Overheard in Committee — It’s That Time of Year Again

Admit It!  You’d like to be a fly on the wall of the admission committee deliberation process.  There’s something very mysterious about it; something very urban legend about it.  We don’t try to shroud what we do in secrecy mind you.  In fact the entire purpose of the Admit It! blog is to make our process more approachable, more transparent.  So without further ado, we give you the first “Overheard in Committee” blog of the 2012-2013 admission cycle.

Overheard in Committee: “Note that this applicant is a legacy.”

There’s definitely a lot of controversy surrounding how legacy plays a role in admission processes.  For William & Mary, legacy is defined as a student whose parent (or parents) attended W&M.  We consider legacy status a plus factor; being a legacy contributes positively to the applicant’s review but does not trump or outweigh every other factor we consider.  Being a legacy cannot make an otherwise uncompetitive applicant competitive (in other words being a legacy cannot raise the dead – to extend the metaphor further it cannot even heal the sick).  Essentially, if we are deciding between two relatively similar applicants (their credentials both academically and personally are on par with each other) and one’s a legacy and one is not, the legacy would get the more favorable decision.

Legacy is simply one factor of MANY that we consider.  And we consider it because lifelong relationships are important for W&M.  A student’s relationship with W&M doesn’t last a mere four years, it lasts a lifetime.  Connecting our alumni to campus and helping them to feel good about their alma mater benefits all involved with W&M.  Plus legacies have a good gene pool right; they’re usually very qualified applicants.

So there’s your first foray into our committee process this cycle.  Stay tuned; more to come.

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

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