The College of William and Mary is more popular than ever among prospective scholars. The 2014-15 school year marks the 11th consecutive year in which the College has received a record number of applicants for admission.
Approximately 14,950 prospective students applied this year. However, even with a growing number of students applying, administrators said they have not drastically changed the admissions process in terms of how they review applications.
“I think that the commitment to the review process has not changed per se,” Interim Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe ’95 M.Ed. ’01 said. “It certainly requires more time and can sometimes take a little longer than before to account for more applications. But fundamentally, that philosophy of how we view applications has not changed in any significant way recently.”
Wolfe said he thinks several factors have led to the increase in the applicant pool.
“Over the years, we have developed a very sophisticated prospective student communications platform,” Wolfe said. “I think that’s one component, and then I think our campus visitation opportunities continue to be a very strong part. So, to me, those two things would be the biggest factors but, in this profession, it’s always hard to point a finger at any one particular factor.”
The 2013-14 school year marked the first time that the College, and numerous other schools across the country, completed the application process utilizing the new version of the online Common Application. During this time, the Common App came under criticism from numerous high school students for website glitches and bugs. This year, Wolfe said the quirks appear to have been ironed out and the application process has been much simpler.
“The first year [of using the new version of the Common App] had its own share of hurdles and challenges,” he said. “It was also the first year that our office began reviewing applications on a primarily paperless process. So last year had its challenges along the way in making those things work. This year has worked in a fantastic way and what we’ve found is the processing of applications — the completion of them, and matching up, as more and more schools are submitting transcripts electronically — has been a smoother process.”
Some students, including Eliot Bacon ’17, prefer the online application.
“Wireless applications give access to a broader variety of students and sends universities information once instead of four times for the same information,” Bacon said.
Beyond online admissions, some students cite the nature of the College itself as the reason for an increase in the number of applicants over the past 11 years.
“I feel like it’s a result of a growing awareness in education quality and prestige that goes along with William and Mary’s name,” Wave Langston ’15 said. “At heart, it’s a small state school and I think that carries along some expectation with it.”