Countdown to college: What is a LOCI and how can you use it to your advantage?

Lee Shulman Bierer
Tribune News Service

If you applied Early Decision or Early Action, you may have received notification that you’ve been deferred. It’s the purgatory of the college admissions process. You definitely weren’t accepted and yet you definitely weren’t rejected.

Is there anything you can do if you’re deferred or, later on in the application season, wait-listed?

Many counselors recommend that their students respond to a deferral or wait-listing with a “letter of continued interest” – now officially known as a LOCI.

What is a LOCI? It’s an email or snail mail letter that a student sends directly to the admissions office and, if possible, directly to the college admissions representative responsible for their high school. The purpose of the letter is to let the college know that you are still very interested in attending and why.

Remember to follow the instructions that accompanied your deferral notification. If they tell you, “Please don’t send any new letters of recommendations,” then don’t. Ask yourself if you are still very interested in attending the school and determine if you want to make the effort.

What to include in your LOCI

Admissions officers’ time is valuable, so make every effort to share NEW information and to be concise. A lengthy, boring LOCI could hurt more than it can help.

Don’t whine about how disappointed you were to receive the news. Think about what new information you can add that wasn’t included in your initial application. Don’t rehash what was already in your application. Have you won any awards? Do you have new, improved test scores? Did you get a job? Have you taken on a leadership role in any of your extracurricular activities? Have you been involved in any events this past fall or raised money for a charity event? If you have sat in on a webinar or a virtual meeting, that’s important to share.

If you don’t have much “news,” focus on why the college is a good academic fit for you, but be careful: Don’t make it something generic that could be sent to any college on your list. Do your homework and understand specific majors, specific courses and specific opportunities. This is where you’ll need to differentiate each college.

Start and end your letter with a thank-you. Thank them for reevaluating your application and taking the time to reconsider it.

Will a LOCI work?

Asking different people and different schools with provide you with a variety of answers. A letter of continued interest can’t do any damage as long as you follow the above tips.