College received record number of applicants

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August 21, 2009

12:18 AM

The College of William and Mary drew more applicants this year than ever before. More than 12,100 students applied to be a part of the Class of 2013 — a four percent increase over last year and a 70 percent increase over the last decade. Approximately 1,400 students are enrolled, roughly the same number as those in the Class of 2012.

“We attribute the increase to a variety of factors, including demographic shifts and the economic climate, but also to recruitment efforts for targeted segments and to strategic communication, especially on the web
and through e-mail campaigns,” Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus told The Flat Hat.

The freshman class brings a middle 50th percentile on the SAT of 1260 – 1430, the same as the Class of 2012, and slightly lower than the Class of 2011’s 1270 – 1430. Seventy-nine percent of the incoming students who provided class rank finished in the top 10 percent of their class, matching last year’s statistic.

“William and Mary continues to attract marvelous new students,” College President Taylor Reveley said in a press release. “They come with powerful credentials and compelling backgrounds. We look forward to their
becoming stellar new members of the [William and Mary] family.”

Less than 20 students were admitted from the waitlist this year, fewer than the previous class, which admitted over 100 waitlisted applicants. Students of color comprise a quarter of the new freshmen class, and the numbers of men relative to women remains relatively even.

“We’re pleased to see gender balance in the enrolling class, because we believe that’s important to both the pedagogical and social environments that students expect for their William and Mary experience,” Broaddus said.

Broaddus maintained that diversity of all kinds is key to a successful class.

“This class has its own distinctive personality, not better or worse than in prior years, but unique,” Broaddus said. “Our committee works hard to ensure that each class includes people with a broad range of talents, achievements and perspectives. Ultimately we want the class itself to be one of the most important resources for learning that each member of the class enjoys.”

The College’s graduate schools also recorded increases in applicants. The William and Mary Law School received approximately 5,000 applicants for the 213 available spots. Graduate applications increased 14 percent in Arts and Sciences and 17 percent at both the School of Education and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Applications to the the full-time graduate program at the Mason School of Business increased by nine percent. These statistical increases for both undergraduates and graduates were good news to the admissions committee.

“That was the big factor every dean of admission fretted about this year,” Broaddus said. “William and Mary long has been a great value, but in a down economy that can become an even bigger factor in college choice. Our challenge every year is to read the signs as well as possible. Although we run several statistical models in an effort to predict behavior, at a certain point gambler’s instincts become as important as hard science.”

The desire to increase the number of applicants is not unique to the College – it is a nationwide concern.
“Jennifer Delahunty, the dean of admission at Kenyon [College in Ohio], was quoted in The New York Times as saying that trying to hit her numbers this year felt like skydiving from 30,000 feet and trying to land in a hot tub,” Broaddus said. “I can relate to that feeling.”

Flat Hat Online Editor Alex Guillén contributed to this article.

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