Incoming class most diverse ever

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August 22, 2008

5:15 AM

The College of William and Mary had nearly 1,000 more applications this year than last, with the number totaling 11,636. Thirty-three percent of applicants were accepted and 1,380 students are expected to attend this fall, 30 more than last year.

With the increase in applications came a 34[1] percent increase in the acceptance rate, the same as last year, as well as a rise in applications from minority students, which increased by 15 percent this year. In the resulting, more diverse freshman class, minority students represent almost a quarter of incoming freshmen. First generation college students represent 11.5 percent and international students make up a little over 3 percent of the class.

However, many statistics for the enrolling class are almost identical to those of the Class of 2011. The inter-quartile range of SAT scores for the Class of 2012 is 1260 to 1430, a slight dip from 1270 to 1430 posted by the Class of 2011.

In addition, 79 percent of both classes ranked in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and 35 percent of both classes are out-of-state students.

These statistics reflect a consistently strong applicant pool despite “aggressive moves in financial aid at many highly selective institutions [that], for example, have changed the landscape considerably,” Broaddus stated.

“When a Harvard education costs only 10 percent of family household income, gone is the price advantage that selective public institutions have enjoyed in the past with some students,” Broaddus said.

Consistent with last year’s applicant pool, this year the admissions office saw more female applicants than male applicants, resulting in a slightly higher admissions rate for men. However, the caliber of the enrolling men and enrolling women is relatively even.

“Although we’ve not calculated the specifics for this class,” Broaddus said, “in previous years we determined that more enrolling women were in the top decile of their high school classes, but enrolling men had slightly higher test scores on average.”

The College admitted more students from the waitlist — over 100 — this year than in previous years. Broaddus said that admitting a large number of students from the waitlist is becoming more common in top tier universities as early application and early decision programs disappear.

“We had many students in our regular decision pool who, in a prior year, would have been admitted to [Harvard University, Princeton University, or the University of Virginia] during the early round and would not have continued with their applications to William and Mary,” Broaddus said. “Of course, it’s great for us to have the opportunity to recruit such students, but their presence in the pool inevitably makes it more challenging to predict who will accept our offers of admission.”

Although the College received a record number of applicants this year, education experts predict a drop in high school graduates in the next few years, leading to fewer college applicants. Broaddus said that the admissions office is aware of those projections. However, due to the College’s academic reputation and strong applicant pool, admissions officers are not overly concerned with these trends.

“In Virginia, projections call for impending declines in the number of high school graduates through the 2014-2015 academic year, after which there will be a gradual increase again for several years,” Broaddus said.

“Although not a cause for alarm in light of the very strong and very large pool we have built over time, naturally we are keeping our eyes on these trends.”

fn1. __The Flat Hat orginially reported that the admit rate for the Class of 2012 was 33 percent. However, that figure did not calculate in wait-list students who were accepted over the summer, which brings the admit rate to 34 percent.__

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