The total also signifies a record year for the fourth year in row in terms of undergraduate admissions – and is a more than 70 percent increase in applications over the past decade and 3.4 percent increase over last year.
"It's grand to see so much enthusiasm for William & Mary among high school seniors," said William & Mary president Taylor Reveley. "The strength of this year's applicant pool makes clear that the College continues to appeal to thousands and thousands of very talented young people."
Henry Broaddus, dean of admission, credits the increase to a number of factors, including continued outreach efforts; the College’s new admission-friendly Web site, including a new video prompt the admissions staff produced earlier this year to instruct prospective students how to fill out their supplemental application essay; and William & Mary’s growing reputation as an institution that offers a great education at a great value. William & Mary was featured in multiple publications this year as one of the country’s “best values,” including a feature on NBC’s “Today” show following news last month that Princeton Review ranked the College its third-best bargain among public universities across the country. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine rated W&M the nation’s fifth-best value.
“We’re pleased to see such strong interest in the College,” Broaddus said. “My colleagues and I have been impressed enormously by the wide array of these students’ talents and backgrounds.”
Admission officials are still reviewing and recording undergraduate applications so the numbers could increase slightly. The Class of 2013’s pool also represents one of the most diverse in the College’s history. Applications from students of color (African-American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Native American students) rose 7 percent.
“While we are very excited this year about the largest applicant pool in the history of the College, we are equally excited about the opportunity that this kind of pool presents,” said Earl Granger, associate provost for enrollment. “Building a vibrant and engaging community that challenges and celebrates the collegiate experience is our ultimate goal. The pool this year gives us an unyielding foundation in achieving that goal."
Admissions staff will spend the coming weeks reading and reviewing each of the more than 12,000 applications. Of that group, more than 3,000 prospective students will be offered admission as officials anticipate a freshman class of approximately 1,380 students to enter in the fall of 2009. Offers of admission are mailed by April 1, 2009. Application numbers for graduate programs and professional schools will be available later this semester.