Four grad schools report increases in admit rates; one stays constant

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August 22, 2008

5:08 AM

Most of the College of William and Mary’s five graduate school programs saw an increase in applicants.

Applications to the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, the Graduate Studies program in Arts and Sciences, the Mason School of Business and Virginia Institute of Marine Science increased, while application rates to the School of Education were consistent with past years.

The Law School, which is ranked 30th by U.S. News and World Report, had a 7.8 percent increase in applications. This year, 4,742 prospective students applied for 220 spots. Associate Dean for Admission Faye Shealy attributes this increase to the school’s outreach programs and reputation.

“While we participate in a number of outreach programs to meet prospective applicants, we feel that the reputation of the Law School with its major innovative programs, wonderful faculty and student culture make William and Mary an attractive choice for many applicants,” Shealy said.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also had an increase in applicants for 2008. The 942 applicants represented a 20 percent increase when compared with the incoming class of 2006.

“This increase is fairly consistent across all programs,” Laurie Anderson, dean of Graduate Studies and Research, said.

The number of applicants to the Mason School of Business increased by 16 percent this year.

“We had a big increase in applicants for the MBA program and, by extension, an increase in enrollment,” Andrea Sardone, spokeswoman for the Admissions Department of the Business School, said.

For the first time in three years, VIMS had a turnaround in admissions this year with a 23 percent increase in applications. Prior to this year there had been a steady decrease in applicants to VIMS, which professor Iris Anders, dean of Graduate Studies at VIMS, attributed to a slowing economy.

The School of Education was the only College graduate program that did not see an increase in applicants. The number of applications was consistent with the numbers from previous years.

“[Admittance at the School of Education] is consistent with the trend for graduate schools of education throughout the country,” Tom Ward, associate dean for academic programs, said.

As programs in association with the College, most of the graduate schools see a significant number of applicants from the College. There is a consensus among the graduate schools’ admissions offices that College undergraduates are qualified applicants.

The College is the largest feeder school to the Law School, with 100 of the 4,742 applicants coming from the undergraduate school.

“College students have strong name association with a truly outstanding institution of higher education,” Shealy said.

College undergraduates also make up a considerable portion of the School of Education applicant pool. Ten percent of the applications to the School of Education comes from College undergraduates, while 20 percent of its student body comes from the College.

“[College undergraduates] tend to have very impressive academic credentials and good preparation for most of our initial programs,” Ward said.

College alumni are also represented in the Business School MBA program, with 3 percent of applications and 6 percent of the incoming class coming from College undergraduate studies.
VIMS is one of the graduate schools that sees very few College undergraduates as applicants. There are typically one or two applicants per year who come from College undergraduate studies. However, Anderson said that she “would like to see more.”

Despite College students’ credentials, admissions officers said that College undergraduates do not get preferential treatment in the admissions process.

“William and Mary undergraduates who apply to [The School of Education] are assessed in exactly the same manner as other applicants,” Ward said. “The only exception to this is the new fifth-year program option. Only William and Mary undergraduates are eligible for this program.”

College applicants to VIMS are also evaluated in the same manner as other applicants; however, College applicants may have a slight advantage at VIMS because of the opportunity to develop relationships with professors during their undergraduate career.

“The only advantage [for College students] is that a lot of them have gotten the chance to know their advisors,” Anderson said. “It really helps when the faculty knows the student since they are funding the student’s education.”

Although College students are attractive applicants, Sardone said that they do not receive any advantages in the admissions process.

“We don’t give preferential treatment to William and Mary undergraduates,” Sardone said. “The admissions process takes into account lots of factors including GMAT scores and work experience. We emphasize the story of the individual.”

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