How It Works

Admit It!  There’s still a small part of you (or at least your parents) that doesn’t trust this whole submitting applications thing.  There are so many moving parts and fallible human beings involved.  A recipe for disaster, right?  Well not really.  We have this process down…like really down.  It’s a finely tuned machine of downloading, printing, alphabetizing and matching.  But for your own piece of mind (and your parents’), here’s how this whole thing works once you click submit.

Step 1: We download your Common Application.  That triggers an email to you and your parents (generally that email is triggered within a few days of you submitting your application) letting them know we have received your Common Application (and by extension W&M Supplement since you cannot submit your Common App online without submitting the W&M Supplement).  At this point, we start an actual application file for you (if anything was submitted to our office prior to you submitting your Common App, those materials are stored and gone through each day as we receive new applications).

Lesson to you: CHECK YOUR EMAIL.  Most colleges, W&M included, will communicate with applicants almost exclusively via email.  If you’re not checking your email, you’re not getting important notifications from us (most important of which is your admission decision).

Step 2: We comb through all other submitted materials to match your application with all required components (application fee, transcript, standardized test scores).  We do this on a daily basis as applications come in and as materials are submitted from schools, teachers and other outside sources.  Once we match your Common Application with all of the other required components, we send a second email to you and your parents letting you know we have completed your application.  There can be a time span of several weeks between when you receive the initial email from step 1 and this email.  This is especially true the closer we get to the January 1 Regular Decision deadline.  Given the vast majority of applicants submit in the days leading up to the deadline (meaning we receive nearly 14,000 applications, 14,000 fees, 14,000 transcripts, etc.) in a span of only a few days, you may experience a delay of multiple weeks between receiving the initial email and the email letting you know everything is complete and ready for review.

Lesson to you: CHECK YOUR EMAIL and BE PATIENT WITH US (please and thank you).

Step 3: It happens.  Some component of your application doesn’t make it to our office.  Time to panic?  Heck no.  No worries.  Seriously.  We know that it happens and it’s no big deal.  Come mid-to-late November for Early Decision applicants, and come late February for Regular Decision applicants, if we’re missing a required component, we will send you an email letting you know what we are missing and how to submit it.  We will gladly complete your application once that missing component is received; no harm, no foul.  Then, once we do, we’ll send that completed application email to you and your parents mentioned in step 2 above.

Lesson to you: Third verse, same as the first (and second): CHECK YOUR EMAIL.

Please note: we only confirm receipt of required materials.  Optional components such as a fine art submission, teacher recommendations, etc. cannot be confirmed; there are simply too many to track.  But rest assured, with this finely tuned machine in place, what you submit will make its way to your application file.

Yes, finely tuned machines do work.  Trust in the process.  Click submit with ease and with confidence.  We’ll do the rest.

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

Categories: Admission, Faculty & Staff Blogs Tags: , , , ,
  1. Sara
  2. Admit It!
  3. Michelle
  4. Admit It!
  5. Abby
  6. Admit It!
  7. Kate
  8. Admit It!
  9. Sarah
  10. Admit It!
  11. Mary Lou
  12. Admit It!

Comments are closed on posts older than one year, but we still want to hear from you. If you have a comment or question for us, please email