We Admit it! Thanksgiving Break was incredibly relaxing, and provided all of our Committee members much needed time to travel home and decompress. Now, we’ve all returned to Williamsburg, and have resumed our Committee discussions. While our conference room chairs let out an audible groan when we first sat down (we all enjoyed a healthy amount of food over the break…), we are excited to get back to building the Class of 2020.
In our last blog post, we discussed the importance of your transcript in the college admission process. Colleges want to be confident in your ability to succeed academically at their respective institutions. We very much adhere to this philosophy, and as a result we review each applicant’s academic history in depth. This entails studying course rigor (have you been challenging yourself in the classroom?), academic performance (have you been performing to the best of your ability in the classroom?), and yes, every student’s favorite, standardized testing.
As has been discussed previously on this blog, we are of course looking to build a freshman class comprised of academically promising students. But our Committee discussions would admittedly be somewhat boring if we only talked about transcripts and test scores. After all, numbers can only tell part of the story. We are genuinely trying to get a sense for ALL that you bring to the table, both in and out of the classroom. Limiting the conversation to just numbers and credentials would be superficial, and wouldn’t do you justice. To this end, our conversations in Committee go deeper.
Overheard in Committee today: “There’s more to this applicant than meets the eye. There are strong PQs at play here.”
By “PQs,” we are referring to the personal qualities of an applicant—the “intangibles” that come through when really taking the time to thoroughly review an application. If our student body was solely made up of students with a certain minimum GPA, or with certain minimum test scores, or with specific extracurricular interests, our campus would be a pretty dull place. It takes all sorts to make the William & Mary campus vibrant, dynamic and welcoming. To accomplish this, we look closely at the “non-academic” components of your application, your essays, letters of recommendation, and extra-curricular involvements, to get a sense for what you might bring to the William & Mary community.
Your essays and letters of recommendation can go a long way to conveying such PQs. What “vibes” do we get when reading your essay(s)? How do you articulate yourself when discussing your interests, passions and/or life experiences? What parts of your personality shine through when putting your voice on paper?
Similarly, how do your recommenders describe you? How did those closest to you (teachers, coaches, mentors, employers, etc.) enjoy working with you? What insight, stories and anecdotes do they relay to us that highlight your work ethic and overall potential?
When both of these components work in tandem to bring your personality to the forefront of your application, it can lead to a highly engaging read. While strong PQs may not be enough to merit admission, they may just be the tipping factor in determining a final admission decision. This is why it is so important to take the time to both meaningfully reflect about and carefully edit your college essay(s), and to get your letter(s) of recommendation from those individuals who you feel can best advocate for you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s version of Overheard in Early Decision Committee. We have very much enjoyed reading and discussing your impressive applications. Be on the lookout for “Decisions, Decisions” blog posts later this week once admission decision emails are sent. As of today, we are planning to send decision emails out by this Sunday (12/6) evening.
Assistant Dean of Admission