Major changes are underway at the College of William and Mary Office of Undergraduate Admission. For the first time, the College will be accepting applications from the Coalition for College.
The Coalition for College is a college-planning and application service that is accepted by over 140 institutions nationwide.
According to its website, the Coalition for College aims to improve the college application process for students, particularly those from groups which are historically under-represented among college students. To achieve this mission, Coalition for College provides the MyCoalition service that provides free college-planning services to prospective college students.
Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe ‘95 M.Ed ‘01 said he sees the Coalition Application as a way to offer new opportunities for a new generation of students
“It was an opportunity to partner with about 150 institutions nationwide …to provide an additional application option,” Wolfe said in an email. “Moreover, it enables all of us to convey a more powerful college-going message together, especially in efforts to support students from underrepresented backgrounds.”
The College is not the only public institution of higher education in Virginia that will begin accepting the Coalition Application this year: the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison University will all accept the Coalition Application beginning this upcoming year.
This marks the first time that students will be able to apply to all four of the aforementioned schools via one shared application.
“There are a lot of great tools that make it more accessible for students that haven’t been as groomed in the college application process,” Amy Folkerts ’19 said.
“Something that is really exciting, the Coalition App is aimed at making college applications more accessible,” Undergraduate Admission Senior Interviewer Amy Folkerts ’19 said. “There are a lot of great tools that make it more accessible for students that haven’t been as groomed in the college application process.”
In addition to the decision to implement the Coalition Application, the College is adding a new early decision option. In tandem with early decision 1 and regular decision, the College will be offering a separate early decision 2 option.
Early decision 2 will have the same deadline as regular decision: Jan. 1. However, early decision 2 applicants will be notified about their acceptance earlier, a date which Wolfe predicts will fall in the second week of February.
The Coalition Application is one of two application formats that the Office of Undergraduate Admission will be reviewing this year. The College will be accepting the more widely used Common Application along with the new Coalition Application.
“It should be mentioned that while we are excited about offering the Coalition Application, we have been, and continue to be, strong supporters of the Common Application,” Wolfe said. “The Coalition Application offers some enhanced features to assist students in organizing their college search prior to applying senior year. However, both applications continue to innovate and offer improving functionality.”
These new changes to admission are all currently implemented in the application process. Going forward in the 2018 application cycle, prospective students for the class of 2023 can apply with the Coalition Application and early decision two.
Student interviewers are already being trained to process these new Coalition Applications. During their summer training, the interviewers tested filling out both a Common and Coalition Application.
“We made our own application that got to fill information we would have as a high school senior or now and just kinda see what it would be like to go through the process of doing it,” Folkerts said.
On top of deciding whether to apply by early decision or regular decision, prospective students will now be facing a choice of whether to apply by Common or Coalition Application. Wolfe saw this choice as one of personal, regional and collegiate preference.
“Ultimately, it is likely to come down to the personal preferences of students and their specific high school,” Wolfe said in an email. “Additionally, which application students decide to use may be driven by their college lists. While we accept both applications, there are colleges that only use one of the options. Given that, students may decide which application to use simply based on where else they plan to apply.”
Because the Common Application is accepted by a greater number of institutions, the Office of Undergraduate Admission expects to receive more Common Applications than Coalition Applications, at least for this year.
“This may vary, especially over time, based on different regions and which application is more prevalent in individual states,” Wolfe said in an email.
Wolfe also stressed that while there are two separate applications, the Office of Undergraduate Admission will consider the applications equally and abide by the same criteria when reviewing them.
“A student should feel comfortable applying through either application, and should have no need to worry that using one over the other will bring an advantage,” Wolfe said.
“A student should feel comfortable applying through either application, and should have no need to worry that using one over the other will bring an advantage,” Wolfe said in an email.
The Office of Undergraduate Admission does not foresee the new application option affecting class demographics dramatically in the upcoming year as it is being implemented.
“Over time, though, we hope the ability to offer two different applications will increase access for students and enhance visibility for W&M overall,” Wolfe said in an email.
Above all, there seems to be a sense of optimism among the Undergraduate Admission staff with regard to these new policies and their implementation.
“I think it’s really positive that our school’s admissions policy isn’t rigid and that there are multiple options available to the students,” Undergraduate Admission Senior Interviewer Jerry Shaen ’19 said.