic developments. I earned a final CGPA of 8.97/10 at the end of my undergraduate program, raising my CGPA from 8.77/10 when I applied. My rank in the [branch/major] is now 4, out of 103 students. I had previously sent transcripts until the 6th semester, hence, I have attached a copy of my updated official transcript with this email for your reference.

Further, in February, I presented my team’s research on [topic] at the [name of conference] as the lead author, which has also been accepted as an original article in [name of journal]. I mentioned an interest in assisting [name of professor] in my application, whom I met during the conference. We discussed the potential of my continuing her research on [a key topic] as a graduate student researcher, which I would be thrilled to take up if I am admitted.

If I can provide any further information that would be helpful to you, please let me know. Thank you for your consideration.

[Your name]

What not to do on being Waitlisted?

It’s important to know certain practices that must be avoided, such as:

1. Do not assume that additional information can help. If the waitlist intimation email mentions that there is nothing you can do and you must wait, accept it and be patient.

2. Avoid bombarding the admissions office with reminders and updates. Send one LOCI within a week of receiving the waitlist intimation, and wait for a response. You may not receive a response for a while. If a month has passed since your LOCI and there has been no response, you may resend the LOCI.

3. Do not send or order any “gifts” by post. 

4. Avoid any “backdoor” means to find out about your application decision. 

It is important to maintain a positive attitude throughout the process; even after doing everything right, the decision may not be in your favor. The waitlist is also a sign to be prepared for denial and acceptance.

If you have another offer of admission, do what needs to be done to finalize that offer, in the event of a denial. Alternatively, act on another backup plan and improve your profile for when you apply again in the future. 

Featured Image Source: Achona

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