A record number of applications poured into the College of William and Mary’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions this winter, with 12,800 applicants seeking acceptance into the College’s Class of 2015, a 2 percent increase over last year.
“It is always great to see that so many extremely able high school seniors from across the country want to join us,” College President Taylor Reveley said. “We have a splendid applicant pool from which to assemble the Class of 2015.”
Despite the fact that the total number of students applying to universities is declining across the nation, this is the sixth year in a row that the number of applicants to the College has surpassed that of the previous year. Over the past 10 years, the College has experienced a 37 percent increase in the number of applications received.
“With fewer college-bound students in the pipeline, this is a healthy indicator of interest in the College,” Dean of Admissions and Associate Provost for Enrollment Henry Broaddus said.
Other highly competitive institutions of higher learning also received record high numbers of applications. The University of Virginia reported a 6 percent increase and a total of 23,942 applicants, while Harvard University reported a 15 percent increase and a total of 35,000 applicants.
In addition to being the largest ever in number, this year’s applicant pool is also the most diverse in the College’s history, with 2 percent more applications from minority high school students. There was also a 23 percent increase in the number of applications from international students.
“All of that bodes well for the strength and diversity of the class that will be here next fall,” Broaddus said.
Amongst the factors Broaddus cited as possible reasons for the increase in applications was the College’s efforts to reach out to potential students via social media services, such as Facebook and Twitter. The admissions office’s blog, “Admit It,” was recently named one of the top 25 admissions blogs by Campus Splash, a website focusing on college news.
“We made efforts to make sure we are in the conversation all ways students want to have the conversation,” Broaddus said.
The College’s financial value relative to similarly competitive institutions and its endeavors to reach out to underrepresented students are other possible reasons for the application increase.
According to Broaddus, while the admissions office is primarily responsible for recruitment, each College student and alumnus contributes to the effort, whether during campus tours, visits to high schools, or casual conversations with potential applicants.
“Every member of the W&M community bears some responsibility for expanding the brand,” he said.
While the admissions staff members are pleased with the number of applications, their work is far from finished. Now, they must sift through the piles of personal essays and stacks of SAT scores.
“We’re in the early phases,” Broaddus said. “The real ‘roll-up our sleeves’ work is in front of us.”