Overheard in Committee: Transfer Edition

Admit It! transfers: you’ve been clamoring for your own edition of the Overheard in Committee blog. Committees aren’t just about freshman applicants right? So here it is, live from today’s committee meeting.

Overheard in Transfer Committee: “I like that he applied again.”

There may be a perception out there among prospective students that a rejection is a black mark on your application file; that is so not the case. We absolutely appreciate a student’s sincere and continued interest in attending William & Mary. Students might re-apply as transfer applicants a year after applying to W&M for freshman admission or they may initially apply as a transfer student, be denied or waitlisted, and then re-apply after taking additional college classes. This does not bother us in the least, assuming the student has worked to improve his/her record between applications.

We actually saw several cases of repeat applicants in today’s committee. Some of the cases we reviewed were students who were denied or waitlisted as freshman applicants and who have now applied as transfer students. Because our freshman application process is so competitive, oftentimes these students were academically sound but simply not stand-outs as high school seniors. In other cases, the student maybe had some academic flaws as a highschooler but has really turned it on academically in college (that’s why they have the term late bloomers right?). And yet in other cases we might have admitted the student as a freshman applicant but the student chose to enroll elsewhere. Now that person believes their current institution to be a bad fit and is interested in again exploring the opportunity to attend W&M. Yet others are students who previously applied as transfers. Many times they have contacted our transfer dean after being previously denied or waitlisted and received advice on how to improve their record (be it specific courses we wanted to see them take or an improvement in grades) and have heeded that advice splendidly.

In all of these cases, not once did we bemoan the fact that a student we had previously not admitted was applying again. It’s a good thing for any college/university to enroll students who are passionate about the institution and excited to attend. Continued interest is oftentimes also a sign of good research during the search process. These students know that W&M is the right fit so much so that they are willing to go through the process of transferring which is not an easy task (completing an application, transitioning from one community to another, etc.). This is not to say that everyone who re-applies is admitted. Sometimes academic records decline enormously once a student enters college. In other instances there are personal/social/disciplinary issues that develop that make that student less desirable than they would have been previously. But on the whole we sincerely appreciate any student’s continued interest in W&M and never treat that as a reason to be negative towards his/her application.

Stay tuned for the sequel to the transfer edition of the Overheard in Committee blog series.

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

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