Decisions, Decisions – 2018 Regular Decision Deny Edition

We Admit It! This is the hardest part of our job — 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. 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 on the strength of our applicant pool. This year’s pool was one of the largest and most impressive in our school’s history — we were only able to admit roughly one-third of those who applied. Statistically, at a selective institution like William & Mary, the odds are against anyone who applies. Furthermore, those who are denied from selective institutions are still among the elite of today’s high school graduates, and are absolutely capable of being successful William & Mary students.

The transcript, SAT/ACT scores, extracurricular activities and essays that you presented are 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.

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.

Brad Harlan
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission

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