Early Decision is a binding decision process 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. Admission decision letters are issued by early December. (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, an applicant is making a commitment to enroll at the College the following fall if he or she is admitted. A student applying through Early Decision to the College of William & Mary may still apply to other schools. However, a student may only apply to one school through a binding early decision process.
While financial aid packaging at W&M will not be affected by applying Early Decision, 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. Early Decision students should submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile with a priority filing date of November 15th, with a final date of December 12th. However, students may not receive an aid decision before the College closes for the Winter break in December if filing with the later deadline. Financial Aid packages are typical provided within one week of an acceptance decision.
Students who are admitted to William & Mary through Early Decision must confirm their enrollment by making a non-refundable deposit within two weeks of receiving the admission letter. Furthermore, admitted students must withdraw applications from all other colleges to which they have applied.
Applicants who are not accepted during Early Decision 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 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 is a final admission decision.
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 15,000). Unless William & Mary is a clear first choice, applying Early Decision is not advisable.
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.