Applications increase 3.6 percent to 12,000

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February 3, 2009

11:13 AM

For the first time in the College of William and Mary’s history, the number of applications received for the fall’s entering class has exceeded 12,000.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that the College has set a record for total number of applicants. With 12,053 applications on file as of last night, the applicant pool has increased 3.6 percent over last year’s total, and over 70 percent during the past decade. That number could increase slightly as applications continue to be processed.

Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus said the numbers can change slightly due to clerical corrections.

“What we’re confident about right now is that we’re going to be north of 12,000, and that, to me, that’s that same sort of excitement as when the odometer flips over on your car. That’s a real milestone.”

He attributes the increase to everything from the College’s continued outreach efforts and its new website — which includes a new video prompt written by Broaddus introducing students to the admissions staff and instructing them on how to complete their supplemental essay — to the College’s reputation of offering an elite education at a public-school price.

“It’s the largest pool in the College’s history, and I think just a great indicator of [the] real demand and strength of William and Mary’s position among prospective students,” Broaddus said.

The news comes on the tail of recent publicity for the College, as the school was featured on NBC’s “Today Show” in January as the Princeton Review’s third-best value public university in the U.S. The College was also featured in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine as the fifth-best value public university.

The bargain price of a College education is one of several factors Broaddus suggests led to the increased number of both regular and early decision applicants.

Not only was there an increase in early applicants, but also an increase in early admittances. Of the total number of applicants for the Class of 2013, 955 applied early decision, the most since the Class of 2010, which had 969 early applicants. Despite having fewer early applicants, 505 members of the Class of 2013 have been admitted through early decision, as compared to the Class of 2010, which admitted 440.

“It’s a larger jump proportionally in the admitted group than it is in the pool size,” Broaddus said.

He attributes the increased early acceptance rate to a myriad of causes.

“Early decision pools allow you to create a foundation for your class, and certainly the primary contributing factors to more admits this year are a bigger, very strong early pool that allows us to have many students who are the kinds of kids we think would be competitive regardless of how or when they apply,” Broaddus said.

“Another consideration obviously is making sure that you get the class you want. Early decision is so much more predictable; when you get into regular decision, it’s not. Last year we saw a lot more volatility, as did most places, in regular decision pools, mainly because Harvard [University], Princeton [University] and the University of Virginia were not offering early admission of any kind.”

The applicant pool for the Class of 2013 is also one of the most diverse the College has ever received. Applications from students of color, which include African-American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic and Native American backgrounds, grew 7 percent this year after the 16.4 percent increase last year.

The College will offer admission to more than 3,000 applicants, expecting an incoming class of approximately 1,380 students. Admission offers will be sent no later than April 1.

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