We Admit It! This is the part of our job we like the least; sending bad news to bright, talented applicants like you. You can Admit It! You’re surprised, upset, disappointed, confused, angry – maybe all of the above. You’re entitled to all of those emotions and more. This is not the outcome you were hoping for, and it’s not the decision we enjoy giving. We feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to review so many wonderful applications and to be part of a selective admission process. We realize that means that part of our job is to send more bad news than good news. We accept that responsibility, but we take no joy in it.
You are an incredibly smart, accomplished, kind, deserving person; any school would be lucky to have you. This decision is in no way a reflection on you; it is simply and only a reflection on the strength of our applicant pool. The same can be said of the other nearly 15,000 students who applied for admission to W&M this year. This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most impressive in our school’s history. We are only able to admit about one-third of those who apply. Statistically, the odds are against anyone who applies; that is the nature of selective admission. Furthermore, those who are denied from selective institutions are still among the elite of today’s high school graduates. Those students who we deny are absolutely capable of being successful students at W&M. Our decision does not reflect a deficit in your application; it merely reflects the incredible depth and accomplishment of all applicants who applied for our freshman class.
The amazing transcript, SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities and essays that you presented are something you should be proud of. What’s hard for many to understand is that those amazing GPAs, SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities and essays are common among our applicants. Most students who apply to W&M have taken 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’re selecting not from good and bad but from good and good; no from better and better; strongest and strongest. Those who we do not admit are in no way lacking; their application simply did not stand out quite as much as those we did choose to admit.
We know these words might be of little comfort at this time. Whatever we say will not likely lessen the sting of being denied admission. The decision may feel unfair and it might actually be unfair. But it was made through a thoughtful, comprehensive and fair process. That’s what we owe every student who entrusts their story to us; and it’s a responsibility we take seriously. While we are sorry we were not able to admit you to W&M we know our loss is another university’s gain. We also know that you will have a wonderful experience at whichever school you choose. As we’ve said in previous blogs, it’s not you, it’s us. You are amazing students, and you will have an amazing collegiate experience. We wish you all the best in that journey.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission