You can Admit It! You’re likely sad. Maybe angry. Maybe deflated. Likely confused. You may be none too pleased with us at the moment. All of those feelings and more are absolutely valid. We honestly don’t equate a deny with a rejection, but we know that comparison is made; and regardless of semantics this decision is not an easy one to make or to receive. Understand that we never vote to reject or deny applicants; we simply vote to admit others.
This year our applicant pool was the largest ever – over 14,500 applications. From that group we’re admitting only 1/3 of those who apply (the admission rate is even lower for out-of-state students). Statistically, the odds are simply against any student who applies. That’s the truly unfortunate part of selective admission – we have to send out more bad news than good. Being denied does not mean you’re unqualified or unaccomplished. The students we deny are smart, talented, social, interesting and successful. In an applicant pool such as ours, the majority of applicants are smart, talented, social, interesting and successful individuals. Most of the students we deny are more than capable of being successful students at W&M. This decision is not a reflection of you; it’s a reflection of how competitive our applicant pool is.
Here’s the best way we know how to provide some perspective on how competitive our pool is. Say you’re in the top 10% of your class. In your high school, you’re performing at a level that’s better than 90% of your peers. What you’re doing is exceptional in your environment. In selective applicant pools like W&M, being in the top 10% of your class is commonplace. That doesn’t diminish how impressive that achievement is, it just provides some perspective on the students we’re evaluating. It’s not the spectrum from 0-100 that’s applying; it’s just those in the 90-100 bracket from high schools across the nation and the world. And that’s true across the board. It’s that 90-100 bracket for grades, for standardized test scores, for extracurricular involvement, for leadership, and so on. So you’re competing with the best of the best for a limited number of spaces.
We recognize that no matter what perspective we provide, no matter what we say, it likely doesn’t lessen the sting of this decision. You are an amazing person and not admitting you is our loss. As we’ve said in previous deny edition blogs, it’s not you, it’s us. We are truly sorry the outcome couldn’t be more positive. We know however that our loss is another college’s gain. We wish you nothing but happiness and success at whatever school you choose.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission