When the news isn’t good news: what to do about deferments and waitlists

by | Apr 16, 2016 | Advice for Seniors


You’ve been patiently waiting for that first envelope, but when it comes, it’s not the ACCEPT you’ve been hoping for. A rejection is one thing: at least then you have a definitive answer and can move on. But, what if you hear: “You’ve been waitlisted,” or “Your Early Action application has been deferred to our regular admission pool”? These responses from colleges can be confusing to students and parents, but Campus Bound is here to help. Below are some tips and the steps you can take to increase your chances when your application is reviewed a second time around.

  1. Read the directions from the college carefully. When you hear the news from the college, read the letter thoroughly. The college may give specific directions for the next steps an applicant can take. If the college gives specific directions, follow them closely. They may ask you to let them know if you wish to remain on the waitlist. They may ask for more supporting documents, or they may request that you not send anything. If the college makes a point to let you know what they want, follow the directions carefully. If you can’t find this information in the letter with the admission decision, check the school’s website.
  2. In most cases, except for schools that make it clear you should not send anything, you can send a Letter of Continued Interest (LOCI). A Letter of Continued Interest, just as the name suggests, lets the college know that you may be disappointed by their initial decision, but that you remain very interested in attending their school and wish to be considered again. Your LOCI letter should be one page in length and generally positive. You can highlight any recognitions, academic achievements, etc. since you sent your application in. And, you can state again what a great match X College is for you with specific examples. Campus Bound counselors are experts at helping students put their best foot forward in their Letter of Continued Interest.
  3. In certain circumstances, you can ask your school guidance counselor to advocate for you. Not all counselors are able to do this, and it won’t make a difference for some schools. However, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your school counselor to explore your options.
  4. Continue to do well academically, and send any grade reports to the college(s). The most important thing to colleges is to get good grades, and senior year is no exception. If you have mid-year grades or mid-term grades, send them to the admission office of the college where you have been deferred or waitlisted.
  5. Be cautiously optimistic but move on. Stay positive about the school(s) you’ve been deferred or waitlisted at, but now is the time to focus on the schools that accepted you. Visit them again, attend “accepted student weekends”, and continue to explore all they have to offer so you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

As always, Campus Bound counselors are here to help for any part of the college admission process. This can often include strategy meetings around the waitlist, and helping families make the final college decision. Contact us any time for help.

You May Also Like…