New TWAMPs in the swamp: College welcomes class of 2023

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courtesy photo / WM.EDU Class of 2023 students were first introduced to the College of William and Mary during Day for Admitted Students, and will make up the 327th College class.

Early Friday morning, 1,720 new students will arrive in Williamsburg from all across the world ready to begin their time at the College of William and Mary. Of these students, 1,540 will comprise the class of 2023, and 180 will have transferred from other institutions.

Of the 14,680 students who applied to join the class of 2023, 38 percent were offered admission. The acceptance rate was 35 percent in 2019, down from 37 percent in 2018. Transfer students had a 50 percent acceptance rate this year.

Of the accepted freshmen, roughly 1,000 were accepted through regular decision and 544 from early decision. This year for the first time, the College offered an additional binding application option called early decision II, which students could use to apply at the regular application date but receive their decisions in advance of the regular decision option. Of the enrolled freshmen, 461 were admitted through early decision I and 83 were admitted through early decision II. Additionally, 15 students deferred their admissions in order to take a gap year, and 15 students admitted with the class of 2022 who deferred last year will be entering with the class of 2023.

Another admissions change this year was the addition of the Coalition Application as a way of applying for admission to the College. The application, which can be submitted by prospective students in lieu of the Common Application, was created by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, and is intended to provide a more transparent application process, especially for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Tim Wolfe ’95 M.Ed ’01 said that only five to six percent of applications were through the Coalition Application while 95 percent came through the Common Application.

Wolfe said the low frequency of Coalition Application submissions surprised him as admissions representatives expected more students to use the option. Wolfe said that the College will continue to offer the Coalition Application as an option for the class of 2024, and observe the outcome by paying attention to overall numbers and noting any trends that may emerge if particular markets or states start preferring the Coalition Application over the Common Application. Wolfe said it may be helpful on the microscopic level even if in aggregate the Common Application is still overwhelmingly preferred.

Wolfe said that the class of 2023 is notable for many reasons, but that the students’ academic accomplishments are especially distinguished.

The incoming freshmen have an SAT middle 50th percentile of 1320-1510 and an ACT composite score middle 50th percentile of 30-34, which represent a steady rise over the past two years; in 2018, the SAT middle 50th percentile was 1310-1490, and in 2017 it was 1300-1480. ACT scores have risen over the past three years as well.

“From an academic standpoint it is an incredibly strong class; I certainly  realize that SAT and ACT scores don’t tell the whole story, but in a big picture of a whole class they can kind of provide a little bit of an aggregate glance,” Wolfe said. 

“From an academic standpoint it is an incredibly strong class; I certainly  realize that SAT and ACT scores don’t tell the whole story, but in a big picture of a whole class they can kind of provide a little bit of an aggregate glance,” Wolfe said. “Those numbers are higher than last year, and I think just simply reflect our feeling within the admission review process and the admission committee that this group was an incredibly strong group of students academically, but also in terms of how they were involved.”

The class of 2023 also represents an increase in students of color attending the College. A third of the freshmen are students of color and seven percent are international students.

These statistics are counted separately even though international students may also be students of color. In 2018, 31 percent of the freshmen were students of color, and in 2017, 30 percent were. 

“We’re thrilled … that 40 percent of the students are either students of color or international students, so we think that that is an exciting part of the incoming class this year,” Wolfe said. 

“We’re thrilled … that 40 percent of the students are either students of color or international students, so we think that that is an exciting part of the incoming class this year,” Wolfe said. 

Overall, 55 percent of the freshmen are white, 11 percent are Asian, nine percent are Hispanic, seven percent are multi-racial, six percent are black, four percent are unknown, less than one percent are American Indian and Alaskan native and less than one percent are Pacific Islanders. Of transfers, 27 percent are students of color.

The seven percent of international students hail from 26 different nations, including China, South Korea and Canada. From inside the United States, students represent 39 different states including Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In-state students comprise 62 percent of freshmen, and 38 percent are from out of state. The most highly represented states besides Virginia in order are New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Texas, Florida and California. 

Of transfers, 72 percent are from in-state and 28 percent are from out of state, with half coming from four-year institutions and half from two-year colleges or community colleges. 

Meanwhile, the student gender imbalance continued to hover around an 18 percent disparity. Of freshmen, 59 percent identify as female while only 41 percent identify as male. Among transfer students, 55 percent identify as female and 45 percent as male. Additionally, the number of first-generation students has stayed consistent with previous years at 10 percent of the freshman class. 

There are 20 students enrolled in the St Andrews Joint Degree Programme, 150 Monroe scholars and eight 1693 scholars.

While these students have yet to enter the College, they already have accomplished a wide array of feats. Included in the class of 2023 are a pilot, a student who won a gold medal at a U.S. Sailing Junior Olympic Windsurfing Festival, a blacksmith, a student who twice placed in the top three at the World Series of Birding, a member of the Second City Teen Ensemble, a volunteer firefighter and a four-time Star Wars trivia state champion.

“We are very, very excited about this class and know that they are going to be a fantastic addition to the William and Mary community,” Wolfe said. “I think that stretches across campus involvement, classroom involvement and just making an impact here and beyond.”

“We are very, very excited about this class and know that they are going to be a fantastic addition to the William and Mary community,” Wolfe said. “I think that stretches across campus involvement, classroom involvement and just making an impact here and beyond … We’re already working hard on the next class and beyond, but we will be delighted on Friday to see them move in and especially next Wednesday for Convocation. That’s always one of our absolute best days of the year for us when we get a chance to see that class walk through the Wren building, and we take a lot of pride in that.”