Decisions Decisions: Waitlist Edition

Admit It!  This is not the decision you hoped for.  You probably feel a myriad of emotions right now.  Some of you may be pleasantly surprised.  Others of you might be confused or upset or some combination thereof.  We understand that you’re disappointed and while we know little can soften the blow of receiving any decision other than admit we hope you can come to see a waitlist as a positive decision.  Rest assured that your application was reviewed, in its entirety, at least twice, by two different members of our staff and that it was looked at in the context of the entire applicant pool.

This year’s pool had a record number of applicants most of whom exhibited incredibly strong credentials.  W&M’s small size often makes it very attractive to the nation’s best and brightest high school seniors.  Our small size also compels us to be highly selective in making admission decisions and unfortunately we cannot admit all of the students who would be successful at W&M.  A waitlist offer means that you were an incredibly competitive applicant, and that if our entering class was bigger, the decision easily could have been more positive.  Unfortunately that is simply not the reality of our pool or our enrollment objectives.

We know that you are a incredibly strong and involved student.  Chances are you are one of the best students at your high school.  You’ve taken great courses, you’re near the top of your class, you have strong standardized test scores, you’re involved in extracurricular organizations and you’re likely a leader within your community.  You may be grappling to understand why you were not admitted.  Believe me, it’s not you, it’s us.  The decision was made not because you did anything wrong but because so many of our applicants do everything right.  Imagine all of the top students at your high school.  They are likely all incredibly smart, responsible, hardworking young men and women all of whom have worked their butts off to earn admission to great colleges.  Chances are some of them are sports captains while others are student government officers.  Still others are incredibly talented musicians while others have lived all around the world.  They’re a pretty compelling group right?  Now take that group of students and multiply them by 1000 and that’s our applicant pool.  It’s the best and most visible students from high schools across the country and across the globe.  So we make some pretty difficult and nuanced decisions in an effort to build the most diverse, dynamic, talented and interesting incoming class possible.

The email you received provides a link where you can indicate to us whether or not you intend to remain on the waitlist.  Please complete the form either way.  If you do not complete the waitlist response form online your application will be withdrawn come May 1.  Aside from completing the online form, there is nothing else you need to do.  You do not need to send any additional materials for consideration; the original materials you sent provide us more than enough information on which to re-evaluate your application should we be able to admit students from the waitlist this summer.  The email also provides a link to frequently asked questions regarding the waitlist for you to review.  We know that the last thing you likely want to do at this point is wait some more but unfortunately this is part of the college admission process.  In the meantime we encourage you to explore the colleges and universities to which you have been offered admission and to pursue those opportunities with enthusiasm, and of course, make sure you submit an enrollment deposit to another institution by May 1.  If after May 1 you remain sincerely interested in attending William & Mary, you can then update our office with any new academic information, and you are welcome to communicate your continued interest in W&M to the Admission Committee.

Wendy Livingston, ’03. M.Ed. ‘09
Senior Assistant Dean of Admission

Categories: Admission, Faculty & Staff Blogs
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