Decisions are Live! Deny Edition

We Admit It! This is the hardest part of our jobs, sending bad news to bright, talented applicants like you. We know that you must be surprised, upset, disappointed, confused, angry – maybe all of the above. All of these emotions are both natural and justified. This is not the outcome you were hoping for, and it’s not the decision we enjoy giving. We are fortunate to learn about so many wonderful students and to be part of a selective admission process. At the same time, we realize that as part of our job we must send bad news more often than we send good news. We accept that responsibility, but we take no joy in it.

You are smart. You are accomplished. You are kind. And you are deserving. Any school would be lucky to have you. This decision is not a reflection on you; it is simply and only a reflection of how many amazing applicants we receive each year. This year’s pool was no exception and we were only able to admit roughly one-third of those who applied. This is the unfortunate reality of a selective admission process, in which the limited number of seats means we have to send bad news more than good news. We know that many of the students that were denied would be absolutely successful William & Mary students and we have great confidence in your abilities to do great things in college and beyond.

Your academic record, your recommendations, extracurricular activities, and the essays that you presented were all tremendous. What’s hard for many to understand is that most students who apply to W&M have taken similarly challenging courses, have earned tremendously high GPAs/class ranks, have earned a high score on the SAT/ACT, have compiled a dynamic extracurricular resume and have written thoughtful essays. As we decide who to admit, we are not selecting from good and bad, but from great and great. Because our applicants do so many things right, we have the difficult task of making many nuanced and difficult decisions. This year more than ever, with unprecedented challenges and a substantial increase in applications, our committee had to make many tough decisions.

We know that nothing we write here will make this decision any easier to process. While this decision may seem unfair, please know that it was made through a thoughtful, comprehensive and fair review process. That’s what we owe every student who entrusts their story to us. It’s a responsibility we take seriously. While we are sorry that we were not able to admit you to W&M, we know that our loss is another university’s gain. We also know that you will have a wonderful experience at whichever school you choose. We wish you more than luck in all of your future endeavors.

And as a personal note from one of our transfer deans, and as a former “denied” freshman turned “transfer” student, the path to William & Mary remains open for those who truly believe that this is where they belong. To discuss these opportunities, please reach out to your regional dean, or email

JonDavid Nichols
Assistant Dean of Admission

Categories: Admission, Faculty & Staff Blogs

No comments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *