Early Decision I and II are binding decision processes appropriate for students who have identified William & Mary as a first choice and are prepared to make a binding commitment to enroll if admitted. Application materials for early decision candidates must be submitted by November 1 for Early Decision I and January 5 for Early Decision II. Admission decision letters are issued by early December for Early Decision I and early February for Early Decision II. (Please note: there is not an early admission option for Transfer applicants. Additionally, Early Decision is not appropriate for students who want to consider deferring their enrollment in order to pursue a gap-year opportunity.)
By applying Early Decision I or II, an applicant is making a commitment to enroll at the university the following fall if admitted. A student applying through Early Decision I or II to William & Mary may still apply to other schools. However, a student may only apply to one school through a binding early decision process.
Although the rate of admission for students who apply Early Decision is higher than the overall rate of admission, statistical comparisons of admit rates are affected by the much smaller size of the Early Decision pool (approximately 1,200 applicants) relative to the overall applicant pool (approximately 17,000). Unless William & Mary is a clear first choice, applying Early Decision is not advisable.
While financial aid packaging at W&M will not be affected by applying Early Decision I or II, students who choose to apply early are making a commitment to attend W&M without having the opportunity to compare financial aid packages from other institutions. Therefore, if financial factors could impact your decision to attend W&M, Early Decision may not be the best choice. If a student's financial situation changes significantly after submitting an application, the student may appeal to the Admission Committee to be released from the Early Decision commitment.
W&M requires Early Decision and Regular Decision candidates to submit both the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and CSS Profile forms. To receive a financial aid estimate, Early Decision I applicants should submit the CSS Profile with a priority filing date of November 15 and Early Decision II applicants should submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile by January 15. March 1 is the FAFSA and CSS Profile final deadline for financial aid. However, students may not receive an aid decision before the university closes for the Winter break in December if filing with the later deadline for Early Decision I. Financial Aid packages are typical provided approximately one week from the acceptance decision.
Students who are admitted to William & Mary through Early Decision I or II must confirm their enrollment by making a non-refundable deposit by January 5 for Early Decision I applicants and within two weeks of receiving the admission letter for Early Decision II applicants. Furthermore, admitted students must withdraw applications from all other colleges to which they have applied.
Applicants who are not accepted during Early Decision I or Early Decision II may be deferred to the regular decision process where the admission committee reviews their application again, this time in the broader context of the entire applicant pool. William & Mary also will deny admission to students during Early Decision I and II if the committee feels that they are not competitive at that point in time, and will not be competitive in the context of the entire applicant pool. A denial during Early Decision I and II is a final admission decision.
College admission is an understandably confusing process given its complexity. If you have any questions regarding the different admission processes offered by William & Mary please do not hesitate to contact us.