Every year, high school seniors venture to the depths of the College of William and Mary’s Admissions Office basement for what can be 30 nerve-wracking minutes. This short meeting has the potential to help determine whether or not they will gain admission into the College.
Approximately 1,700 potential Tribe members brave the heat of the Williamsburg summer to interview for a spot in the College’s freshman class. This year, due to record interest in the College, these senior interviews will continue through the fall.
“The interviews have filled up every single year, but this year the demand was far exceeding supply,” Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ’09 said.
Because the interviews are conducted by College seniors, they are unique to the College among peer institutions in Virginia.
According to the College, the student-to-student format is designed to be evaluative.
“Offering personal interviews as part of our admission process accurately reflects the degree of personal attention students who enroll at William & Mary can expect to receive here,” Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions Henry Broaddus said in a press release.
Briana Sewell ’12, rushed from her afternoon Adventure Games class to the Admissions Office to conduct an interview. As one of the 12 College seniors who spent the summer conducting interviews at the College, she agreed to continue conducting interviews through the fall.
“Even though I’m not going to be here next year, it’s so exciting to see the excitement and potential of these upcoming students,” Sewell said. “They are so excited to get involved in everything I cherish so much about the College.”
By offering high school students the opportunity to talk to a student one on one, the students may get a better feel for the College, while simultaneously allowing current College students to evaluate whether or not the applicant will positively add to campus. Statistics indicate that applicants who interview at the College have a two to five percent greater chance of being accepted. Only about 20 percent of applicants actually have an on-campus interview.
“The more opportunities we have to showcase that personalized side of William and Mary, the more we can show them what William and Mary is all about,” Livingston said.
Because so many high school seniors interviewed at the College this summer, the admissions office had to create an interviews waiting list, made up of more than 600 applications, for the first time in its history.