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A record year for William & Mary undergraduate applications

  • Thousands of applications
    Thousands of applications  W&M received more than 13,500 applications for the Class of 2016, a 5-percent increase over last year.  Photo by Erin Zagursky
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When William & Mary’s Class of 2016 arrives this August for the fall semester, they will have the distinction of being selected from the largest applicant pool in the College’s history. In fact, it’s the seventh year in a row the College has received a record number undergraduate applicants.

The numbers remain preliminary, but admission officials are confident this year’s undergraduate applicant pool will be larger than 13,600. That represents a six-percent increase over last year’s pool of 12,825.

“This is as strong a pool as we have ever seen,” said Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Henry Broaddus. “These students represent the very best. They are leaders among their peers. They are academically accomplished. They are an incredibly diverse group. I am very excited to see the potential this provides us as we shape our entering Class of 2016.”

The record number of applications continues a trend that began over a decade ago. Over the past 10 years, the number of undergraduate applications to the College has increased by more than 40 percent. Information on graduate applications will be available later in the spring semester.

Broaddus and Senior Associate Dean Tim Wolfe, who leads the undergraduate admission office's recruitment and review processes, credit the increase in applications to a number of factors, including the College’s continued national reputation. Earlier this month, for example, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine ranked William & Mary as the nation’s fourth-best value among public universities that combine academic excellence and affordability.

The admissions staff has also increased its outreach – both in terms of in-person visits and its communications via the web. The office launched a few new initiatives earlier this year. In early September, the College announced it was extending its summer on-campus interview program into the fall months. William & Mary is the only public university in Virginia that offers student-to-student interviews as part of its application process. This year, the program – which is an optional component of the application process – was extended through the middle of November. Earlier this year, the admission office also unveiled the “Ampersandbox,” a new interactive view book that includes both print and web components. It combines a series of unique 4x6 postcards with a website that encourages user-generated content. The office’s “Admit It” blog has also become a popular spot for prospective students to learn more about the College and the admissions process. The office’s active Facebook and Twitter pages represent increased opportunities to speak with potential applicants.

Offers to be part of next fall’s entering class will go out by April.

 “It’s an exciting time for the admissions staff,” Broaddus said. “We have already started combing through thousands of pages of applications documents as we begin the long process of selecting next year’s additions to the Tribe.”