Overheard in Committee: The False “School Quota” Rumor

We Admit It! Committee meetings are moving right along here in Williamsburg. As part of this process, admission decisions are being quadruple checked and officially entered, admission letters are being printed and signed by Dean Tim Wolfe, and admission notification emails are being finalized by the members of our Marketing and Communications team. We are certainly hard at work, but as mentioned in our previous blog posts, we embrace this grind, and are still on track to release admission decisions by April 1.

For today’s Overheard post, I would like to address one of the most frequently asked questions we get in this office.

Overheard in Committee: “Wow. This school sent us a tremendously strong group of applicants this year.”

A common question we receive in our office is, “Do you limit the number of applicants you admit from a particular school?” The answer is decidedly no. We do not, in any way, shape, or form, operate with a quota for the number of students we admit from an individual school. This is a falsehood that we wish we could completely dispel from the college admission rumor mill.

If you think about it, having such a policy wouldn’t make sense. Colleges, including William & Mary, spend a good amount of money in order to visit, recruit, and attract strong students from across the country and around the globe. These recruitment efforts are geared to hopefully convince you, the students, to apply to William & Mary, and ultimately consider attending W&M should you be admitted. For us to then limit the number of students we accept from a school, simply because we receive a large number of applicants from a school in a given admission cycle, would totally undermine our original recruitment efforts.

You also likely notice that on this blog we emphasize our holistic review process. We often discuss how much care we put in to each individual applicant, how thoroughly we read an entire application from cover to cover, and how we review each application multiple times before making a final admission decision. The reason we emphasize our approach to reviewing applications is because all of this is 100% true, and is a source of pride for the members of our admission team. We don’t just talk the talk. We walk the walk each and every day. We love working with you and your families, and reviewing your applications once you apply. If we as a staff were to make an admission decision solely based on how many applications we received from your school, this would run completely counter to our thoughtful review process. We are just simply not about that.

During the above committee conversation, we were discussing a school that had sent us several strong applications this year. Each student from this school was impressive in their own right, and could each bring unique talents to the W&M community. After making sure that all members of the admission committee had the proper context with which to discuss applicants from this school, we proceeded to discuss each individual applicant one at a time. Each student’s academic accomplishments were taken in to account, their extracurricular involvements were highlighted, their essays were read, and the recommendation letters submitted on their behalf were summarized. After taking these factors into account, admission decisions were reached in each individual case. Not once did a member of our committee say, “I don’t think we can admit this student. We’ve already admitted so many applicants from this school.” Again, we’re not about that. Instead, after completing our review for this school, one of our committee members said (as started above), “Wow. This school sent us a tremendously strong group of applicants this year. It’s awesome that we’re making so many admission offers. I hope this school sends us a strong group again next year!”

So, please, rest assured that if you applied to William & Mary your application is being given every consideration possible for admission, no matter how many other applications we received from your school. You are not an application in a stack of other applications. You are a person, and a talented one at that, who we feel honored to get to learn more about. No matter what your admission decision ends up being, our staff enjoys reviewing your individual story.

This is our final Overheard in Committee post for this admission cycle. Our next posts will be our Decisions, Decisions blogs that will go up at the same time that admission notification emails are sent (by April 1). Hang in there! You’ll be hearing from us again soon.

Brad Harlan
Assistant Dean of Admission

Categories: Admission, Faculty & Staff Blogs Tags: , ,
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