The total - approximately 12,500 - represents a 3 percent increase over last year's applications and represents the fifth year in a row a record number of students applied to the nation's second-oldest college.
"William & Mary is on a roll, so it's gratifying but not surprising to see such enthusiasm to join the Tribe," said William & Mary President Taylor Reveley. "William & Mary is a marvelous place to go to college, and we're delighted that people want to come join us."
The undergraduate applicant 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) increased 12 percent. Applications from international students increased 22 percent from last year.
Henry Broaddus, dean of admission, said this year's increase in undergraduate applications is the culmination of ongoing, multi-year recruitment and communication efforts in print, in person and online. For example, the admissions office did more on-campus interviews with prospective students last summer than any prior year. The office has also increased its outreach on the Web with a stronger presence in social networks and William & Mary blogs.
"Today's prospective students expect colleges and universities to communicate in a variety of ways," Broaddus said. "That could be on campus with a one-on-one student interview, at a visit by admission staff to their high school or community, or through the admission office's Facebook page or Twitter feed. We are taking advantage of all tools available to reach out to prospective students."
Broaddus also credited William & Mary's continued strong reputation nationally as a top institution and excellent value. Last month, Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine ranked William & Mary as the nation's fourth best value among the country's top 100 "four-year schools that combine outstanding education with economic value."
Admissions officers will now spend the coming weeks in "the reading season," where staff read and review each of the 12,500 applications in order to select the next incoming freshman class at William & Mary. Offers of admission are mailed by April 1, 2010.
"We are very pleased with this year's applicant pool - the largest and one of the most diverse in our history," said Earl Granger, associate provost for enrollment. "William & Mary offers a unique educational experience - one that challenges and engages our student body and prepares them for life. We're off to a great start in the process of selecting the newest members of this community."