We Admit It! Early Decision Committee has officially begun. During Committee, our entire dean staff gathers to discuss our many talented Early Decision applicants, and to build the Class of 2020 one student at a time. As part of these meetings, we have meaningful, thought-provoking and engaging discussions covering all parts of the application review process.
Throughout these discussions, we do our best to give our readers an inside look into what actually goes on behind closed doors. What questions are raised? What topics are posed? What stands out to committee members? To help answer such questions, we want to pull back the curtain, and let you in on what we discuss and why we discuss it. So, with that, we present our first “Overheard in Committee” blog of the 2015-2016 admission cycle.
Overheard in Committee: “What happened junior and senior year?”
The student whose application we were discussing had a downturn in grades in their last 2 years of high school. This student had taken a demanding schedule all throughout high school, receiving mostly As in both 9th and 10th grade. These As had turned into As, Bs and a C in 11th grade, however, once the student had elected to take additional AP courses. Looking at the student’s schedule, they were taking even more AP classes in 12th grade. As a Committee, we decided to contact the school to see this student’s most up-to-date academic performance. After speaking with the school, we learned that the student now had all Bs and Cs this current semester, and nowhere in the application did the applicant provide us with an explanation as to why this downturn in grades had taken place.
This situation raises some important points. The first is that while it is indeed important to challenge yourself academically, we are also looking to see that you’ve found a good balance between academics, extracurricular involvements and other commitments so that you are able to thrive in all of these areas. Given this student’s transcript, it looks to us like this student is struggling to excel in their chosen courses. The second is that as a Committee, whether you’re an Early Decision applicant or a Regular Decision applicant, we will be taking all of your available academic information into account before making a final decision. For some applicants this will take the form of submitted mid-year reports, for others, as was the case with this student, we may contact the school directly to gain further information. You want to always be sure that you are performing to the best of your ability in the classroom, so that when colleges review this information, you are portraying yourself in the best possible light. If situations ever arise that impact your academic performance, you are absolutely welcome to explain these situations in your application, or contact us directly.
We look at all parts of your application before making a final admission decision: classes you’ve taken, grades you’ve received, standardized testing, letters of recommendation, extracurricular involvements, essays, optional submissions, etc. All of these components are important, and shed light on the well-rounded individual that you are. This being said, you can likely imagine that in any college admission review process, your academic transcript is going to play a major role. College is tough. We need to be confident in your ability to succeed academically at William & Mary. Your transcript (or 4 year academic history) can go a long way to instilling that confidence in the Admission Committee.
Stay tuned for additional peeks into our Committee deliberation process. Committee will continue after Thanksgiving break, as we are still on schedule to send decisions out in early December.
Assistant Dean of Admission